All Halifax Regional Police officers — from the chief through to new recruits — will receive training in 2018 on fair and impartial policing in order to improve street check practices that disproportionately target black people.
It’s one of several measures the police force is taking, Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais told the board of police commissioners on Monday.
The force will also conduct a privacy review of street checks to consider whether police retain street check records for the appropriate amount of time, continue to analyze street check data and develop community education related to citizens’ rights during interactions with police.
Change won’t happen overnight
Street checks involve police documentation of interactions with community members, including details such as age, gender, location, ethnicity and reason for the interaction.
A CBC News investigation in January found that black people were three times as likely to be street checked by police as white individuals. Those findings relate to data collected between 2005-2016.
“It takes one day a time. It’s not something that’s going to be done overnight,” Blais told reporters after the meeting. “There’s trust that still has to be developed that we are working on.
“We can’t be held accountable for the events of the past but we can be held accountable for the events of the present and the future and how we interact with our communities.”
Police met with over-represented communities
Police representatives have met with black and local West Asian community groups because individuals from these communities were over-represented in the street check data.
The West Asian community representatives, however, said they didn’t believe street checks were a major concern for their community, the chief’s report said.
“However, the African Diaspora and…