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One year later crucial Wortley street check recommendations are collecting dust

Chief Dan Kinsella presenting on HRPD charitable activities at last Monday’s Board of Police Commissioners. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – So far Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and RCMP are not pursuing the implementation of many of the recommendations called for in the Wortley street checks report, a Freedom of Information request reveals.

It has been one year since the Wortley report was published. The report found that racial profiling and racism played a part in many police interactions with citizens.

A spreadsheet maintained by the provincial department of Justice shows no action whatsoever on many important and substantial recommendations.  Timelines and target dates are also notably absent.

The information became available after a Freedom of Information request was submitted by the provincial NDP.

So what is not getting done?

What follows are some of the major recommendations that have not yet seen any action whatsoever. They deal with hiring of new cops, anti-bias training and cultural sensitivity, tackling the police code of silence, tracking and reporting on citizen interactions other than street checks, and community policing. They seem important.

  • Recommendation 3.2, suggesting that police record information on all stops of civilians, including the race of the person involved, and whether the stop was consensual.
  • Recommendation 3.3, asking that police survey the general public on their experiences with police interactions
  • Recommendation 3.4, similar to 3.3 but targeting police officers
  • Recommendation 3.4, that the survey data be released annually
  • Recommendation 4.1, that the police screen new recruits for both cultural competency and racial bias
  • Recommendation 4.3, implement training modules on local Black history and the Black community’s concerns.
  • Similarly, recommendation 4.4, a testing strategy for anti-bias and race relations courses
  • Recommendation 4.6, a strategy to promote Black and other minority officers
  • Recommendation 4.7 and 4.8, increase focus on community policing efforts
  • Recommendation 4.13, develop new policies to address the police code of silence and empower officers who challenge the illegal or unprofessional activities of their colleagues

Finally, and somewhat ironically, there is recommendation 4.17, that a committee be formed with community representation to monitor progress towards the recommendations in the report. No action as of yet…

Similar progress reports by HRP chief Dan Kinsella and the RCMP representative, a standing agenda item at the monthly Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meetings, are high level and tend to focus on the positive.

Commissioners ask very few questions, and never really challenge vague responses. 

See also: News brief: Deal with racial profiling and brutality, or step aside, Board of Police Commissioners told

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