Carding in Toronto

    2 February 2017, late afternoon

Word on the street is there are new regulations in the city around carding. When they were discussing this stuff last I emailed all the Toronto Police Services Board. I got replies from Shelley Carroll and John Tory’s office. I did not get a reply from Chin Lee or Sandy Murray.

Here is my exchange with them:

My understanding is that the Toronto Police Services Board is meeting to discuss carding tomorrow.

I have been carded twice. Both times I was probably 500m from my parents house. Both times I was drinking bubble tea with my friend Rishi in a park. Both times I was home from the University of Waterloo. The police shouldn’t have asked for my information then. They shouldn’t have my information now.

I shouldn’t have to email the group of you asking that my information, along with everyone else’s, is purged from whatever computers the police use.

But, here we are.
Ramanan Sivaranjan

Shelly Carol replied first. She is Shima’s old councillor, and easily one of the best councillor we have. She should have been mayor after Miller. Her response was still disappointing.

I am very sympathetic with your position on destroying the historic carding data. Unfortunately, there are pending civil litigations that require its retention at the moment. These are important cases that could finally illuminate the effects of carding before the Courts. The Board’s legal advice is that the evidence is key.

At today’s TPSB meeting, we will be recommending that all historic data be segregated and stored in a separate and secure database. Access will only be possible through the Chief or his stated designate. Every three months the Chief will report publicly before the board on all requests for access, the requests that were honoured and why and how many requests were denied and why.

I know this doesn’t get us as far as you would like, however, I will be moving a motion requesting that a Judge determine the Board’s right to have the historical data destroyed once the cases have been dealt with.

Sincerely,
Shelley Carroll

I replied, because I wasn’t that happy with her answer.

Is it common or uncommon for the police to respect the recommendations made by the police services board? I’m still confused why the police would need access at all, even if the data needs to remain alive while legal cases are before the courts. Would their access be in support of these legal proceedings?

I appreciate your reply. (You are one of my favourite city councillors.)

Ramanan Sivaranjan

Our conversation ended there. John Tory’s office replied next.

The Mayor welcomes the Toronto Police Services Board’s revised policy on Regulated Interaction with the Community and the Collection of Identifying Information.

This policy is part of the important work Chief Saunders has been leading to modernize the Toronto Police Service and rebuild trust between our communities and our hardworking police officers. This change includes increased training to address bias, restricted access to and oversight of historical data, and the introduction of a ‘Know your Rights’ public awareness campaign.

The Mayor advocated for the deletion of the historical data that has been compiled through the process of carding. The board, however, received compelling advice related to the legal and practical rationale against deletion, including legislative provisions and the data’s relevance to civil litigations and active Charter challenges. The data has therefore been put in restrictive access and there have been considerable increases to accountability and transparency around its use.

The Mayor strongly believes that our police can do their jobs and can keep our city safe while at the same time protecting the rights of our citizens. The best investigative tool the police have is the trust of the people they serve and protect.

If you have not been able to read the policy, please click on the link below for it.
http://www.tpsb.ca/images/agenda_nov17_public_main.pdf.

Thank you again for contacting the Mayor’s Office.

Sincerely,

Kevin Moraes
Policy Advisor
Office of Mayor John Tory

And that was that. Stop and frisk Toronto edition lives on. No one can I say I didn’t try, though.

Comment  

“What of this? This bed is soft and fine.”

Cugel voiced a question: “What is the reason for the massive iron grillwork above the bed? What if it fell during the night?”

Cugel, this is sheer pessimism! You must always look for the glad things in life! Have you noticed, for instance, the vase of flowers beside the bed!”

— Cugel’s Saga, Jack Vance.

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