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Toronto police board approves revised carding policy that retains old data

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Nov 18th, 2016

The Toronto Police Services Board has approved a new carding policy that will allow police to retain data collected under the old system.

Police Chief Mark Saunders emerged from Thursday’s board meeting, saying the data can be useful in a variety of ways, and would only be accessed with great discretion.

“In order to get access to it, it has to go through me,” he said. “(We want) the public to have an understanding of why we are using the information.”

New provincial regulations on carding come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, prohibiting officers from stopping any person to collect data based on race.

Police must also inform members of the public of their right not to talk with an officer. Refusing to co-operate cannot be used as a reason to compel information.

In a statement, Mayor John Tory said he “advocated for the deletion of the historical data” but added the board “received compelling advice related to the legal and practical rationale against deletion.

“I am satisfied that the resulting policy appropriately restricts access to this data and increases accountability and transparency around its use.”

Journalist, activist and vocal opponent of carding, Desmond Cole, derided the decision on Twitter, saying “the racist practice continues.”

With files from The Canadian Press 

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