Discrimination: the SPVM will have to explain the context of traffic stops

Discrimination: le SPVM devra expliquer le contexte des interpellations

Starting in the fall of next, the police will have to fill out sheets of questioning computerized explaining the circumstances of these interventions.

This will help to contextualize the reason for the intervention, explains the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), who presented his first political questioning on Wednesday morning, in his headquarters. It is also the first policy of its kind in Quebec.

  • Listen to the interview of the chief of police of the SPVM Sylvain Caron, Jean-François Baril at QUB Radio:

Now, the police will need to indicate if the arrest has been decided upon by the police, if it is the result of a 911 call or if it is a result of the reporting police officer or citizen.

Other new features include: the objective and the reason for the arrest should be specified on the data sheet, as well as the observable facts that led to the intervention.

The police were up here clarify the “race” of the person arrested; this word is replaced by “ethnocultural identity”.

Other possible discriminatory grounds, such as the socio-economic status, difficult to assess, according to the SPVM, will not be specified.

Note that a file must be produced after the arrest “when the information collected is in relation to the mission of the service” of police.

The first policy

The SPVM undertook to introduce such a policy after the release of a report suggesting the existence of bias is systemic, and the minorities are more likely to be arrested randomly.

This policy should enter into force in the spring, but the date of its introduction has been postponed because of the pandemic of COVID-19.

The goal is to maintain a climate of trust in the interactions between citizens and police officers.

The policy prohibits any apprehension without foundation, either randomly or based on a discriminatory criteria.

It must rest on a set of observable facts which provide the police officer a reason to interact with a person. For example, to assist a person in need, prevent antisocial behaviour or crime, identify the person sought, or gather information in an objective that is consistent with the mission of the SPVM.

The SPVM does not expect a decrease in arrests following the entry into force of this policy.

To inform the citizen

The police officer must inform the citizen the reason of the inquiry in a summary way.

The person questioned is not obliged legally to give their identity or to answer questions of the police officer. It can also leave at any time, because it is not owned.

If the person refuses to answer the questions, of course, the police will not be able to complete the form in detail.

To note that an arrest is different to a social interaction, such as when agents, for example, take part in community activities or social activities.

It also differs interception, such as when a driver is violating the highway safety Code.

The policy may be updated in 2021 if necessary. Independent researchers will advise the SPVM.

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