Independent expert selected to look into police checks in Halifax
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, September 18, 2017 8:33AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 18, 2017 12:45PM EDT
HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has selected an independent expert to examine the use of police street checks in Halifax.
Scot Wortley has doctorate in sociology and has been a professor at the Centre of Criminology at University of Toronto since 1996.
He is a published author on issues surrounding race and crime. Wortley has also worked with the Ontario government's Anti-Racism Directorate to develop standards for the collection and dissemination of race-based data within the public sector.
Halifax Regional Police released data earlier this year that showed black men in Halifax were three times more likely than whites to be subject to police street checks.
The January report from the Halifax RCMP found that in the first 10 months of 2016, 41 per cent of 1,246 street checks involved African-Nova Scotians -- even though they comprise only 3.6 per cent of the municipal population.
The commission has since been in discussions with the police force, the police complaints commissioner and the Serious Incident Response Team, which is an independent police watchdog agency.
"Obviously we're concerned about allegations of racial profiling and discrimination in police street checks," Christine Hanson, CEO of the commission, said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with all parties to address any potential issues once Mr. Wortley has presented his findings."
Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais has said he expects new policies on street checks to be in place this fall.