Setting clear rules for police to respect rights
Alberta’s government has introduced legislation that would outright prohibit carding and standardize street checks.
Bill 63, the Police (Street Checks and Carding) Amendment Act, 2021, would continue the work to reform policing in Alberta. The proposed bill formalizes the ban on carding and guides how street checks are done by amending the Police Act to provide clear definitions of carding and street checks. It also puts into law the authority to conduct a street check and create regulations that would make sure there are rules in place around street checks.
“We’re keeping our commitment to have a clear set of rules to ensure police respect Albertans’ rights. Putting into law the outright ban of carding and making sure there are clear rules around street checks is just one action government is taking to reform policing and combat the legacy of institutional racism that still pervades too many parts of society.”
Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
“Codifying the ban on carding will ensure greater fairness and transparency in police-citizen encounters. It is a significant down payment in our quest to enhance the level of trust and cooperation between the police and the communities they serve. I am confident that the elected representatives of the people will support this effort in order to further enhance the legitimacy of police services in Alberta and improve police-community relations.”
Temitope Oriola, associate professor of criminology, University of Alberta
If used properly, street checks can be a helpful tool to combat crime. With regulations to guide the consistent use of street checks, Albertans can be confident that the practice is done in a way that respects all people’s rights.
Regulations would provide clear guidelines on, among other matters, the circumstances in which street checks may be conducted, how information obtained through street checks may be used and retained, police officer training and public education.
Under the proposed legislation, data collected through a street check must be provided voluntarily. If this bill passes, street check regulations will be developed and implemented this year.
Street checks refer to interactions or observations that result in an officer collecting personal and/or identifying information and entering it into a database for future use as per the activities noted in Bill 63, the Police (Street Checks and Carding) Amendment Act, 2021.
Carding is when officers randomly request personal information from a member of the public without reasonable grounds.