Burgeoning Criticism Causes Montreal Police to Track Racial Profiling
Through a document titled the Strategic plan to support SPVM staff in the prevention of racial and social profiling 2018-2021, The City of Montreal has issued a directive to its police service to track social and racial profiling allegations. This is a step in the right direction expected to jumpstart the process of tackling the perennial problem.
The plan details that the SVPM- Service de police de la Ville de Montréal-the police force for The City of Montreal is expected to collate the filed cases with three parties: the human rights commission, the police ethics committee, and youth protection services.
According to CBC News, “They will also be required to record the number of cases where an officer is found guilty of racial or social profiling.”
Confident that the new guidelines will be effective in combating the problem and yield positive results, the chair of Montreal’s public security committee, Alex Norris, said, “I believe we’re really moving forward with something much more comprehensive, and more ambitious than we’ve seen in the past.”
Critics of the SPVM wanted thorough enforcement of new strict rules such as the creation of an independent oversight committee to assess the police service’s headway in the implementation of the proposed guidelines. Secondly, it was proposed that disciplinary actions be taken against policemen who are found guilty of racial profiling.
The SPVM also plans to recruit more minorities, improve education and increase efforts of outreach; all of which were hailed as positive efforts by Fo Niemi, a civil rights activist who doubles up as the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.
He said, “The growing anger over racial profiling in Montreal is part of a larger trend unfolding elsewhere Quebec and farther afield, including Toronto, where a new report detailed how black people were over-represented in violent interactions with police.”
The police service’s communication division through Inspector Andre Durocher said that the SVPM is obligated to, and will report all the progress to the city and make amendments, if any are required and as is necessitated.
A report that was made public revealed that Montreal police fell short of achieving the very targets they had set for themselves. It followed another one that was released after Fredy Villanueva’s death five years ago.
Although it established that the police force was well-meaning, it failed in certain aspects such as training programs, recruiting minorities, transparency and pumping money towards outreach programs.
According to CBC News, “Findings from the interviews show that racial profiling is prevalent in Saint-Michel, occurring in a variety of spaces, including parks, streets, housing complexes, and public transportation.”
Conclusions from research conducted from a pool of 48 young racially diverse people between the ages of 15-28 living in Saint-Michel deduced that they are likely to be subjected to “widespread and systemic” racial profiling by the SVMP.
Testimonies from different people were evidence enough. Majiza Philip’s unfortunate encounter with the Montreal Police that left her with a broken arm. When she learned about the plans of the police force, she termed them “disappointing and disheartening.”