Anti-Racism Advisory Panel
Thank you for meeting with members of ARAP on February 27th, to allow us to share our views regarding the Draft De-escalation and Appropriate Use of Force Policy.
The following is a summary of our input regarding the policy. We have divided it into two sections. The first section will respond directly to the fifty provisions in the draft. The second section will address what we believe are deficiencies of the draft and how they can be corrected.
Section 1 - the following is our response to the numbered provisions of the draft.
the definition of de-escalation in which it is described as what is necessary to gain compliance. It should instead state that it is doing what is necessary to move the situation toward the best/ most positive/safest possible outcome for everyone involved. There are many examples of people who are not "compliant" but who are also not posing a risk and upon whom no force should be used.
Better gathering and transmitting info by dispatch would be helpful. Identifying a person by their race, other than as part of a description so the right person is identified is not helpful.
- # 5
Would add after “take into account” AND AVOID STEROTYPICAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT
- # 9
Should only be used when lethal force is called for
- # 17
Add to end OR refer for CRIMINAL CHARGES
- # 23
Members should be EVALUATED, GRADED AND PASS BEFORE BEING ABLE TO RETURN TO DUTY OF CARRY ANY WEAPONS
- # 26
Add relevant AND UNBIASED information
Section 2 – Deficiencies of the draft
- Suspects who are mentally ill should not be handcuffed, unless necessary. Handcuffing creates anxiety and unnecessarily exacerbates an already tense situation.
- Officers should not resort to force merely because a subject is non-compliant. The officer should first try to determine the reason for non-compliance and whether compliance by the subject is necessary in achieving the officer’s lawful objectives.
- Person who are not in the country legally are another vulnerable group. They feel powerless in dealing with authority figures. Sometimes their fear is exploited by police.
- Consideration should be given to curtailing the para-military training officers receive. Para-military training places far too much emphasis on compliance in the execution of officer’s duties and insufficient emphasis on understanding the subject.
- Officers who intervene when another officer is using excessive or unnecessary force against a member of the public must be protected against retribution.
- TPS needs to enact a clear and consistently used form of communication when officers communicate with the public. There are clearly too many opportunities for miscommunication if the parties do not fully understand one another. This misunderstanding can lead to unnecessary negative outcomes.
- Examining alternatives: The policy should be fundamentally prospective and change oriented. The TPSB should commit to undertake a study of jurisdictions where police do not routinely patrol with firearms, to determine if and how such a model could be adopted in whole or in part within Toronto.
- Law reform relating to the SIU: The TPSB should commit to undertake to study the potential for legislative changes to compel subject officers to provide a statement to the SIU. This could be achieved by requiring a statement for professional responsibility purposes, but restricting its admissibility in court in the event that criminal charges were laid. Obtaining statements from subject officers in these circumstances would allow investigators to look for evidence in other areas which would support their case. The statements could also be used in regulatory/administrative proceedings related to a suspension or termination of the officer's employment.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to provide input to the TPSB on this very important subject.
Use of Force Sub-committee and other ARAP members