TORONTO, May 27, 2005 - We (the undersigned community groups) welcome the report Bias Free Policing: The Kingston Data Collection Project. We congratulate Chief William Closs and the Board of the Kingston Police Service for their courage to undertake this one-year pilot project that tracked the police "stops" by race, particularly in the face of criticisms from other jurisdictions.
The results of the data collection project showed that Black people and Aboriginal peoples disproportionately targeted for police "stops". It strongly supports what racialized communities - and in particular the Black and Aboriginal communities as well as many other studies and commissions have been saying for a very long time.
The findings, we believe, speak volumes and should be seen as particularly relevant not only in Ontario, but to policing in other jurisdictions across the country, especially in large urban areas where racialized groups have repeatedly called attention to racial profiling.
The results of this data collection project put to rest, once and for all, the cynicism, resistance and denials by the policing leadership including: police services, police associations and governments.
Chief Closs, in his closing comments at the presentation yesterday, apologized to people of African descent and Aboriginal people. But, one of the most important reactions the Chief had to the findings was his acknowledging that the findings were not about laying blame on individual officers but point to a problem that is systemic.
The Kingston data collection provides a powerful model for law enforcement and governments to begin to take critical steps to address the systemic racism that exists within these institutions.
This is yet another step in the ongoing struggle between racialized communities and the police on this issue. We look forward to working with services who recognize the existence of racial profiling in their regions locally and across the country, to implement constructive measures to resolve the problem once and for all.