Kingston police seek second opinion on racial stats
The union representing Kingston police wants another opinion on the data behind a controversial report that suggests young black men are more likely to be stopped by officers than men of any other racial background.
The study, released last week, was based on a ground-breaking program that required officers to record the race of people they stopped while on patrol.
- FROM MAY 26, 2005: Kingston police more likely to stop blacks, study finds
When Kingston's Police Services Board voted to launch the project, they promised the numbers would eventually be analyzed by an objective third party. They chose criminologist Scot Wortley, an academic known for his work in the area of relations between police and visible minorities.
But Sean Bambrick, who heads the union that represents frontline police officers in Kingston, has been cautioning his members about Wortely's report.
"Try not to jump to any conclusions," he advises his members. "This is what one professor has said. We still maintain our position: this is not going to prove or disprove anything at the end of the day."
Bambrick says the association is hiring its own crime analyst to do another evaluation.
"In terms of having the raw data examined in its truest form, we don't have the raw data yet," he said. "Right now, what we're concentrating on is on the actual report itself and the interpretation that came from it."
Groups in Ontario that represent the black community accuse the association of avoiding the real problem.
"Rather than trying to take responsibility to be accountable for what Dr. Wortley's study has shown, they're just trying to resist change that will in any way combat racial profiling," said Margaret Parsons, who speaks for the African Canadian Legal Clinic.
The public, added Parsons, is well aware that profiling is a reality, and should therefore disregard any new analysis done by the police.