Police name tags raised at G20 review

A student activist says Toronto police officers are violating their own policy when they refuse to wear name tags while on duty.
This photo taken by student activist Vikram Mulligan shows a Toronto police officer working without a name badge at a protest in January. (Submitted by Vikram Mulligan)

A student activist says Toronto police officers are continuing to violate their own policy by refusing to wear name tags while on duty.

The issue was raised last week as the public review continues into police actions during last year's G20 summit.

Many officers did not wear name tags on their uniform during the summit, which in some instances made it difficult to identify them in photos and footage during subsequent reviews into police actions.

"It was really the G20 that made me aware there was a problem with name badges," said student and activist Vikram Mulligan, who has snapped photos of on-duty officers working with no visible name tag since the G20. 

"In April of this year, the Toronto Slutwalk, I don't know who this officer is, no name badge," he said.

Mulligan went public with his findings at the G20 public hearings, which continue this week.  Four of his pictures show police officers in yellow rain jackets. Another shows an officer in a police safety vest. None are wearing their name tags, which Mulligan says violates a policy the Police Services Board enacted in 2006.

"Ultimately it's very simple," said Vikram. "I'd like to see every Toronto Police Service member wearing a name badge that's clearly visible at all times when they're on duty."

Believing that police refusing to wear name tags is a "systemic" problem, Vikram filed a complaint with the Toronto police in February. Toronto Police Det. Terry Tretter investigated and found there was no wrongdoing because the officers in Vikram's photos were wearing an older style of police raincoats that have no place to affix name tags.

Toronto Police Insp. Peter Yuen, who liases with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), agreed with Tretter's findings.

Raincoats an exception

Mark Pugash speaks for the Toronto Police. He said all uniformed officers are required to wear name tags while on duty but said older raincoats are an exception.

He said the older raincoats are being replaced by new coats that have a patch for name tags, but could not give a timeline about when all of the older style of coats would be replaced.

"We have to be fiscally responsible, as we replace our coats, they'll be replaced with coats that allow the wearing of name badges," he told CBC News.

Pugash also said in the weeks following the G20 summit "a significant number" of police officers were disciplined for not wearing their name badges while on duty.

Mulligan said the official police policy makes no mention of a raincoat exception and has asked the OIPRD office to take a second look at the policy.