The practice of carding individuals has been heavily criticized and over a period of time, politicians bowing to activists and pressure groups have curbed the practice to a point that the Peel Regional Police are approaching far fewer individuals than in previous years.
A Peel Police Services Board annual report reveals that police collected data from just two individuals in all of 2017.
Previous media reports have indicated that Peel police would collect information from thousands of people per year, and much debate has centered around the fact that people of colour report more challenging/difficult interactions with police (from all jurisdictions, not Peel exclusively) during routine checks.
For a little over a year now, the regulation has enforced new rules for police to follow when requesting identifying information. These new rules and criteria apply if an officer asks someone for identification while:
• Looking into suspicious activities
• Gathering intelligence
• Investigating possible criminal activity.
• The new rules do not apply if police ask for identifying information or to see an identifying document while:
• Doing a traffic stop
• Arresting or detaining someone
• Executing a warrant
• Investigating a specific crime
But many residents of Peel wonder if the virtual end of carding is responsible for the kind of crime that is occurring across Brampton in recent times.
The whole purpose of carding was to help police gather intel about people acting suspiciously in public or simply loitering at street corners. While admittedly it did end up being that people of color ended up being carded more often than whites, in Peel Region that could also be a result of changing demographics. There are way fewer whites and more visible minorities. When it comes to news about arrests and those wanted in connection with some incident or crime, it is invariably someone of colour.
Carding is a great tool used by police in detective work and one wonders if not having that sort of information will affect their ability to move in on suspects in a timely manner. Another question is whether carding acts as a kind of deterrent to criminals and would-be criminals who know they are being watched. – CINEWS