Police Services Board discusses use of force report at meeting
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2020 6:36PM EDT
Waterloo regional police headquarters (Natalie van Rooy / CTV Kitchener)
KITCHENER -- The Regional Police Services Board discussed a recent use of force report at its meeting on Wednesday.
The report detailed use of force by officers and used race-based data for the first time. The findings showed a disproportionate use of force against Black people, but Chief Bryan Larkin said there isn't enough data.
"Our service fully believes in race-based data collection," Larkin said.
Larkin said the model used by Waterloo regional police is dynamic.
"It actually starts with the arrival at an incident," he said. "The sheer presence of a police cruiser and officer actually formulates a part of that."
The data was collected from January to June, reporting on all use of force incidents involving officers. It shows Black people were involved in 16 per cent of all incidents, while census data shows they only make up three per cent of the region's population.
"It's really important that we did collect this data and release it publicly," said NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo. "It justifies the calls that we've been making and validates the stories we've been telling people."
However Larkin said he's not sure the statistics prove anything at this point in time.
"We're looking at 153 incidents in the first six months with no baseline," Larkin said. "We have a very small data set and we have nothing to compare it to other than 2016 census data around population."
"The reality is in this context we've gotten data from all sorts of sources over a number of years that keeps telling us the same thing: that Black people are disproportionately impacted in negative ways by policing," Lindo said.
On Wednesday, officers presented race-based data collection strategy to board members.
It includes practices, principles and strategies.
"It's involving academic support and external support," Larkin said. "I do very strongly believe that we need to have advisory councils and community representation on all the work we're doing, which is part of our larger strategy."