Nova Scotia to ban police street checks after jurist finds they are illegal

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia‘s Liberal government is planning to permanently ban police street checks after a retired judge issued a formal opinion that the practice is illegal.

Retired Justice Michael MacDonald‘s analysis concludes the practice contravenes constitutional and common law rights.

The jurist defined street checks as instances of police randomly stopping citizens, collecting their personal information and then recording the information in a police database.

Shortly after his findings were released, Justice Minister Mark Furey told reporters Friday he plans to introduce regulations that will place a permanent ban on the police practice.

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An analysis by University of Toronto criminologist Scot Wortley of 12 years of data collected by the Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP concluded black people were significantly over-represented in street checks across the Halifax region.

His study, released earlier this year, found African Nova Scotians in the Halifax area were more than five times more likely to be stopped by police and that the checks had a "disproportionate and negative" impact on the black community.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 18, 2019.

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