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Alberta government bans police practice of “carding”

Some changes are being made to how police officers around the province gather public information.

As of now, the UCP government is banning carding and establishing clear rules for common interactions between police and the public.

Justice Minister Kaycee Madu says the new provisions establish clear rules around so-called “street checks” – to ensure police officers respect the rights of citizens when requesting personal information.

Carding, meanwhile is a police practice of randomly and arbitrarily stopping people and asking for personal information.

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Madu says this will end immediately, saying this is an inappropriate use of police powers.

“Members of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities in Alberta expressed concerns about carding and street checks, and we have a responsibility to act on those legitimate concerns. The Government of Alberta supports the dedication and courage of the province’s police officers, and this historic change ensures they will continue to serve and protect our communities with the full trust and confidence of all Albertans,” stated Madu in a news conference on Thursday.

The Alberta government’s ban on carding will ensure consistency across the province.

The new rules on street checks were developed in consultation with the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, and recognize the value of street checks as an investigative tool for police officers to build relationships in the community while investigating crime. However, the new rules state that officers can collect personal information from members of the public only in specific circumstances, such as asking about a crime that has taken place. These interactions will be voluntary, and officers must make that clear at the outset of the interaction that citizens have no obligation to provide their personal information or answer questions.

Police services will now be required to train officers to comply with the new rules, and provide public education to help ensure that citizens know their rights when interacting with the police. The public awareness requirements for police services include holding information sessions with community groups, making information available on their websites and developing communications strategies to inform the public via social media and in various languages.

New records management and oversight requirements will ensure police services comply with the new street check rules. Police services must conduct internal reviews of street check data four times a year, and provide annual reports to the Alberta government.

(From Alberta government news release)

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