Saskatchewan brings in rules to prevent random street checks by police

Province brings in rules to prevent random street checks by police

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Police Commission is telling officers not to randomly stop people on the street and ask for information.

The commission also reminded people Wednesday that they are under no obligation to talk to police if they are stopped.

“Members of the public … are free to walk away at any time,” the commission said in a news release.

The police commission is bringing in a new policy which spells out that people can’t be stopped based on their race or just because they are in a high-crime area.

The commission, which regulates municipal and First Nations police forces, refers to the practice as contact interviews, but the terms carding or street checks have been used in other provinces. Minority groups have raised concerns, saying they are unfairly targeted by officers.

Chris Kortright from the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism said that it’s problematic for the commission to word the process as voluntary.

“It’s fundamentally ignoring the relationship most citizens, especially Indigenous and marginalized people, have with the police,” Kortright said.

“When a cop calls you over and demands to see your ID and starts asking you questions, most individuals don’t feel like they have the right to refuse that.”

Commission chair Neil Robertson said the agency deliberately avoided the term carding because it wanted to use a neutral term.

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