Street checks done about once an hour in Calgary: Police Chief Neufeld

CALGARY — Street checks — when police ask people to identify themselves and record the information as part of a legitimate investigation — are done about once an hour in Calgary, according to Chief Mark Neufeld.

Neufeld made the comment during a Thursday afternoon press conference that saw Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu announce the practice of carding — when police stop someone and demand identification without any probable cause — would be banned “immediately.”

The issue of carding and street checks is one the Calgary Police Service has been looking at since 2016, said Neufeld.

“We appreciate that the province has acknowledged that the process itself is important and that it has value in the context of crime prevention and community safety and well-being because we know how important those things are to Calgarians and Albertans generally,” he said.

“At the same time, we would certainly be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that communities have expressed very legitimate concerns about really, how street checks get done, and the perceptions that can be left and have been left with racialized communities in cases where the interactions haven’t been done as respectful or professional as we may have hoped.”

Street checks are done about once an hour during an average day in Calgary, said Neufeld.

“Half of those, in fact, are in relation to dispatch calls for service,” he said. “So situations where we’ve had the community phone us about something going on and where officers have responded to investigate.”

CPS welcomes the new guidelines, he added.

“I believe they’re going to be really helpful to ensuring there is a good, strong understanding of, first of all, what they are and what they’re not, what carding is and what carding is not,” he said. “Then also helping to achieve consistency across the various policing agencies so Albertans, when they move around as they do, can expect the same sorts of things.”

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