Province places moratorium on police street checks after community backlash

Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey announced Tuesday the province is putting a moratorium on police street checks after weeks of pressure from the community.

An independent report released last month found that black people were street checked at a rate six times higher than white people in Halifax.

The moratorium will immediately suspend the use of street checks of pedestrians and passengers in vehicles until further notice, the Department of Justice said in a release.

“The moratorium protects people from street checks in public areas, such as parks, sidewalks or other places accessible to the public, provided there is no suspicious or illegal activity,” the department’s release said. 

Furey’s directive adds that police activity, including traffic stops, cannot be done based on discrimination, including race.

He initially ordered police across the province to stop using street checks as part of a quota system in March.

The 180-page report by Scot Wortley, a University of Toronto criminology professor, found the practice of street checks has a disproportionate and negative impact on the black community, contributing to the criminalization of black youth.

Many in the community having been calling for a total ban on street checks, which was one of several recommendations presented in Wortley’s report.