We need rigorous civilian oversight and training on de-escalation techniques. – Nigel Barriffe, UARR Board Member
Deputation to the Toronto Police Services Board
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Toronto City Hall
The Urban Alliance on Race Relations has been working on civilian oversight of police since 1975.
This work is about community accountability and it demands the constant vigilance of the community. It is clear to those of us new to activism and those of us who have been involved in this work for a long time, that when there are police shootings, mostly of racialized people who are often in crisis, we all have the right to better policing.
Public consultations provide an opportunity for Toronto Police Services to listen to the legitimate complaints and fears of people, especially those of us who are marginalized and more vulnerable due to race, poverty, and disability.
If the police want to gain the confidence of all citizens who they are to ‘serve and protect’, they don’t need more weapons. They need to rise up to the challenge of higher standards, better training and more civilian oversight.
It is our view that the proposal to arm police with taser runs counter to what is required for safer communities and better police relations with the public that they serve. This move escalates the possibility of inappropriate use of force; employing technology that past experience has shown can be used as inappropriately as any other weapon.
The sales of these technologies primarily benefit the companies that make them. In a context where many community groups have been asking for de-escalation of police activity the proposal to purchase these tasers should be rejected.
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