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Ban Police Street Checks

For years the BCCLA has been advocating to ban police street checks. Street checks are harmful and discriminatory towards Indigenous, Black, and low-income communities, and have no basis in law.

Black, Indigenous, and low-income people are heavily policed and under-protected. They are continually harassed and intimidated by police, and, for many, these interactions have become fatal.

Representatives of policing departments, as well as municipal and provincial governments, have made statements about the need to address systemic racism in policing, but have not taken meaningful action. 

The Saga of The BCCLA’s Street Check Complaint

In 2018, the BCCLA started its campaign against street checks following the release of Vancouver Police Department (VPD) data showing a decade of disproportionate street checks were conducted in a discriminatory fashion against Indigenous and Black people contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and B.C.’s Human Rights Code.

We issued a joint policy complaint with the UBCIC calling for an immediate investigation of the significant racial disparity revealed in the VPD’s practice of street checks. We called on the Vancouver Police Board to initiate an independent study that would analyze the released VPD street check data. We also called for an investigation into the efficacy of street checks as a policing tool, the impact of street checks on Indigenous, Black and racialized people, as well as policy development on the collection of personal information resulting from police checks.

What followed is a journey deep down the rabbit hole of police governance, including submissions, letters, and joint advocacy, resulting in revelations of disturbing VPD conduct during the Street Checks Review.

The Ongoing Call to End “Random” Street Checks

Today, nearly 10,000 people, and over 68 organizations have called for a complete ban on this practice. Our deeply frustrating experience is a crucial window into the complete institutional failure of police governance bodies, like the Vancouver Police Board. 

In 2024, we brought our fight to end street checks to the Quebec Court of Appeal in Attorney General v Luamba to challenge the overrepresentation of Black people in “random” traffic stops in Quebec. Police discretion without adequate legal safeguards is directly responsible in both “random” street and traffic stops. We will continue to call for all levels of government to take immediate and concrete action to ban the blatantly racist and illegal practice of police street checks.