The Toronto Police Service is bracing its members for a ‘difficult’ week ahead as it prepares to release the results Wednesday of a report focused on race-based data related to use of force and strip searches.
A separate report on workplace discrimination and harassment within the force is also set to come out Wednesday.
While the contents of the reports have not yet been made public, an internal TPS memo sent out Saturday and obtained by CP24 cautions members of the service that “many of these findings will be difficult to hear.”
According to the memo, the findings of the reports “reaffirm the existence of systemic racism and workplace harassment within our service.”
The note cautions that June 15 will be a challenging day for members because of the release of the findings.
“That day, and the weeks that follow, will be challenging as we share and discuss the extent to which systemic racism has led to differential treatment of racial groups by our service,” the memo reads. “It will be difficult for you, our members, as it will lead some people to question the hard work you do every day.”
CHIEF EXPECTED TO ISSUE APOLOGY
Toronto Police Chief James Ramer is expected to issue an apology on Wednesday as police release the findings, CTV News has learned.
No details about the report are being publicly released prior to a 10:30 a.m. news conference, where Ramer will be answering questions.
The report follows a 2019 directive from the Ontario government, as per the 2017 Anti-Racism Act, that police forces in the province begin collecting race-based data in instances of reportable use of force.
The policy was aimed at combatting systemic racism in policing.
The Toronto Police Service began collecting race-based data in January 2020 and took the extra step of collecting information around strip searches in addition to use-of-force incidents.
While the results of the report are not yet public, advocates have long called for change when it comes to how police interact with people of colour, particularly Black and Indigenous minorities.
The past few years have also seen a public awakening when it comes to race and policing, spurred on by a number of high profile cases in the U.S., such as that of George Floyd as well as cases here in the GTA, such as that of Dafonte Miller.
A separate memo sent out Tuesday reminds members of the force that resources will be available to them to help process the material and better engage with the community.
“The reason this work is important is simple: effective policing is based on trust, and that trust depends on every person in the city being treated equally, and with dignity and respect,” the latest memo reads.