Nova Scotia RCMP will apologize to African community for street checks

Criminologist Scot Wortley

Nova Scotia RCMP will apologize to the African Nova Scotian community next year “for the harm caused by the historical use of street checks,” according to a news release issued last week.

Community consultations are being organized in African Nova Scotian communities ahead of the apology. One was held last week in Gibson Woods, N.S., and another one is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Hammonds Plains. There will be 14 consultations that the RCMP say will help “inform an action plan that will follow the apology.”

Assistant Commissioner Dennis Daley, commanding officer for the Nova Scotia RCMP, said as part of the apology to Black Nova Scotians for the past use of street checks, he wants to diversify the force.

He pointed out that members of the Black community are telling him that’s key to stemming systemic racism in the ranks.

Street checks, which were banned in the province four years ago, involved police officers interacting with or observing someone and then recording personal information about them in a database.

A formal review by criminologist Scot Wortley in 2019 revealed Black people were street checked at a rate six times higher than white people in Halifax.

Halifax Regional Police issued an apology for street checks in 2019.