Committee Recommendations on Collection of Race-Based Police Data
The Province is accepting all recommendations by the committee established to review models for gathering race-based information from police stops.
The Wortley Report Research Committee’s report, Collection of Race-Based Police Data in Nova Scotia, makes recommendations in the areas of policy development, training, compliance and monitoring, communication, data analysis, evaluation and resourcing.
The report recommends the Minister of Justice mandate the collection of race-based data by police. Information gathered at police stops will identify over-representation when it occurs and help police improve interactions with African Nova Scotian, Indigenous and other racialized Nova Scotians. This will allow for the evaluation of policies and practices and improve transparency and accountability.
The research was led by Timothy Bryan, a University of Toronto professor with research expertise in the policing of hate crime, as well as racism and criminal justice reform.
“There is no place for racism in our justice system. It must be addressed at every level. These recommendations will guide the development of a data collection model for police stops that will help ensure police practices and interactions are free from discrimination,” said Attorney General and Justice Minister Brad Johns. “I want to thank the Wortley Report Research Committee members and Dr. Bryan for their work on this important issue.”
Committee representatives from the following organizations and areas were actively engaged in the development of the committee’s report: the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, with additional community representation from the Northern, Cape Breton and Southwest regions, Halifax Regional Police, the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association, Cape Breton Regional Police, the Nova Scotia Association of Police Governance, the RCMP, African Nova Scotian Affairs, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the Nova Scotia Department of Justice.
Next steps include reviewing current data collection systems used by police agencies across the province and working with community and police to identify critical next steps to advance development of the standardized race-based data collection model.
The ANSDPAD Coalition is pleased that the Department of Justice is actively collaborating with the African Nova Scotian community to address the recommendations in the Wortley Report on street checks. The collection of race-based data on police stops is another step towards addressing systemic anti-Black racism in the justice system that has for centuries created mistrust and trauma for the African Nova Scotian community towards law enforcement. We hope this report will be mandated provincially and will allow for annual updates to the public on the interpretation of this data. It is our belief that transparency in data collection will allow for police accountability, policy changes in the current justice system and – with the development of the African Nova Scotian Justice Plan – create a space where all African Nova Scotians will feel safe when interacting with law enforcement.
Vanessa Fells, Director of Operations, African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent (ANSDPAD) Coalition
The Wortley Report Research Committee, with the expert support of Dr. Bryan, examined best practices in the collection of race-based data. We firmly believe that the recommendations will lead to more transparency in policing of minority communities. However, we need to remain vigilant and ensure that the implementation of the recommendations has the intended impacts.
Wayne Talbot, Deputy Mayor, Town of Truro, and Chair of the Truro Board of Police Commissioners
As committee co-chair and a police representative, it was an honour to be part of the group leading this multi-stakeholder effort to help bring further accountability and long-term change in policing practices. There is much work ahead and we are grateful for the expertise and continued support of Dr. Bryan and many others, enabling Nova Scotia and its policing partners to offer concrete action in this important area.
Don MacLean, Deputy Chief, Halifax Regional Police, and Co-chair, Wortley Report Research Committee
We are absolutely committed to fair and consistent policing across the province, and we understand the importance of these recommendations for race-based data collection to strengthen confidence and trust in bias-free police-community relations. With the Department of Justice, policing agencies will implement the appropriate procedures to collect data for transparency and accountability to ensure police interactions and practices are free from discrimination.
Chief Robert Walsh, President, Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association
We’re very pleased that the Province has accepted all recommendations brought forward by the Wortley Report Research Committee. We look forward to working with the Department of Justice, municipal police services and community leaders on effective race-based data collection. Our work will be critical to ensuring policing services transform to meet the needs of all those we serve.
John Ferguson, Assistant Commissioner and interim Commanding Officer, Nova Scotia RCMP
- the Halifax, Nova Scotia: Street Checks Report (the Wortley Report) by Scot Wortley, released on March 27, 2019, found that African Nova Scotians were almost six times more likely to appear in street check statistics than their representation in the population would predict
- the report includes 53 recommendations related to a street check ban, the regulation of street checks, data collection on police stops and improving police-community relations
- street checks were permanently banned in Nova Scotia on October 18, 2019
- with the release of the Minister’s Directive – Street Checks Ban, effective December 1, 2021, the Province strengthened the ban on street checks to provide clearer direction to police and ensure no Nova Scotian is subjected to the practice
- the Department, Nova Scotia RCMP and Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association are also collaborating with Statistics Canada to bring race-based data to the national Uniform Crime Reporting Survey
The Wortley Report Research Committee’s report on the Collection of Race-Based Police Data in Nova Scotia can be viewed at: https://humanrights.novascotia.ca/bryan
The Wortley Report on street checks is available at: https://humanrights.novascotia.ca/streetchecks
The Justice Minister’s Directive - Street Checks Ban is posted at: https://novascotia.ca/just/publications/docs/Minister-Directive-Street-Checks-Ban.pdf