November 3, 2014
Dr. Alok Mukherjee
Chair, Toronto Police Services Board
40 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2J3
Dear Dr. Mukherjee,
Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the important discussion regarding the job specification and expectations for Toronto’s next Chief of Police.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission recognizes that human rights organizational change is an ongoing process. The next Chief of the Toronto Police Service will face many existing human rights challenges and, undoubtedly, new challenges will arise. To this end, although there are many skills and attributes that the next Chief should possess and issues that deserve his or her attention generally, we feel the following are vital from a human rights perspective.
- Demonstrated commitment, vision, ownership, and accountability for human rights organizational change in all aspects of policing
- A deep understanding of the barriers faced by and the particular vulnerability of diverse communities with respect to policing and in society generally
- Demonstrated leadership and experience working with and engaging diverse communities in a way that respects human rights as part of preventing crime, ensuring public and officer safety, and building public trust
- A demonstrated approach to public safety that values true “community policing”, which emphasizes peacekeeping, problem-solving, crime prevention, reducing barriers between the police and the community, constructive alternative approaches to dealing with some offences or offenders, and inclusion of citizens in these and other policing activities.
- Demonstrated leadership in advancing a pro-active rights based approach to community policing that enhances public trust and cooperation with police
- Superior tact and interpersonal and communication skills to build an open dialogue on human rights and make human rights a part of the everyday conversation in policing
- Proven ability to develop and maintain mutually constructive partnerships to effect human rights change in policing
That work advance on key human rights issues including
Further work aimed at eliminating racial profiling
- Development and full implementation of the recommendations from the PACER Report
- Recognition of remaining challenges and obstacles and a sensitivity to the perspective of communities subjected to new and intensified forms of racial profiling.
- Adhere and fully implement the letter and spirit of the TPSB’s Policy on Community Contacts
- Development and full implementation of the recommendations made by the Honourable Frank Iacobucci’s in his Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service
- Cooperation with community partners in the promotion of human rights
- Continued collaboration and consultation with the OHRC and other community partners to enhance police effectiveness, public trust, accountability and compliance with the law
- Willingness to initiate independent and public inquiries and consultation on important human rights issues such as mental health and racial profiling
The OHRC commends the number of important steps to advance human rights within the TPS taken to date under the leadership of Chief Blair. We stand ready to assist the new Chief, and the Police Services Board, in any way we can to advance human rights in the internal and external operations of the Toronto Police Service.
Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)