2nd Peoples Report On Policing

15 Mar

One year has passed since the creation of our last Peoples report on policing which aimed at understanding the impact of
implementing the PAVIS model of policing on our community. Within that year the PAVIS model of “Community”Policing”has
become entrenched in at risk communities and it is not uncommon to see stop and searches, police presence in community
centres and other such matters of police spying and intimidation.

In response to this, KW Occupy, The Spot Collective, and Basics Community News Service interviewed 40 people from the
East end and downtown of Kitchener to come up with our own understanding of policing and the PAVIS model.

Interactions with Police in the last year.

Respondents felt that in the last year due to public pressure, protest and lawsuits police are less likely to do somethings
illegal in public and that there has been a decrease in arbitrary arrests and beatings, but this does not change the fact
that those interviewed have felt an increase in legal harassment as well as felt that there has been an increase in police
presence downtown and in community centres.

Those interviewed feel that with this presence in community centres, staff and social workers are more likely to
collaborate in terms of giving information to police as well as handing people over. Respondents also feel that
Police are less likely to release people on a Promise to appear and more and more people are being held in jail
awaiting trial or forced to plead guilty to lesser charges to get out.

Targeted Communities

The people interviewed felt that it was likely to face arbitrary arrest, and brutalization if one was from
a marginalized community or if one does not have access to lawyers and social networks that can raise awareness
or hype around a specific case. From their own experience respondents stated the differences that they have seen
in terms of arrest, beating and length of time in jail without bail between those people who have contacts and
those that don’t. Respondents have also noted that PAVIS and police patrol marginalized community’s more frequently
then other community’s.

Respondents feel that police are more likely to stop and search youth in these communities, not just as a tool of
harassment but rather to know who is who. They feel that this makes them more vulnerable to police as they are more
likely to be mistreated because they are known to police.

Use of Force

Respondents felt that there was an increase in the last year of police using “non lethal” force when making arrests
as well as using force instead of dialogue particularly when dealing with people with mental health issues and that
there is an increase in police dealing with mental health issues despite the fact that they are not trained to do so.

One youth described how he was tasered 17 time despite the fact that he was already immobilized. Another youth recounted
his experience of watching 4 cops brutalizing an elderly mentally ill man despite the fact that he posed no threat to himself
and others. One native youth described how police called an ambulance to be on standby when they arrested him.

Infiltration, intimidation and political policing.

Those interviewed discussed at length attempts by police to intimidate them from participating in protests or hanging out with
people who are seen as political. As well people described how the tactic of “chatting people up” has increased as way to gather information.
People have also described police arresting people on minor offenses and then telling people that they will be released if they give information.

The attempts to recruit informers has increased according to respondents, one of whom described his experience of being stopped by police for allegedly
having a stolen bike and told that if he needs money he can work for them.

Respondents have also described heavy police presence outside of public meetings and harassment for attending functions of a political nature and the fear
of participating in such event so as they do not become targets.

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One Response to “2nd Peoples Report On Policing”

  1. waterlooregionadvocate March 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    As I understand it the provincial Ombudsman will soon have the authority to investigate complaints against municipalities as well as local police. Maybe this will have a positive effect upon police behaviour even before complaints are investigated by a third party.

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