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November 5, 2008
Our group has received the most recent letter from A.Forbes, confirming that the Toronto Police Service can find no more records that respond to my freedom of information request (case number 073075). I have informed Brian Bisson of the IPC that we accept this decision and do not intend to carry on with our appeal.
However we continue to be concerned about some of the issues that we have tried, unsuccessfully, to raise with Fourteen Division in recent years. Since information about the particular examples we gave is unavailable, we would like to discover whether the Toronto Police Service has, perhaps, studied some of those same issues more broadly across the city.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, we would therefore like to request copies of the following records and reports, if they exist (or confirmation that they either don’t exist or are unavailable for other reasons):
1. Any police use of force reports referring to officers in Fourteen Division of the Toronto Police Service. It us our understanding that such reports refer to each time an officer draws a weapon in public, that the reports are provincially mandated, and that they are perhaps only kept for two years. Please let us see all the information on these reports except what needs to be severed for privacy rights. In each case we also need to know which of the instances was connected with an arrest. We also need to see any summary record/document comparing such firearm use between police divisions.
2. Any analytical Reports, internal (by staff) or external (e.g. done by a consultant, a commission of inquiry, etc.) analyzing the use of police firearms by Toronto Police Service officers in the past two decades (including but not limited to Fourteen Division). We are interested in any description, summary, analysis of use and efficacy, connections with arrests, and advice to police management, as well as any reports meant to shape curriculum during officer training in firearm use. We searched for such reports on the TPS website but did not find anything posted. If any of these reports are already available publicly (e.g. a parliamentary inquiry, etc.), we need to know where to find them.
3. Any records of computer program malfunctions leading to mistaken arrests, by police division, in the past ten years. If no such separate records exist, please let us see all records of erroneous arrests during that time period, with the cause of the error specified (e.g.computer error), with only private information severed.
4. Any analytical Reports, internal (by staff) or external (e.g. done by a consultant, a commission of inquiry, etc.) about computer errors or malfunctions leading to mistakes in arresting people. We are also interested in any reports meant to shape curriculum during officer training, relating to avoiding mistakes in arresting a person on the basis of a computer system error.
5. Any policy document or decision document stating what kind of information should be entered on "Occurrence Reports" or "occurrence sheets" (or whatever names or descriptors are used for documenting police stops of persons in public places such as parks or streets or public plazas). We wish to read such reports or analyses with a view to finding out, for example: if a gun is drawn, is that information required to appear on the occurrence sheet? Does the occurrence report include the probable ethnic origin of the person who was stopped? In other words, did the Police Services Board change its prohibition against collecting such data? Are the words "Routine" or "subject stop" a sufficient written reason on an occurrence or "stop" report? We need to see any decision document or policy document that addresses these questions.
6. Any analytical Reports that undertook internal or external analysis, commissioned by management, of possible problems with the use of the occurrence sheets, for reporting, occurrence analysis, or accountability.
7. Any Reports or summaries based on the Professional Standards Information System (PSIS) database. If TPS has replaced that software with another program, we would like to see any Reports or Summaries based on the replacement(s). This would include analysis of complaints (internal and external), use of force incidents, suspect apprehension pursuits, police vehicle accidents and incidents involving the Provincial Special Investigations Unit. Please include any evaluations at the unit and corporate levels.
It is very likely that there is some overlap in the seven parts of this information request, since we are only guessing at what kinds of reports and records may exist. To reiterate the three fundamental concerns we are seeking to follow up: the rifle drawn in Dufferin Grove Park in 2005; the mistaken arrest based on a computer error; and the frequency of “routine,” “S/S” and “loitering” on the park-based occurrence sheets. These examples are ‘flags’ for some long-term problems that need addressing. In asking for these reports and records, we hope to discover that the Toronto Police Service is also aware of these problems, and seeking to find remedies.