After some discord in recent months over refusal to end ride checks in the region, the Peel Police Services Board seems to be taking a turn for the better as Amrik Singh Ahluwalia takes his seat as new the chair.
The civilian board is tasked with overseeing budgets enacting policies to govern police service in the region and the behaviour of the Chief of Police.
After almost two decades of leadership by former chair Emil Kolb and two years under current chair Laurie Williamson, critics have warned that a precedent was set within the force of little accountability and improper disciplinary measures.
Both mayors Linda Jeffrey and Bonnie Crombie have called for drastic change and have actively championed Amrik Singh Ahluwalia as the man to make it happen. They have actively championed Ahluwalia as the person to bring a fresh approach to that would reflect the region’s diversity.
One concern cited by both mayors was that Peel Police, its leadership, and the board that governs it do not represent the community at large. Ahluwalia’s win could mean a turn for the better in enacting policies that represent and are reflective of Peel region.
Mayor Linda Jeffrey revealed to The Toronto Star that she hopes moving forward, the priorities of the board better reflect the challenges currently facing the rapidly growing, diverse neighbourhoods Peel police currently oversee. This includes street checks.
Carding and street checks have been a contentious topic for the board. Police chief Jennifer Evans disregarded the board’s 4-3 decision — as well as calls from Mayors Jeffrey and Crombie, local MPs and MPPs — to end the practice, and made it clear she would continue to allow officers to do it.
The refusal to remove such a controversial practice as well as a recent human rights complaint from a South Asian officer — among other issues — may display a lack of representation and understanding of the diverse population Peel Police officers currently serve.
As Ahluwalia takes his seat as chair, many are hoping he can be the catalyst for better leadership, better policy and a renewed fight against carding, which has been shown time and time again to disproportionately targets black residents in the region.
Photo Source – Toronto Star