Study: Racial data routinely suppressed by police in Canada

White guilt can drive many things, such as singularly accepting collective, inherited guilt, or hiding facts in government data.

White guilt can drive many things, such as singularly accepting collective, inherited guilt, or hiding facts in government data.

by Douglas Quan of Postmedia News

Many Canadian police agencies “actively suppress” racial data when delivering their annual crime reports to Ottawa — a trend that is both disturbing and growing, according to a study released Wednesday.

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, said the continued “whitewashing” of criminal data makes it virtually impossible for researchers to gauge whether police are dealing with racial and ethnic minority groups in an equitable manner.

“Community relationships are so important for policing. If you want to develop better relationships, show you’re working on issues these communities are concerned about,” said lead author Paul Millar, an assistant professor of criminology at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont., in an interview. “Be accountable.”

Police agencies gave several reasons Wednesday for why they don’t collect or report racial characteristics of the people they come in contact with.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox said asking a victim or accused person to identify their race “may give rise to human rights and privacy concerns.”

Officers could also be put in the position of contravening the force’s “bias-free policing” policy, he said.

Acting Insp. Cathy Bell, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Provincial Police, said her force strives to be sensitive to all cultures and races and that collecting racial data is not seen as relevant to the force’s programs and operations.

The federal Department of Justice, however, has previously judged that such data collection could be helpful for policy development and statistical purposes.

[Editorial note: Lopsided demographic crime rates and the embarrassment caused by them are the clear motivator with such data obfuscation, and such efforts are never undertaken on behalf of white people to spare their feelings or reputations. Clearly, the right to know in any case supersedes political embarrassment or social agendas.]