Friday, August 19, 2011

Toronto police did 85 strip searches a day in 2010: Canada

Strip searches conducted by Toronto police on suspects are often done arbitrarily and without cause, critics say, but the union representing officers insists the practice is carried out under strict controls in a "minority" of cases.

Police figures show that 31,072 people were strip-searched in 2010 — 85 a day — up from 29,789 the previous year.

The controversy was sparked earlier this week when John Sewell of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition (TPAC) said the figures mean 60 per cent of those arrested in Toronto were subjected to a strip search in 2010.

Sewell apparently based the figure on the number of arrests for 2010, which he extrapolated to be under 50,000.

Neither Toronto police nor Sewell responded to CBC News's request for clarification on the matter.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, citing newly released statistics, said the actual number of arrests in Toronto for 2010 was 70,758, which means 44 per cent of arrestees underwent a strip search.

"When you're talking about 44 per cent not 60 per cent, it's not a systemic issue. It's a minority of cases," McCormack says, adding that Sewell is in "la-la land." (more)