Scot Wortley has been selected by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission as the independent expert to examine police street check data related to persons of African descent.
In January 2017, police street check data from 2006 and 2016 was publicly released that indicated black people in Halifax were three times more likely to be stopped by police than white people. The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has since been in discussions with the police complaints commissioner, the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the Halifax Regional Police, and African Nova Scotian community advocates.
“Obviously we’re concerned about allegations of racial profiling and discrimination in police street checks,” said Christine Hanson, director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. “We look forward to working closely with all parties to address any potential issues once Mr. Wortley has presented his findings.”
Earlier this year it was agreed by the Board of Police Commissioners and the community that the commission would hire an independent expert to look at the police street check data. The parties subsequently agreed with the selection of Mr. Wortley.
“He is extremely knowledgeable and highly qualified with extensive research and evaluation experience related to criminal justice and race,” said Ms. Hanson.
Mr. Wortley has doctorate in sociology and been a professor at the Centre of Criminology at University of Toronto since 1996. He is a published author on issues surrounding race and crime, including street checks. He has also worked extensively with public sector institutions, including law enforcement, in Canada and the Caribbean. One of Mr. Wortley’s assignments has been working with the Government of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate to develop standards and guidelines for the collection and dissemination of race-based data within the public sector. He has also designed and implemented national crime victimization surveys and provided related recommendations to the Government of Jamaica.
A full biography and photo of Mr. Wortley are on the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission’s website: humanrights.novascotia.ca/.