Good news in the fight to ban street checks

Ban Street Checks r1

Sign our petition!

Dear BCCLA Supporter,

Sometimes it can feel like change is hard to achieve. It’s easy to feel discouraged, especially in a time of social distancing. If you’ve ever doubted the impact of collective action, I’m here to share some hopeful news.

The pressure is working! Last week, Victoria City Council voted for a motion calling for the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board and Victoria Police Department to take immediate action to ban police street checks. This came after over 6500 people signed a petition calling for a ban on street checks across BC, and organizations in Victoria mobilized and pressured their City Council for a ban.

A motion calling for a ban on street checks is coming back to Vancouver City Council on Tuesday July 21, with speakers likely heard the next day. You can watch the meeting online here.

Let’s keep the pressure up. We want to reach 10,000 signatures to demand a Vancouver and province-wide... ban of street checks. Sign the petition today, and join the call for change.

For years people have been calling for a ban on police street checks, which are racist and illegal. They disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and low-income communities, particularly sex workers.

During a street check, the police stop a person in public and question them outside the context of an arrest or a police investigation. Street checks also happen when the police check on “the well-being of an at-risk person.” The term “at-risk” has been used to disproportionately stop and further stigmatize and criminalize sex workers. For the mostly Indigenous, Black, trans, and low-income sex workers trading sex on the street, repeated wellness checks on various strolls pushes the trade further underground.

WISH Drop-In Centre Society, which supports sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, has been calling attention to how sex workers are followed, stopped, and questioned by police frequently. WISH is one of the many community organizations leading the call for an immediate ban on illegal and harmful police street checks.

In a recent radio interview, Executive Director of WISH Mebrat Beyene noted, "repeated checks literally push the trade further underground into darker alleys. It makes it that much more difficult for sex workers to vet clients."

Similarly, the Victoria Police Department’s most recent report on the use of street checks reveals that 24 percent – nearly one quarter – of all their street checks are related to “prostitution.”

Sex workers deserve a safe environment. We cannot allow this injustice and harm to continue.

Ending street checks is one step in ending police harm. Will you join the call for a ban on street checks?

We’re only 2,975 signatories away from reaching our goal of 10,000. Sign today and join the call for an immediate ban on street checks.

Thank you for being part of the fight,

Latoya Farrell (she/her/hers)
Staff Lawyer – Policy

P.S. Through collective action, we can end the harm and injustice of street checks. Sign the petition and add your voice to the call.

Sign the petition today facebook twitter home


Login Form