The Toronto police service has started an internal review on how officers conduct searches and arrests when dealing with people from various religions, CBC News has learned.
The review was sparked by a human rights complaint in July 2008 after a police officer removed a Muslim woman's hijab, or head scarf.
The complaint eventually made its way to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, where it was settled out of court before a hearing could occur this past January.
Due to privacy rules, CBC News was not able to obtain a copy of the complaint or learn the identity of the Muslim woman.
Donald Bevers, manager of corporate planning with Toronto police, is leading the policy review, which began with a meeting involving members of various religious communities in March.
The review includes how religious items such as prayer beads, hijabs and the Koran are handled in searches, and how officers conduct searches when the people involved are members of such religions as Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism.
The changes are expected to begin this fall.
"I think what we have to look at here is, not what has occurred in the past, but how do we move forward from that?" Bevers said. "And how do we also make ourselves better so that we don't get back into that?"
Bevers said there aren't a lot of similar policies on the subject in other police services.
"We have a chance now to move forward to create a policy that hopefully other services may be able to take a look at," he said.
Police meet with Muslim community
Police are also working on new procedures and training for all police officers, college cadets, voluntary officers and prisoner transport officers, Bevers said.
Police have already met with members of Toronto's Muslim community to talk about the issues...
Hey, I'd like to talk about the issues, too. Issue 1. Police giving way to an angry mob of Jew-haters "protesting" Israeli incursions in Gaza and telling counter-protesters they'd better scatter because there was no way to protect them. Issue 2. Palestine House low-lives unzipping so as to display their shortcomings, calling for another Holocuast, and generally behaving like obnoxious asshats in response to a Jewish protest of a Palestine House fundraiser. (The event's featured speaker was an Arab newspaper editor from Londonistan who vows to dance in the streets if and when the Ayatollah scores a direct hit on the one-nuke'll-do-ya Jewish State.) Issue 3. When, exactly, can we expect hate speech charges to be layed against Salman Hossain, the Jew-hater whose lively free expression makes Dave Ahenakew's utterances (the ones that landed the chief's butt in the dock for years on end and got him stripped of his O of C) seem tame?