Ontario police watchdog rips strip searches

Strip searches of suspects have become commonplace and are all too often unnecessary and even illegal despite sharp criticism of the practice going back almost two decades, one of Ontario’s police watchdogs reported on Thursday.

In a special analysis of the issue, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director says strip-search procedures across the province are inconsistent, poorly documented and often show a misunderstanding of the law.

Director Gerry McNeilly calls the situation “intolerable” in light of a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2001 that established the legal parameters for the intrusive searches. Violations have led to the exclusion of evidence and even the dismissal of charges, he notes.


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