A stenciled “defund the police” seen painted on a Halifax sidewalk in April. — Photo: Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

The committee struck to define the concept of defunding the police for the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners has started its public consultation process with an online questionnaire.

The Committee to Define Defunding the Police, chaired by professor, activist and Halifax Examiner contributor El Jones, launched the questionnaire on Tuesday.

“The committee is leading a variety of public engagement processes to fulfill its mandate. These processes include a questionnaire open to HRM residents that asks for their perspectives on the role of policing in their communities,” Jones wrote in a news release.

“Questionnaire responses will be kept strictly confidential and the results will not be used in any way that will allow anyone to identify respondents. The link to the questionnaire will be open until the end of June.”

The questionnaire, available here, asks respondents about their interactions with police, public safety programming in HRM, the role of police, and what it means to defund the police.

The committee will also host an online community consultation session on June 19 from 10am to 4pm, where people will given 10 minutes “to share their perspective on the prospect of defunding the police.”

People hoping to participate are asked to sign up here, and the committee is taking written submissions at defundhrm@gmail.com.

The Board of Police Commissioners approved the terms of reference for the committee at a meeting in March with an expectation that its final report would be complete at the end of May. That final report is now expected at the end of July, Coun. Lindell Smith, chair of the board, said during a meeting on Monday.

Halifax has multiple processes underway reviewing policing in the municipality. A report exploring alternatives to policing, incorporating the results of the Committee to Define Defunding, is expected to be complete in December 2022. And the municipality is planning to hire an independent consultant to review its unique hybrid Halifax Regional Police-RCMP model starting next year.

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Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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