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May 13, 2004
Summit sponsors commit to improving Youth-Police relations
  
A renewed commitment to improving relations between young people and the police
was the focus of the Toronto Youth-Police Summit held today. Sponsored by the
City of Toronto, the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Police Services Board
and the Toronto Youth Cabinet, the summit brought together more than 100 youth,
police officers, city and community agency staff and justice system personnel
to discuss the relationship between youth and the police.

A joint statement signed by Mayor David Miller, Police Chief Julian Fantino,
Police Services Board Chair Alan Heisey and Ryan Teschner of the Youth Cabinet
committed the sponsoring organizations to work together to "foster good
relations between the police and youth" and "support communities in the
development of local initiatives to build stronger and more co-operative
youth-police relations."

"Today's summit was an important beginning to a process of dialogue between
police and young people," said Mayor Miller. "As part of our commitment to
increasing community safety, we are determined to keep this dialogue going and
to produce real improvements in youth-police relations."

The joint statement acknowledges that youth-police interactions have sometimes
been hampered by misunderstandings and misconceptions. "Some youth feel that
they are not always treated with respect by police officers. Several important
criminal investigations have been impeded by young people's silence and lack of
co-operation," the statement says.

Chief Fantino said, "We hope the summit will help overcome some of the
stereotypes that may exist on both sides. For police officers to do our job
effectively, we need to be able to count on the trust and co-operation of all
parts of the community including young people."

The sponsors also agreed to prepare a joint report within six months regarding
their progress on improving youth-police relations in Toronto. "We need to
monitor the issue to make sure that real progress is being made on developing a
new level of trust and understanding," said Police Services Board Chair, Alan
Heisey.

The summit which was held this morning at St. Lawrence Hall was originally
proposed last year by the Toronto Youth Cabinet, the voice of Toronto youth at
City Hall. "We are very pleased to bring together so many of the important
players to discuss an issue that troubles many young people everyday," said
Ryan Teschner, a founding member of the Cabinet. "We hope the process put into
motion today will bring real change to the lives of Toronto youth."

Media contacts:
Ed Reed, Summit Planning Committee, 416-392-5187
Toronto Police Service Corporate Communications, 416-808-7100



 

 

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