Kristy Hoffman, Patrick White and Danielle Webb,The Globe and Mail

Between 2009 and 2011, Toronto Police entered 1,104,561 names into its carding database, according to the force's own figures, a staggering effort disproportionately targeting minority groups. Toronto Police say they need carding to gather intelligence and prevent crime, but in doing so they resorted to tactics that sullied their public standing.

In recent months, the force's carding efforts have been reined in, thanks largely to intense community pressure. Under a new policy, Toronto officers must inform residents they have the right to walk away from a carding engagement at any time and conclude any such interaction by issuing a receipt.

While the carding controversy is confined to Toronto, documenting interactions with community members, also known as a "street check," is common practice for major police forces across Canada. Rules guiding that process, however, are vague or non-existent in most cases.

A Globe and Mail analysis found the practice lacks a mandated set of procedures after 21 Canadian police forces answered questions about interacting with community members in their respective jurisdictions. Most spoke willingly with The Globe, but some, including Winnipeg and Calgary, refused to respond to questions on the matter.

The practice typically involves an officer stopping a community member, questioning them and entering information into a computer database.

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