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Chief Bill Blair attends a meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board in Toronto on Thursday March 19 2015. Chief Blair suspended carding in January, but board chair Alok Mukherjee said it’s hard to know how officers understand that directive.

Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

The Toronto Police Services Board has deferred a decision on allowing police to continue the practice of carding, or questioning people without detaining them. About 30 members of the public spoke out against the proposed policy at a special board meeting on Thursday.

The proposed carding policy is the result of mediated talks between the police force and the board. It would add new training and guidelines for officers and would roll back some restrictions that the board had imposed with its own, earlier policy, including requiring officers to issue receipts for every interaction.

Critics have long said that officers disproportionately question racial minorities. On Thursday, the civilian board that oversees the police asked the packed public meeting to be patient with efforts to smooth police relations with minorities.

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Before launching into debate, board chair Alok Mukherjee recounted speaking before the board himself in the 1980s and said the response today is "vastly different" than it was then.

"I want to say to them that this board understands … the significant negative impacts that racism has on people and their life chances in this city," he said. "I believe that the board is genuine when it says it's a work in progress."

Police Chief Bill Blair suspended carding in January, but Mr. Mukherjee said it's hard to know how officers understand that directive.

The policy will come up again on April 16, after Chief Blair provides more information on the kind of data that would be collected under the new rules.

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