Apparently the Toronto Police Association had appealed the rule forcing police officers to wear name tags while working, and now has lost the appeal. The Toronto Police Association is the union that represents police officers working for the Toronto Police Services.
The union had argued that wearing name tags increased the chance that an officer would be harmed for their actions on the job. The problem for the union is that there’s no evidence that name tags make the situation worse for officers.
This is counter-intuitive. You would think that wearing a name tag would make an officer more vulnerable. And there have been cases of officers being assaulted or harassed while off-duty. The Winnipeg Police Service has reported many cases of this. But police in Winnipeg don’t wear name tags.
Statistics supplied by the Toronto Police Services indicate that attacks on officers increased from 1,116 to 1,729 per year between 2003 and 2007, which sounds like a considerable increase. But during the same time the population of the City of Toronto increased, and there’s been a series of cases which have caused citizens to loose trust in the police force.
And you have to wonder exactly how much affect last summer’s G8/G20 fiasco, where the only reason that more police weren’t charged was an inability to identify the officers involved affected the ruling.
The union has a fiduciary duty to protect it’s members. But it also has a fiduciary duty to protect the public, and I wonder if the union isn’t wandering over the line with it’s opposition to name tags.
Wednesday February 2, 2011