Fines, demerit points and suspensions are a few things that await a person who has been ticketed by a police officer. However, police in Scarborough’s 42 division are trying a new way to use tickets: to reward instead of punish.
Positive ticketing recognizes good behaviour.
Officers can give out positive tickets when they notice someone doing something that they can say “thank you” for.
Constable Patricia Hung, project manager for the new initiative, says there are levels of rewards.
“The first level, the tickets comes with a coupon for McDonald’s, Mac’s Convenience, and Pizza Pizza,” Hung said. “If it goes above and beyond, then they have options to pick a level two, which is up to the officer’s discretion, and they can get a gift card from a local sponsor which values around $20.”
One of our biggest concerns was that it would be a hard sell to officers because it kind of goes against the grain of policing
— Inspector Dave Saunders
Inspector Dave Saunders gets credit for the unique idea of positive tickets, which has been adopted in other countries on a smaller scale.
During six months of planning and developing the program, approximately 20 positive tickets were handed out as a pilot to see how officers would respond.
“One of our biggest concerns was that it would be a hard sell to officers because it kind of goes against the grain of policing,” Hung said. “We are not used to having a tool to thank people with, so anything new you kind of have to work on it, but the response has been fantastic, way more than I expected.”
To me it builds a relationship between myself right now and the police
— Rajiv Singh
Hung explained they want to see as many good deeds as possible, but these tickets are not going to be given out frivolously so they can remain meaningful.
Rajiv Singh received a positive ticket after helping an officer identify a missing man.
He believes this new initiative will not only encourage people to do good deeds, but also help connect the community to the police of the 42 division.
“To me it builds a relationship between myself right now and the police, it is a totally different relationship from before,” Singh said. “You know you are always scared of police when they tell you this is not right, that is not right, but you have a positive attitude towards everything and I think it is s good idea.”
So next time a police officer approaches you, it may not be for a bad reason, but perhaps to recognize you for something good you have done.