Chatham-Kent Police Service Headquarters, July 23, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Women’s Crisis Centre ‘Encouraged’ By Police Policy Review

The Chatham-Kent Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre says it’s encouraged the police service is reviewing its bra-removal policy when women are taken into custody.

Police announced they would be taking a closer look at the system, after it came to light that a woman had to take off her bra for safety reasons before she could have a breathalyzer done at the detachment in March of 2015.

Executive Director Michelle Schryer says surely there is an opportunity for women to put their bras back on when having an administered breath sample done at police headquarters.

“Certainly, when a woman is having a breathalyzer test with a police officer, I do not think that she is likely to harm herself or others,” says Schryer, noting the purpose of the policy to protect needs to be weighed by its impact.

Schryer says while the policy has good intentions the impacts of going braless for a breath test will differ.

“No one can know what the experience of that person has been,” she says. “If sexual victimization has been part of that person’s experience, then something like being forced to remove her bra can have extremely negative impacts.”

Schryer says she’s “encouraged” police are considering amendments because removing your bra for a breathalyzer isn’t a natural consequence of drinking and driving.

“If she has had to remove her bra for safety of herself or others, I think that before something such as a breathalyzer test, there would be an opportunity for her to put her bra [back] on,” she says.

– With files from Matt Weverink.