HALIFAX -- It's been more than a year since Toronto criminologist Dr. Scot Wortley found African Nova Scotians were six times more likely to be stopped and questioned by police in the Halifax area than white people.

This week, Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and the Nova Scotia RCMP both announced they were purging years of street check data.

HRP says they will no longer retain existing historical street check records in their current form beyond December 2020.

Instead, the force says it is retaining the data in de-identified form, which means that an individual could not be identified from the information that is left.

"It will be kept in this form for research purposes only, as per Dr. Wortley's recommendation. The specifics of this are still being finalized as we consult with the other stakeholders. It would not be appropriate for us to speak on behalf of the African Nova Scotian Community," said HRP Const. John MacLeod. 

The purging of street check data is something activist Kate MacDonald is concerned about.

"This information, if it's going to be destroyed in the end, I don't know why it wouldn't be released back to the folks who it was referring to or who it involved," she said.

The Nova Scotia RCMP are also purging their records.

Following recommendations in the Wortley report, RCMP say personal information related to RCMP street checks in the Halifax area will be purged in April 2021.

If an individual wants to obtain information that may have been recorded about them as part of a street check in HRM, they can file a Privacy Act request for personal information. RCMP say there is no cost for this, but requests must be filed by April 15, 2021.

RCMP say they use a different information system in the Halifax Regional Municipality than the rest of the province.

Data recorded as part of a street check outside of the Halifax area is automatically deleted from the system after two years. Anyone who wants to get access to information using that system may file a Privacy Act request at any time.

"Street checks have been a really important issue in our province," said Nova Scotia RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Jennifer Clarke. "It's important for people to understand what we're doing with their information and how they can get access to it, if they choose to do so."

MacDonald would like to see the data connected to street checks released and the process for that streamlined.

"If I have a file on myself, of street check surveillance or observation, I would love to see what is being said about me because right now, it's kind of this blind space where I don't really know how deep street checks went, like is there a file of me saying I was sitting on this step, on this day, with these people?" said MacDonald.

While police prepare to dump years' worth of data, the official opposition is renewing calls for the province to apologize to the African Nova Scotian community.

"The best time to say you're sorry is as soon as you realize it's time, so, that should have happened in this province a long time ago. I'm hopeful that the province will just make the apology," said Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston. "It's due to the community and we need to move forward."

When an apology may happen remains unclear. The premier says the justice minister is working on the file.             

"Anything that we can continue to do to improve and heal the relationship between law enforcement and African Nova Scotians is a good step but, there's a lot of work that we will continue to do to heal that divide and quite frankly heal the historic issues that have been faced by the community," said Stephen McNeil.