Experts have recommended that ACT police officers record more data when stopping people, including their perceived ethnicity, in an effort to curb racial profiling.
Their call coincides with University of Canberra student Naresh Danthanarayana's research on racial profiling in Canberra, which he began after he felt police discriminated against him earlier this year.
The fifth-year law student is working on an honours thesis looking to construct a framework to help ACT police avoid racial profiling.
"We haven't really done anything here in Canberra to know if police officers are racially profiling people or not," he said.
"I think that has a lot to do with the fact racial profiling isn't really defined in the ACT. That's why a lot of it wouldn't really be reported in the ACT."
ACT Policing said they do not conduct racial profiling. A spokesperson said that where a person identifies as Indigenous, then different policies apply.
Legal Aid ACT deputy chief executive Louise Taylor said everyone involved in the justice system would benefit from reflecting on racial profiling.
"Legal Aid would support any targeted education for police to assist them to help unpack unconscious bias or the need to help deal with people based on an assessment of their behaviour rather than an assessment of their ethnicity or their race and any stereotypical assumptions that come with that," she said.
Do you know more? Contact email@example.com or use the Signal smartphone app to message 0437 464 126.
The Australian National University's Tamar Hopkins is the lead author of a recent report for the Police Accountability Project in Victoria, which recommended police record more data.
The report recommends that police, stopping a person, not only record why they stopped them but what ethnicity they thought them to be.
Ms Hopkins said Australian police were able to hide behind a lack of data and so weren't able to identify whether they had problems with racial stereotypes.
"[More data] means you can start to track the problem. It means police can't walk away saying, 'we don't do this," she said.
"This should apply in Canberra, this should apply across Australia."
Her report notes when a similar police practice was introduced in Britain, there was a huge reduction in suspicion-less stops.
"The data collection is a big part in showing the injustice so yes, the collection of data has allowed the change to occur there," she said.
Another upside, Ms Hopkins and Mr Danthanarayan said, was better trust and confidence in police by the community.
Mr Danthanarayana chose his honour thesis topic after what he says was a humiliating encounter with ACT police when his father picked him up one night in March.
"I'm half Sri Lankan and half Greek. I often get confused for looking Arabic or Muslim," he said.
Police told his father, who is Sri Lankan, he couldn't stop on the shared zone in Civic's Bunda Street before officers began yelling at the pair.
"When we asked for the officer's name and badge numbers they told us not to talk when [they] were talking, then they told us to shut up," he said.
ACT police are required to provide name and badge numbers when asked.
Mr Danthanarayana said one of the cops then said: "The only way you people will learn is when you get tickets."
"We felt scared and humiliated. We didn't really do anything wrong; they were targeting us," he said.