Police deviance/ discretion
- Pathological crime: when the state/society involved has difficulty controlling
crime/criminal behavior (described by Emile Durkheim).
- Astudy conducted in Manchester, England by a criminologist showed that most
unhappiness with the police stemmed from the way in which police communicated with
- Police discretion and the constraints that impact police and the obstacles they encounter
• Police serves act of Ontario set out regulations
• Alot of public complaints about police are due to the fact that police are not good at
communicating. In England they have civility courses.
Police Services Act of Ontario
- Governs the police with statutes. They can be charged for subordination and neglect of
duty if they fail to comply with the provisions of the Ontario regulations, such as failure
- Corrupt practices
- Discredible conduct: Breach of practices are what police to when dealing with the public-
describable conduct, section 2
• An officer fails to treat or protect citizens equally because of discrimination
• Uses profane, insulting language or is otherwise uncivil to a member of the public
• They cannot be rude or insulting to another officer which they are working with.
James Q. Wilson
- He talks about the role of discretion in police work, and asks what are the major
determinants in discretion
1. Law enforcement – a violation of a law in which only guilt has to be assessed.
2. Order maintenance – involves a legal infraction usually in a situation where a dispute
has occurred and the conduct must be interpreted before the law can apply. The
officer usually functions as a report taker because the perpetrator is not known.
3. Police invoked response – the officer makes the decision on his own to lay a charge
or not lay a charge. This is also known as proactive policing. There is approximately
an opening of 60 seconds in which the police decide to charge an individual or not. 4. Citizen invoked response – a case in which the officer acts on a specific complaint by
a citizen. This is also known as reactive policing.
Police (ON EXAM)
- Police invoked law enforcement: maximum discretion. Police have the highest degree of
discretion in law enforcement and citizen invoked response b/c the police decide whether
to lay a charge
- Police invoked order maintenance: least discretion. Crown control, trying to maintain
order because standards of conduct have to be evaluated (because the officer is
responding to a situation where they have to make a determination and there are rules and
- Discretion also varies depending on who invokes the response: the police or the cit