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Introduction to Policing in Canada: Chapter 12.doc

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University of Guelph
SOC 3750
Michelle Dumas

Chapter 12- Introduction to Policing In Canada Policing aboriginal peoples Introduction: - Most important issues for Canadian policing in the 21 century will be aboriginal self – determination in the delivery of police service - This is a multidimensional topic concerning the organization and delivery of police services by federal, provincial and municipal police agencies and incorporating issues relating to self government and self determination. Demographics: According to 1986 census, 711,120 individuals reported some aboriginal ancestry representing 3.6% of canadas total population which consists for 4 groups: 1. Status Indians – aboriginal ppl who are registered under the indian act of 1876 and who comprise 59.9% of the aboriginal population. 2. Non status Indians- aboriginal people who identify themselves as aboriginal but who are not registered under the act; they comprise 15.3% of the native population 3. Metis – people of mixed angelo-european and aboriginal descent who make up 20% of the aboriginal population 4. Inuit (eskimo) – represent a distinct cultural group residing in the northwest terriroties, Labrador and northern quebec and comprise 5.2% of the aboriginal population. Aboriginal communities demonstrate considerable diversity in culture, religion, customs and language as well as socio-economic and political development While approximately two thirds of status Indians reside in rural isolated areas on 2,200 reserves organized into 604 bands, most metis and non status Indians reside in semi urban and rural areas. When policing aboriginals homogeneity cannot be presumed as first nations people live in both remote, sparsely populated reserves and major population centres such as Toronto, montreal and vancover When describing policing arrangements for aboriginals, two situations are apparent : 1. policing off reserves o 10 urban centres have native populations of over 5,000 o Mostly non status Indians and metis live here o In Saskatchewan 50% of all aboriginal people live in cities and towns with over 35,000 residing in regina alone o Issues of policing are linked to the wider issue of multiculturalism, recognized by some to be the greatest challenge currently facing police organizations and to the problem of policing non white populations o Initiatives like  recruitment of ethnic minority police officers,  cross cultural race relations training for officers  development of community policing policies (consultative groups) aimed at minority communities  THESE ALL show ways police have attempted to be responsive to needs of minority groups and aboriginals. 2. policing on reserves o takes many different forms o 1990 there were approx. 700 aboriginal officers employed in policing or para-policing reserves, representing a ratio of 1:370 persons o Issue of policing reserves has promoted considerable discussion during the recent past o Use of non native RCMP officers to administer the law on reserves and the creation of native police forces to patrol reserves have been two big issues Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system Three concerns have been recognized in the administration of policing for aboriginals 1. Over representation of aboriginal people within the criminal justice system o Federal, provincial and independent commissions and reports have examined the relationship between the police and aboriginal people and illustrated it as strained, leading to conflict and high rates of arrest. o Research shown that aboriginal people have unfavourable attitudes toward police- whom they blame for their over-representation in the system. o Aboriginal accused offenders comprise the single largest minority group being processed through the system o Despite representing only 3.6% of the national population, they comprise 12% of inmates in federal correctional institutions o Research from alberta found: 78% of Indian men and 35% of Indian women in the province had a record of arrest. 2. Equity of treatment – the extent to which natives are treated fairly and justly o The over-representation in the CJS led to accusations that they have been over-policed and mis-policed o Criticism has been directed at the RCMP, provincial and municipal forces. o This over-represenation may be more a function of low socio- economic status than race o Research shows socially and economically marginal groups in society use the services provided by the police more than others 3. Equality of service – access to policing services that meet acceptable norms and standards o This low socio-economic status, as well as the many social problems they face (poor living conditions, unemployment, alcoholism, abuse, suicide) has been attributed to the legacy of colonialism o Jobson 1993 – first nations people have over the last 2 hundred years been deprived of their lands, subjected to the breakup of their family structures, had their culture suppressed and their spiritual traditions outlawed. It has only been in the last thirty years that the effects of colonialization have begun to be dealt with. o SLOWLY being addressed in policing Western policing philosophers vs. traditional aboriginal policing philosophies - contasts exist between the philosophies of crime and crime control in western and aboriginal communities with ethnological accounts illustrating important differences in the way the police and policing have been conceptualized by natives and non-natives. - Organization and administration of conventional police services in Canadian society is characterized by an urban criminal justice system model, designed to prosecute, punish and deter offenders o Such as police agencies which operate within a crime control, adversarial environment developed from the anglo-european model in which their aim is to deter, apprehend and charge offenders - Police are organized hierarchically as a paramilitary bureaucracy; their stress is on crime fighting and law enforcement - Aboriginal communities tend to reside in remote, rural areas and are structured in ways that responses to crime and deviance have traditionally taken the form of reciprocal constraints derived from a variety of social relationships existing within the community and shaped by that community - Culture of aboriginal ppl focuses on responsibility, rather than individual rights - Unlike dominant western urban crime model “the outlook is communitarian and holistic ; the process not hierarchical and adversarial but consensual and problem solving. Healing and reparation are favoured outcomes - Peacekeeping viewed as appropriate means to resolve conflicts and this peacekeeping takes place through informal community resources, often involving councils and elders - Purpose of a justice system in aboriginal societies is to o Restore harmony within the community o Reconcile the accused with the slighted party and his/her own conscience - Role of police officer is diminished in a social system that relies on community constraints and social arrangements to administer social control. - In native communities there is the belief that individuals will not turn to crime and deviance as they are regulated by conscience and their commitment to their community; they do not need to be controlled by an external force. - Colonalization process and the diverse nature of the aboriginal communities in Canada has meant that both the anglo-european-based and aboriginal based criminal justice processes have been subject to changing environmental demands and pressures o For natives these changes were most profoundly articulated when the federal government recognized their inherent right to self government o This development grants them authority to independtly implement institutions of government, including policing for their communities Skoog 1992 aboriginal community can rightly be expected to see autonomous policing as central to the entire self government issue - Policing aboriginal communities is at the forefront of the policing agenda as the century draws to a close. To contextualize this, a brief historical review of aboriginal policing is required. Colonial history of aboriginal policing - The roots of aboriginal involvement in European policing traced back to the 1850s, when colonial administrators new to Canada found they needed to draw on local expertise to undertake their tasks - Canadian constitution of 1867 assigned responsibility for Indians and lands reserved for Indians to the federal government. Policing aboriginal people and their communities was deemed to be a federal responsibility despite the fact the administration of justice, including policing had been constitutionally assigned to provincial authorities. - Until the late 1960s aboriginal communities were policed by the federal police force, the RCMP - 1912 recommendations were made by senior RCMP members that native people should have their own police force to administer the provisions of the indian act o Recommendation was ignored in 1912 and again in 1950, when officers commanding Edmonton and lethbridge subdivision submitted a report to the commissioner of the RCMP, in response to a growing interest by chiefs and band councils in policing on reserves Policy developments - The 1960s described as “awakening time” for aboriginals - Band councils became increasingly vocal in wanting to manage their own affairs and demanded input into policy. - Assignment of non aboriginal RCMP members to the policing of reserves was unpopular with both the RCMP and native people , so in 1969 the department of Indian affairs published an elaborate band constable program recommending that band constables be recruited by band councils to administer band by laws - Band council police appointed by bands under section 81 of the Indian act which states that band councils can pass laws on matters like regulation of traffic, observation of law and order and the prevention of disorderly conduct and nuisances - Band constables employed by band themselves, still required provincial approval. - 1971 program expanded so that in addition to enforcing band by laws, band constables were able to supplement the senior police forces at a local level, but could not supplant them - 1974 task force report on policing in Ontario argued provincial jurisdiction ought to prevail on reserves for criminal law excluding federal statute. o Resulted in RCMP withdrawing its provision of provincial and municipal police services in Ontario and quebec o Policing services assumed by the Ontario provincial police and quebec provincial police. o RCMP retained responsibility for policing aboriginal communities as an extension of federal contracts - 1970 saw publication of federal report commissioned by department of indian and native affairs, entitled task force on policing on reserves o Report recommended three options for aboriginal policing  Band council policing • Proposal contained 3 options for constables employed by band to enforce 3 different levels of law o Ranged from by law enforcement to enforcement of all federal and provincial laws and criminal and civil by laws  Municipal policing • Suggested that police services could be secured from an existing adjacent municipality or from the municipality in which the reserve was located • The band could create its own police force if it undertook the necessary legal steps to become a municipality  Provinci
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