WDW101Y1 Lecture Notes - Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Bow Street Runners, Toronto Police Service

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2 Feb 2013
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JAN, 14th 2013
WDW210 Lecture 2
The Structure and Role of the Police in Canadian Society
What is it that the police does (what is their function in society)? Do the police prevent
crime?
The Criminal Justice Funnel (2004 Canadian Data)
- Every 3 million criminal incidents become known to the police (2,822,427)
- Less than a quarter result to arrests (620,933)
- Of those arrests only half resulted to convictions (286,000)
- Only 12,000 of the convictions are sentenced to prison
- Most crimes go unpunished > this is why some argue that deterrence does not work
Percent of Reported Crimes Cleared by Arrest (2004 Canadian Data)
- Attempted murder 67
- Aggravated assault 66
- Homicide 59
- Sexual assault 41: reported to police
- Robbery 25: disguise and unknown identity of the offender
- Theft over 13
- Theft under 8
- Vehicle theft 6
*Despite the best efforts of the police, even if crimes are identified, the majorities are
unpunished
What is Policing?
Policing is the act of maintaining or reproducing social order.
- Maintaining law and order
- We are all doing policing in one way or another
- The police are most aware of crime through the eyes of the citizens
-
What are “the police”?
- The police are institutions and individuals given the right by the State to use
coercive force to maintain and reproduce social order
o Detain, arrest, use force against us and impede your freedom
The Role of the Police: The Functionalist Perspective (ideal world)
- There is a consensus within society regarding norms, values and laws. There is
widespread agreement over how to deal with issues of crime and punishment
- The criminal law is a reflection of this consensus
- The police are the authority within the criminal justice system. They enforce the law
professionally and impartially
- Every criminal event, every victim and every offender are treated equally
- Citizenship participation can change the legal outcome
- “the police are the people, the people are the police” reflects our goals, values and
objectives
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