WDW210 Lecture 2

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University of Toronto St. George
Woodsworth College Courses
Jim Davies

JAN, 14 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 JAN, 14 2013 The conflict perspective - The relationship between the state and society is characterized by conflict between difference social classes and interest groups - The system, including law and justice institutions, operates as a system of control of the powerless in favour of the powerful - The police are a key institution that operates within the context of social conflict. Their unofficial mandate is to enforce class-based laws and maintain the current social order - The practice of the police involves a great deal of discretion and bias What do the police officially? - Enforcing laws - Investigating crimes that become known - Providing evidence in court; assisting the prosecution - Traffic control, wedding/funeral control - Writing sentencing recommendations following arrests not just up to the arrests - N order to effectively fight crime I need to violate the rights of citizens “noble cause corruption” as long as it leads to a just and fair result - Search and rescue, engage in health crisis situations The Historical Roots of Canadian Policing - Roots in English common law traditions - Early policing controlled by local citizens (frankpledge system) - Constables and shire reeves (sheriffs’) - Statute of Westminster (1285) formalized the night-watch system in larger English towns and cities (the advent of “hue and cry” policing) o Every individual citizen of the time had to periodically serve as a night watch crew, and keep watch over the community until dawn o “Hue and cry”, raising the alarm, staying alert and waking up the rest of the community if something was up The Birth of Modern Policing - By the mid-1700s England still had no formal police force. The military was often used to quell unrest and criminal uprising - Henry Fielding established the Bow Street Runners (Thief takers, 1948) o Compensated if offenders were taken into the hands of police - Robert Peel and the London Metropolitan Police Act (1829) o Needed to be known professions to deal with the growing population Contemporary Policing in Canada - In 2005, 84,441 individuals were employed by police services across Canada (61,050 were swor
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