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CRM 100 (52)
Chapter 6

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CRM 100
Anne- Marie Singh

CRM 100 Chapter 6 Issues in Canadian Policing - Police discretion o This involves police officers using their judgment in deciding when to intervene in a subject and when to avoid it o Important because the officer must determine right and wrong actions and the laws cannot handle the scope of all offences to the tiniest detail o Police consider three factors when applying discretion  Type of crime – more serious the more likely to intervene  Attitude of the offender – disrespectful citizens involved in crimes are more likely to be detained and slapped with a sentence  Departmental policies – limits on discretion can be applied ex. Zero tolerance policies (domestic violence) o Involves three elements  Whether to get involved or not  How to behave or interact with victim, witness etc.  Selecting one alternative to solve the problem o Invocation discretion – choosing to arrest an individual in a given situation o Non-invocation discretion – choosing to not arrest an individual even when they can  Issue because there is “low visibility” as it is not reviewed by superiors - Factors affecting police discretion o Situational variables  Seriousness of the crime – More serious more likely of an arrest  Strength of evidence – Higher strength of evidence more likely of an arrest i.e. a witness  Preference of the victim – If a victim or complainant wishes for an arrest it is more likely an arrest will be made and vice versa  Relationship between victim and suspect – Strangers are more likely to be arrested than family members  Demeanour of suspect – Disrespectful suspects are more likely to be arrested  Characteristics of neighbourhood – low-income neighborhoods have higher incarceration rates o Community variables  It is presumed in low-income and working class neighbourhoods, violent crimes are more likely to occur and a fear for safety is taken into condsideration  Thus goes for smaller crimes – will disregard small crimes in high- crime areas because they are focused on safety and serious crimes  Wants of neighbourhoods can also affect how police officers handle patrolling and crime in that neighbourhood o Extralegal factors  Most controversial: taking in factors such as race, class and gender when making arrests  Race  Blacks are overrepresented in all categories except drug possession  Aboriginals are arrested for more minor offences  White people are arrested for more indictable or serious offences  Sexual assault  Over half of sexual assault charges were terminated – high amounts of discretion because: o No assault occurred o Problems for the complainant  Sexual orientation  Offenders against gay or homosexuals were given more lenient charges  Social class  Poor and minorities were arrested more when property crimes were committed  Surveys are deemed inaccurate however as they do not cover all areas and have enough evidence - Police culture o The culture of the police is a factor to the issues of police discretion  Members of the police share common values  Values include:  Police are the only real crime fighters  No-one else understands the true nature of police work  Loyalty to colleagues is above everything else  It is impossible to win the war against crime without bending the rules  Members of the public are unsupportive and unreasonably demanding  Patrol work is the pits o **Subculture is a major reason why police resist ideas like community policing**  Problems  Resistance to police accountability  Used to support violation of legal rights of citizens and misuse of police authority  “Blue curtain” – a secrecy and general mistrust of the outside world  Two environments  Police vs. Citizens t
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