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CRIM 3655
James Sheptycki

CRIM 3655 – FALL BOOK NOTES th Readings for October 29 , 2013 Policing Multicultural States: Lessons from the Canadian Model - minority groups may be alienated from the police they perceive as enforcing unjust and discriminating policies or because of language and cultural barriers o these perceptions can undermine police work and prevent minority groups from receiving the police services they need - tense relation observed in different countries between police and minorities is a public policy dilemma where police debates its effectiveness against its legitimacy and its organisational structure and culture against the changes of a multicultural society that press for reform - Canada is unique in formally adopting a multicultural identity - Police reforms in Canada engage not only with neo-liberal cuts of spending and new modes of governance or with rationalisation of police services, but also reforms that aim to improve the police`s credibility and legitimacy among ethnic minorities - Black people believe that the police treats members of their racial group worse than they do white people - Widespread public belief that police engagae in racial profiling perceived a significant threat to the ability of police to maintain public order and ensure public safety – even with inconclusive proof of racial profiling - Dissatisfaction of minority groups and at times heir distrust of the police, and the overarching commitment to multiculturalism underscore initiatives for reform in police services in Canada Multiculturalism, Public Policy and Police Reform - Different perceptions of government, police, law, appropriate social order, justice, and different religious and cultural practices common to multicultural societies present major challenges for state institutions and policing - The escalation of violence in some cases indicates that the state and the police are ill prepared for the task. In other cases, it is the overreaction of the police, underscored by its prejudices, that result in tragic consequences that further erode relations between police and minorities - Tensions over security concerns, real or imagined, erode tolerance towards minorities which can lead to mutually reinforcing negative perceptions and outbursts of violence - Police are regarded as a bureaucratic organisation with paramilitary overtones characterised by a central command, hierarchy, complex division of labour, the impersonal enforcement of formal rules and the provision of rationally based services o Yet, police organisations function in a political context because they operate in a political arena and their mandate is defined politically - Police managers formulate goals and design organisations to meet the expectations and needs of elected politicians, employees, clients and other individual groups affected by police activities - The `broken windows` approach advocated a zero-tolerance strategy for disorderly behaviour – this brought back the police into some communities o This approach was detrimental to relations between policy and minority groups because minority groups were often defined as dangerous rather than disadvantaged o Suspicion will invariably fall disproportionately on minority citizens - The recognition that the police must pay attention to the multicultural reality included the broadening of police functions from maintaining order to engaging in conflict resolution about problem solving, and providing services and activities that strengthen the link between the police and communities o This approach examined history, culture and current needs of minority groups, along with mode of operation of police towards minority groups (cultural sensitivity and police racism) Engaging Multiculturalism - Police reform is part of a comprehensive process of post-conflict institution building - The problem of police-minority relations can be defined as under-policing and/or over-policing o Over-policing implies mistreatment of minorities by the police, either by excessive use of force towards minorities or by discriminatory practices against them that include excessive routine use of stop and search and disproportionate arrest rates  Embedded in cop culture that includes moral and political conservatism related to prejudiced attitude towards minorities – mentality of ‘us against them’  Negative attitudes towards minorities turn into self-fulfilling prophecies  Connection between social disadvantage and over-policing are strengthened by selective law enforcement stimulated by discriminatory police stereotyping o Under-policing is largely about police neglect of minorities and their needs  More common is absence of police in minority neighbourhoods regarded as ‘hopeless’ and attempts to contain crime within an area rather than make it a safe place for those who live in it  Domestic violence is characterised as cultural and ignored by police because they believe that such crimes are normative in these communities o Duality of over-policing and under-policing imply that in minority neighbourhoods, there is limited or a complete lack of police presence or the police engage in violent and aggressive attempts to control crime  Minority groups torn between fear of the police because of historic abuse and their desire for police protection from criminal elements that are disproportionately present in their communities - Recommendations for police reforms fall under 6 categories for multiculturalism: o 1) diversification of human resources o 2) cultural sensitivity training for police officers o 3) formal antiracism policies within the police o 4) review and revision of operational practices that may lead to systemic discrimination o 5) liaison between the police and minority communities o 6) inclusion of minority groups representatives within the membership of the police’s governing authorities - Recommendations can fall into 3 central areas that tackle central issue of over-policing and under-policing: o 1) patterns of recruitment and tra
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