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Police and Government Relations

Police and Government Relations: Who's Calling the Shots?

Margaret E. Beare
Tonita Murray
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 464
  • Book Info
    Police and Government Relations
    Book Description:

    Police and Government Relationsexplores the question of police governance and independence from a number of different points of view.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8469-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Sidney B. Linden

    Dudley George was shot and killed by a member of the Ontario Provincial Police at Ipperwash Provincial Park on 6 September 1995. The Ipperwash Inquiry was established by the Government of Ontario on 12 November 2003, under thePublic Inquiries Act. The order-in-council establishing the inquiry gave me a two-part mandate. The first part gave me the authority to independently investigate and report upon the circumstances surrounding Mr George’s death. The second part authorized me to make recommendations directed to the avoidance of violence in similar circumstances. An important issue in both parts of my mandate has been police and...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    Police and Government Relations: Who’s Calling the Shotsis concerned with the broad question of control of the police and our understanding of both the independence of the police and their accountability for their actions. The book is the product of an academic symposium held at Osgoode Hall Law School and funded by the Ipperwash Inquiry.

    The inquiry was established to inquire into and report on events surrounding the death of Dudley George in 1995.¹ Mr George was shot by a police officer during a First Nations protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park, Ontario, and later died. His death was generally...

  7. 1 The Overview: Four Models of Police-Government Relations
    (pp. 16-95)

    The contested issue of whether and to what extent the police are independent from the government can pop up at any time. When it does, it will often raise the temperature of the debate, but the result can often be more heat than light. One need not look far back in time to find examples of controversies in Canada concerning the relationship between the police and the government. They include the conclusion of Justice Hughes in the 2001 APEC report that there had been ‘improper federal government involvement’ in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) security operation and that the...

  8. 2 The Oversight of Executive-Police Relations in Canada: The Constitution, the Courts, Administrative Processes, and Democratic Governance
    (pp. 96-146)

    This chapter will consider the issue of police-executive relations principally from the executive perspective, and will critically examine two central questions. First, what are the mechanisms which constrain and define executive accountability and police oversight in Canada? Second, can the need for the police to remain apolitical and autonomous be reconciled with mechanisms of governance and accountability? In seeking to address these competing demands I will sketch what I term an ‘apolitical and autonomous’ ideal type of executive-police relations. I suggest this model is best suited to the dynamics of policing in a constitutional democracy such as Canada, and has...

  9. 3 Police-Government Relations in the Context of State-Aboriginal Relations
    (pp. 147-182)

    The debate about the appropriate relationship between the police and the government on a liberal democracy centres on the tension between the value placed on an independently operating police force (which would be seen as an original source of action, responsible only to the law and good conscience for its actions) and the value in having police forces accountable to a representative governing body (which could set policy, and monitor – potentially even control – the actions of the police).

    The value of an independent police force is grounded in the freedom from unwarranted political interference such independence promises. This...

  10. 4 The Idea of the Political ‘Independence’ of the Police: International Interpretations and Experiences
    (pp. 183-256)

    The concept of ‘independence’ in governance has a number of dimensions, and it is important to identify these before considering how it has evolved in the context of policing in different jurisdictions. Essentially, ‘independence’ refers to autonomy in decision making, that is, freedom from control, direction, or undue influence by others. It may be considered as a feature of theinternal managementof an organization – as reflected, for instance, in the idea, which is sometimes floated, that a police constable is not subject to direction from superiors in deciding whether to arrest and charge someone¹ – or as a...

  11. 5 Accountability Mechanisms: Legal Sites of Executive-Police Relations – Core Principles in a Canadian Context
    (pp. 257-312)

    Few dispute the proposition that in a democratic society police must be bound by the rule of law, accountable to civilian authority and the ‘tool’ of no political master.¹ That is so regardless of whether the principle is interpreted to argue for close civilian supervision, leaving only a narrow sphere of independence for police action, or for leaving residual discretion in the hands of the police, thus supporting their independence and circumscribing the scope of civilian supervision and review.² The choice is influenced by a number of factors, including political ideology, and is examined here in light of a number...

  12. 6 Steeped in Politics: The Ongoing History of Politics in Policing
    (pp. 313-380)

    This chapter draws from the historical record, recent trends, criminological theory, and interviews to examine the operational links (formal and informal) between policing and politics. The objective is thus to illustrate the complexity of the relationship between policing and politics and in the process to suggest how the truth of the relationship might be built into the formal policy, legislative, and accountability mechanisms.

    An understanding of the organizational workings of the police is essential to any attempt to reconcile the tensions between the dictates of police autonomy and the restraints imposed on the police. In addition to examining cases involving...

    (pp. 381-400)

    Transcripts from the public hearings of the Ipperwash Inquiry help to put police governance theories into perspective and suggest that a sociological rather than a legal filtre might be more helpful in finding resolution. All the witnesses questioned on their understanding of the separate roles of government and police had no difficulty in assigning policy responsibility to government and operational responsibility to police, suggesting that this is the prevailing doctrine in practice. But police governance problems occur when there is no common understanding of what ‘policy’ and ‘operations’ consist. The concepts are slippery and mean different things in different situations.¹...

  14. Appendix: Discussion Paper and Questions Used to Guide the Ipperwash Deliberations on Government-Police Relations
    (pp. 401-426)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 427-458)
  16. Index
    (pp. 459-480)