Proposer: Richard Dowsett"/>

HAT Forum
Saturday, Dec 5 2015
11:00am to 1pm
519 Church St. Room 304
Topic:"Policing in Canada"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

Stats Canada's annual Police Resources in Canada report (2014) highlights the statistical trends in policing and crime in Canada. Some of the most interesting facts:
Canada's level of Police staffing has varied just above and just below the 200 per 100000 of population mark since the mid-1970's
this level is amongst the lowest of the world's developed countries
crime level (incidents per 100000 of pop) and the severity of those crimes has dropped dramatically since a peak in the early '90's.
crime is at a 1970 level, half of what it was in the early '90's
Compared to a decade ago, police expenditures in constant dollars in Canada have increased by 37%.
1 in 10 officers in Canada currently qualify for retirement
Outside of the statistics, several reports have been compiled questioning apparent biases in police behaviour against people of colour and people with mental health disabilities. Of particular concern are:
fundamental levels of disrespect toward groups (racial, from a particular locality, age) thought to be of a criminal character while ironically demanding respect from these same groups
insidious effects of certain elements of police subculture including "us vs them", "war on crime", "war stories" and "contempt of cop" as a crime in itself
a system that is heavily biased toward an assumption of police innocence and a lack of accountability. In Ontario, even if an officer is suspended, that officer still earns full pay pending investigation
The questions:
In light of this information are there actions we would expect our government to take that they are not taking concerning changes to policing?
In what ways can police be made more accountable without making their position untenable?
In what ways should our traditional view of police and the police's view of themselves modernize to better serve Canada's needs?
What personal experiences have you had with police and how does this inform your views?