If Craig Can Have a List, So Can I (2018 Policing Research)
Every year for the past few years, I do an annual stock-taking of where we're at in terms of producing good quality policing research. And, like clockwork, I write a dirge slash exhortation about how much we suck and how we need to do better next year. This pronouncement of suckage is always provisional, meaning that not all of the 2018 papers are listed in the academic databases by December 2018, and therefore I generally have to wait a few more months before this pronouncement will be official.
Because this is such a depressing activity for me, this year I may have procrastinated a bit - by about 3 or 4 or maybe 5 months. You may (or may not) be happy to hear that I have now completed this task and am ready to present my findings. However, rather than give you some basic stats on the number of papers by topic, a breakdown of quantitative papers versus qualitative papers, or even ... god forbid ... an assessment of research quality, I am going to present everything I found in the published, peer-reviewed literature and let you be the judge of how well we did last year.
How will I do this? By providing the title and abstract information on each of the papers I found (minus some of the technical junk which I thoughtfully edited out for you. You're welcome!). Some of it's very interesting work on important issues ... and ... others ... you tell me. In no particular order:
The influence of job assignment on community engagement: bicycle patrol and community-oriented policing
Victoria A. Sytsma & Eric L. Piza
The purpose of this study is to compare a specialized community-oriented policing (COP) unit to a reactive unit on officer perceptions of public contact and officer perceptions of job performance. We also compare bicycle patrol officers to motor vehicle patrol officers within these units. Using a static group comparison design, questionnaires were distributed to officers within the Toronto Police Service (n = 178). Bicycle patrol is associated with more contacts with the public and higher rates of proactive policing when compared to motor vehicle patrol and bicycle officers are more likely to rate higher on several measures of crime control. Officers with a COP mandate engage with the public for a wider variety of reasons compared to those with a reactive mandate, and are more likely to rate higher on perceptions of performing job duties in a procedurally just manner. This study demonstrates the value of a specialized COP unit that includes bicycle patrol in achieving tenets of COP. It contributes to the literature on COP and the use of bicycle patrol in law enforcement by presenting the perspective of the police officer.
Quality over Quantity: Assessing the Impact of Frequent Public Interaction Compared to Problem-Solving Activities on Police Officer Job Satisfaction
Victoria A Sytsma & Eric L Piza
Research outside the field of policing has shown that job satisfaction predicts job performance. While policing research has demonstrated performing community-oriented policing (COP) activities generally improves police officer job satisfaction, the mechanism through which it occurs remains unclear. This study contributes to the community-policing literature through a survey of 178 police officers at the Toronto Police Service. The survey instrument measures the mechanism through which job satisfaction is impacted. Results indicate that primary response officers are more likely to be somewhat or very unsatisfied with their current job assignment compared with officers with a COP assignment—confirming what previous research has found. Further, those who interact with the public primarily for the purpose of engaging in problem-solving are more likely to be very satisfied with their current job assignment compared with those who do so primarily for the purpose of responding to calls for service. Engaging in problem-solving increases the odds of being very satisfied in one’s job assignment, and the combination of frequent contacts with the public and problem-solving is less important than problem-solving alone. The implications of the study findings for COP strategies are discussed.
Progress towards more culturally and gender-sensitive policing: Perceptions from a Canadian sample of police officers
Stephen B Perrott
In view of rapidly growing criticism of western police forces, the perceptions of 156 Canadian municipal officers were examined in this quantitative study to determine their views on the state of culturally- and gender-competent practice. Respondents also completed a measure of authoritarianism and three indices of empathy. Regression analyses showed female officers to be less positive in their appraisals than men, especially in how well female officers are treated. Authoritarianism emerged as the sole psychological predictor and then only on the racial equity variable. Discussion focuses on the extent to which findings can be considered in broader discussions of reform.
Occupational and Ergonomic Factors Associated With Low Back Pain Among Car-patrol Police Officers: Findings From the Quebec Serve and Protect Low Back Pain Study
Nabiha Benyamina Douma,MSc, Charles Côté, PhD, and Anaïs Lacasse, PhD
Objectives: Low back pain (LBP) is frequent and burdensome among police officers, but occupational and ergonomic factors associated with LBP and its chronic symptoms have never been studied among these workers using a biopsychosocial model. This study aimed at exploring such factors associated with acute or subacute LBP and chronic low back pain (CLBP) among car-patrol police officers. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional study was conducted among car-patrol officers working in the province of Quebec (Canada). Factors associated with acute or subacute LBP and CLBP (as opposed to absence of LBP) were studied. Results: A total of 2208 car-patrol officers composed the study population. Statistically significant occupational/ergonomic determinant for higher prevalence of acute or subacute LBP was more frequent discomfort in the lower back when sitting in the patrol car as a driver.
Change or be changed: Diagnosing the readiness to change in the Canadian police sector
Linda Duxbury, Craig Bennell, Michael Halinski and Steven Murphy
Concerns have emerged over the readiness of police agencies to adapt to change. Using a qualitative methodology we analysed the data from 103 interviews with key police and community stakeholders to identify the drivers and barriers to planned change. Examination of the resulting force field diagram revealed that: (1) community stakeholders feel the forces for change exceed the barriers, while police stakeholders perceive the reverse, (2) strong drivers of change are largely external to the police service, (3) key barriers to change were internal to the police service, and (4) police culture is a strong barrier to change. We end by offering suggestions on how this information can be used to manage change in this sector better.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fatigue Management Training to Improve Police Sleep Health and Wellness: A Pilot Study
Lois James, PhD, Charles H. Samuels, and Fiona Vincent
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention for improving sleep health in a sample of employees from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Methods: Using a pre- and post-design we exposed 61 RCMP members to a fatigue-management training program. [Using]pre- and postintervention surveys ... We found the training improved member satisfaction with sleep, and reduced symptoms of insomnia. Furthermore, the training reduced the incidence of headaches. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that a fatigue management training program resulted in positive sleep health benefits for police. We stress the importance of continued evaluation to inform the large-scale implementation of fatigue-management programs.
Reducing Lethal Force Errors by Modulating Police Physiology
Judith Pizarro Andersen, Paula Maria Di Nota, Brett Beston, Evelyn Carol Boychuk, Harri Gustafsberg, Steven Poplawski and Joseph Arpaia
Objectives: The aim of this study was to test an intervention modifying officer physiology to reduce lethal force errors and improve health. Methods: A longitudinal, within-subjects intervention study was conducted with urban front-line police officers (n=57). The physiological intervention applied an empirically validated method of enhancing parasympathetic engagement (ie, heart rate variability biofeedback) during stressful training that required lethal force decision-making. Results: Significant post-intervention reductions in lethal force errors, and in the extent and duration of autonomic arousal, were maintained across 12 months. Results at 18 months begin to return to pre-intervention levels. Conclusion: We provide objective evidence for a physiologically focused intervention in reducing errors in lethal force decision-making, improving health and safety for both police and the public. Results provide a timeline of skill retention, suggesting annual retraining to maintain health and safety gains.
Differential Effects of Gender on Canadian Police Officers’ Perceptions of Stalking
Heather A. Finnegan, Patti A. Timmons Fritz, Barry Horrobin
Stalking (also known as “criminal harassment” in Canada) is broadly defined as repeated contact with another individual that elicits fear. By manipulating the details of an actual stalking case, the present study examined the role of actor sex (man– woman [M-W], woman–man [W-M]) on perceptions of stalking in a sample of local police officers. Consistent with previous research, officers who read the M-W case anticipated more physical, emotional, psychological, and economic harm, as well as greater likelihood of a prison sentence by judges, than officers who read the W-M case. Actor sex did not influence officers’ perceptions of seriousness, likelihood of a jury conviction, or identification of criminal harassment. The findings may be used to develop intervention programs aimed at educating law enforcement, social support workers, and community agencies to ensure appropriate protection and treatment of individuals stalked by former partners.
Online Sexual Violence, Child Pornography or Something Else Entirely? Police Responses to Non-Consensual Intimate Image Sharing among Youth
Alexa Dodge and Dale C. Spencer
Due to child pornography laws, non-consensual intimate image sharing among youth is subjected to complex legal landscapes in a variety of jurisdictions such as Canada, the
United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.While a growing number of scholars have problematized the use of child pornography charges to respond to these cases, there remains little understanding regarding how the police that enforce these laws conceptualize this issue and how this influences responses to these cases. Drawing from interviews with members of sex crime–related units in police service organizations from across Canada, this article examines how police conceptions of nonconsensual intimate image sharing among youth correspond with and/or diverge from legal and critical understandings of this issue. While it is widely understood that online and digitally enabled forms of sexual violence pose unique challenges for police, our research fills a gap in the literature by examining how police themselves understand and respond to these challenges.
“Risk It Out, Risk It Out”: Occupational and Organizational Stresses in Rural Policing
In rural areas, police experience unique work-related health and safety risks attributable to a multitude of factors, ranging from inaccessible backup to navigating inclement weather alongside geographic obstacles. Although the result of institutional and organizational structures, operational (job content) and organizational (job context) risk must be recontextualized in the rural context. In the current study, I contextualize understandings of risk, referring to a lack of safety shaped by either a physical, administrative, legal, or emotional feeling of vulnerability—or a combination of such—for rural officers that results from occupational experiences of understaffing and insufficient material resources. Drawing on transcripts from 14 focus groups with 49 officers across rank, I extrapolate the effects of understaffing on officer experiences of work-role overload and the resulting stress. Findings reveal how officers’ perceptions of risk are impacted by such factors, and how risk is interpreted as either preventable (i.e., organizational) or unavoidable (i.e., operational). In this context, risk knowledges of occupational realities shape the occupational role and
well-being of officers working in rural and remote detachments. Preliminary policy implications are presented.
Relationships, Training, and Formal Agreements Between Needle and Syringe Programs and Police
Carol Strike and Tara Marie Watson
Needle and syringe programs (NSPs) are key public health and HIV prevention programs. We sought to compare over time the quality of relationships between NSPs and police, and implementation of best practices. We conducted cross-sectional surveys in 2008 (n = 32) and 2015 (n = 28) with NSP managers in Ontario, Canada. Participants were recruited via e-mail to complete an online survey. Over the period studied, self-reported quality of NSP–police relationships did not change—roughly two thirds of NSP managers reported a positive/mostly positive relationship. In 2015, higher proportions of programs offered training to police about the following: the purpose and goals of NSPs (48% vs. 41% in 2008), NSP effectiveness (55% vs. 34%), the health and social concerns of people who use drugs (52% vs. 40%), and needlestick injury prevention (44% vs. 31%). Few managers reported formal conflict resolution procedures with the police (22% in 2015, 9% in 2008). Our findings show that NSP–police relationships did not deteriorate during a time when such programs fell into disfavor with the federal government. More research is needed to understand if and when formal versus informal agreements with police serve the needs of NSPs.
The Victim–Offender Relationship and Police Charging Decisions for Juvenile Delinquents: How Does Social Distance Moderate the Impact of Legal and Extralegal Factors?
Heather Rollwagen and Joanna C. Jacob
While research has established how victim–offender relationship (social distance) relates to police decision-making, comparatively little research has examined this relationship among juvenile delinquents. This article examines how the social relationship between victim and offender has a main and moderating relationship with police charging decisions among juvenile delinquents in Canada. Incidents recorded using the Uniform Crime Reporting Incident-Based Survey (N = 130,090) are modeled using logistic regression to predict the odds of police laying a charge. Independent variables include nature of the victim–offender relationship as well as demographic, geographic, and offense-specific variables. Main effects models show that incidents involving current intimate partners are most likely to result in arrest, followed by incidents involving strangers. Importantly, stratified models suggest that social distance conditions how other legal and extralegal factors relate to police arrest decisions. Similar to the adult offending population, victim–offender relationship shapes the way criminal incidents are officially addressed in complex ways.
To Serve and to Tweet: An Examination of Police-Related Twitter Activity in Toronto
Daniel Kudla and Patrick Parnaby
Police departments across North America and Europe are using Twitter for many different reasons, one of the most important being public relations (i.e., image work). This article examines the relationship between Twitter use, police image work, and public engagement in the Canadian context. On the basis of 8,174 police-related tweets sent by the Toronto
Police Service (TPS) and citizens, we advance the argument that despite its dialogical potential, the TPS use Twitter first and foremost as a means to legitimize the organization and that the organizational precepts of police image appear to preclude meaningful forms of engagement with citizens via Twitter.
A Canadian replication of Telep and Lum’s (2014) examination of police officers’ receptivity to empirical research
Brittany Blaskovits, Craig Bennell, Laura Huey, Hina Kalyal, Thomas Walker & Shaela Javala
Research conducted in the United States (U.S.) suggests that many police professionals are unaware of, or resistant to, empirical research, and see little value in adopting evidence-based approaches for tackling policing issues. To determine whether similar views are held by Canadian police professionals, 598 police professionals (civilians and officers) from seven
police services across Canada were surveyed. The survey was designed by Lum and Telep. and was used to determine respondents’ knowledge of, and support for, evidence-based policing (EBP). Using their survey allowed us to compare our results to the data they collected in the U.S. Although Canadian respondents had similar concerns regarding EBP as those in the U.S., in several ways, Canadian police professionals were more open to the idea of EBP. The results are encouraging, but still suggest a lack of buy-in from some police professionals in certain regards. Potential reasons for the cross-national discrepancies, and the consequences of the findings, are discussed.
A longitudinal assessment of the road to mental readiness training among municipal police
R. Nicholas Carleton, Stephanie Korol, Julia E. Mason, Kadie Hozempa, Gregory S. Anderson, Nicholas A. Jones, Keith S. Dobson, Andrew Szeto & Suzanne Bailey
Police agencies increasingly implement training programs to protect mental health. The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program was designed by the Canadian military to increase mental health resilience. A version of R2MR was adapted for municipal police by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). The current research was designed to assess the R2MR program, as adapted and delivered by the MHCC, in a municipal police sample. Participants were 147 Canadian police agency employees (57% women) who received a single R2MR training session. Participants completed preand post-training self-report questionnaires, and follow-ups at 6 and 12 months. The questionnaires assessed mental health symptoms, work engagement, resiliency, mental health knowledge, and stigma. Multilevel modeling analyses assessed for within-participant changes over time. The results were consistent with other single session interventions; specifically, there were no significant changes in mental health symptoms, resilience, or work engagement. There were small, but significant reductions in stigma at post-training that may facilitate help-seeking among police; relatedly, in openended response fields, participants commonly described the training as helpful for changing attitudes and improving communication. More engagement with the material may produce larger, sustained gains, but more published research is critically needed.
Surveillance of cancer risks for firefighters, police, and armed forces among men in a Canadian census cohort
M. Anne Harris, Tracy L. Kirkham, Jill S. MacLeod, Michael Tjepkema, Paul A. Peters & Paul A. Demers
Firefighters, police, and armed services may be exposed to hazards such as combustion by-products and shift work. Methods: The CanCHEC cohort linked 1991 census data to the Canadian cancer registry for follow up. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to estimate risks for firefighter, police, or armed forces compared to workers in other occupations. Results: The cohort of 1 108 410 men included 4535 firefighters, 10 055 police, and 9165 armed forces. For firefighters, elevated risks were noted for Hodgkin's lymphoma, melanoma, and prostate cancer. Police had elevated risks for melanoma and prostate cancer. No significant associations were found for armed forces workers. Conclusions: Canadian firefighters, police, and armed services, may be at an increased risk of developing certain cancers. Results suggested that a healthy worker effect may influence risk estimates.
Assessing what police officers do “on the job”: toward a “public values” approach
Tullio Caputo, Michael Louis McIntyre, Lucy Meng Yi Wang, and Tarah K. Hodgkinson
The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a test in a policing context of a performance assessment tool that is based on a “public values” approach. The Capability, Importance, and Value (CIV) Tool allows police organizations to examine the roles their members carry out to determine whether they are being capably done, are important, and deliver value to stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach – Five focus groups were conducted with front line officers from a large Canadian police service. The focus group process incorporated elements of Appreciative Inquiry and Structured Brainstorming. Findings – Valuable information can be collected from front line police officers with the CIV Tool. Police organizations could use this information to improve performance while ensuring that the roles undertaken by their members align with broader organizational goals and objectives including providing value to stakeholders. Research limitations/implications – This study was designed as a limited test of the CIV Tool. More extensive testing is required with a larger sample that includes police investigators and members of other specialty units. Practical implications – The CIV Tool can serve to augment existing police performance measurement strategies. It can help to identify which roles contribute to achieving organizational goals and which do not. Based on this information, ameliorative action can be taken.
Informing Police Response to Intimate Partner Violence: Predictors of Perceived Usefulness of Risk Assessment Screening
Mary Ann Campbell, Carmen Gill3 & Dale Ballucci
Substantial research has demonstrated the value of using risk assessment tools for the prediction and management of violence risk, including for intimate partner violence (IPV). Such tools have been advocated for use by police officers, but little is known about police officers’ perceptions of using these tools to inform their decision-making. Using a sample of 159 Canadian police officers (73% male, M age =41.8 years), the current study examined police officer’s experiences with IPV risk tools, their attitudes about using such tools, and identified predictors of these attitudes using an online survey. Most of this sample had previously used an IPV risk tool, which was most commonly the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (64.1%). Most police officers rated use of risk tools as at least somewhat to extremely helpful (73.5%), and 67.4% indicated that they would use a risk tool with sufficient training on it. Analyses indicated that police officers’ perceived IPV risk tool usefulness was significantly predicted by older respondent age and greater perceived need for guidance in responding to IPV calls. In conclusion, most police officers view IPV risk screening as valuable for informing their responses to such calls for service and are likely to embrace such decision-aids with sufficient training on their potential impact for enhancing safety.
Will Rogers Is Jenksing Police Response Times
Because police jurisdictions typically rely on different call classification schemes and handle a different mix of calls, it is difficult to compare multi-priority police response time distributions between two or more jurisdictions. For the same reasons, it can be challenging to compare response time trends over time, even within a given police jurisdiction. Hypothetical examples illustrate the main analytical challenges. Then, a simple clustering approach, the Jenks natural breaks method, is demonstrated. This approach can be used to objectively compare police response time distributions. The resulting comparisons remain unaffected by differences or changes in call classification rules and cannot be easily manipulated or skewed, either intentionally or inadvertently. Although the discussion is framed within a police context, the proposed analytical approach has the potential to be useful for other emergency services and benchmarking settings.
Getting in People’s Faces: On the Symbiotic Relationship between the Media and Police Gang Units
Jason Gravel, Jennifer S. Wong, and Rylan Simpson
The current study explores the relationships among high-profile homicide incidents, media representations of gang homicides, and the establishment of specialized police task forces in British Columbia, Canada. The sample includes all articles on homicide published between 2004 and 2010 in a major daily newspaper (N = 2,873). We examine the attention given to
gang-related homicides compared to other homicides, explore the impact of high-profile shootings on trends in reporting, and discuss the timing of media reports in relation to the creation of specialized police forces. Results are discussed with respect to the symbiotic relationship between police organizations and the media
‘If it’s not worth doing half-assed, then it’s not worth doing at all’: Police views as to why new strategy implementation fails
Hina Kalyal, Laura Huey, Brittany Blaskovits & Craig Bennell
Strategy implementation is the most challenging aspect of strategic management. In the case of police organizations, failure to effectively carry out a strategy results in loss of organizational resources and employee commitment. The present study is an attempt to explore the reasons behind failure of new strategies by drawing upon qualitative survey responses from 353 police officers and civilian employees from seven agencies across Canada. The results reflect mostly negative sentiments towards strategy implementation efforts, with failure attributed to issues ranging from leadership incompetence to lack of organizational resources. These concerns must be taken into account by police leaders
in order to address challenges associated with strategy implementation in their organizations.
Co-responding police–mental health programmes: Service user experiences and outcomes in a large urban centre
Denise Lamanna, Gilla K. Shapiro, Maritt Kirst, Flora I. Matheson, Arash Nakhost and Vicky Stergiopoulos
As police officers are often the first responders to mental health crises, a number of approaches have emerged to support skilled police crisis responses. One such approach is the police–mental health co-responding team model, whereby mental health nurses and police officers jointly respond to mental health crises in the community. In the present mixed-method study, we evaluated outcomes of co-responding team interactions at a large Canadian urban centre by analysing administrative data for 2743 such interactions, and where comparison data were available, compared them to 16 226 police-only team responses. To understand service user experiences, we recruited 15 service users for in-depth qualitative interviews, and completed inductive thematic analysis. Co-responding team interactions had low rates of injury and arrest, and compared to police-only teams, co-responding teams had higher overall rates of escorts to hospital, but lower rates of involuntary escorts. Co-responding teams also spent less time on hospital handovers than police only teams. Service users valued responders with mental health knowledge and verbal de-escalation skills, as well as a compassionate, empowering, and non-criminalizing approach. Current findings suggest that co-responding teams could be a useful component of existing crisis-response systems.
Masculinity Contest Cultures in Policing Organizations and Recommendations for Training Interventions
Shannon L. Rawski & Angela L. Workman-Stark
In the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements, police conduct has been increasingly scrutinized by the public, especially the use of excessive force, fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, and sexual harassment scandals within policing organizations. Through a review of the policing literature and data collected in a Canadian policing organization, we highlight how masculinity contest culture is related to police misconduct. All four masculinity contest culture dimensions can be observed in policing including: (1) “show no weakness,” (2) “strength and stamina,” (3) “put work first,” and (4) “dog-eat-dog.” Masculinity contest
cultures lead to negative outcomes for both individual officers (e.g., harassment, discrimination, stress), policing organizations (e.g., lawsuits, turnover), and communities
(e.g., officers’ use of excessive force). Training interventions are often suggested to prevent or remedy the negative effects of masculinity contest cultures in policing organizations. However, a review of the training literature suggests that training interventions are unlikely to be effective in contexts where organizational norms are at odds with the training content. Our analysis of police data, along with the literature review, conclude with a paradox—the very organizations that need training interventions the most (e.g., policing organizations that often promote and tolerate sexual harassment) are the least likely to benefit from those interventions. To address this paradox, we invoke the theory of social interactionism and reconceptualize training as an organizational sensegiving mechanism.
New public management and the extension of police control: community safety and security networks in Canada
Carrie B. Sanders & Debra Langan
There are growing discussions regarding the need for collaborative responses for the provision of community safety, such that crime prevention efforts include the partnering of police with various community organisations and social services. In this article, we ethnographically examine one such development in Canada – community Situation Tables – to better understand the processes by which security networks are developed, implemented and governed. We argue that the managerial measures introduced to govern Situation Tables work as a technology of social control that redistributes responsibility for community safety and risk mitigation onto organisations and the clients they serve. Situation Tables, we argue, operate as if they are neutral entities. However, by looking at the mentalities, political and economic contexts of their development, implementation and governance identifies how they are influenced and shaped by traditional policing practices, which if not attended to carefully, can evade democratic accountability.
Police-sponsorship networks: benign ties or relations of private influence?
Alex Luscombe, Kevin Walby and Randy K. Lippert
This article examines relational ties between private sponsors and public police departments based on sponsorship of Canadian and international policing conferences and galas. Using network analysis and descriptive statistics, we investigate ties among 375 sponsors and 16 law enforcement conferences and galas held in 2015 in Canada, the US, and the UK. Of 16 police conferences and galas, 13 are connected via common sponsors. We discern trends in the industry sector, sub-sector, and country of sponsoring entities. In the discussion, we develop an agenda for future research and debate concerning the influence private sponsorship may have on the actions of police and civilian officials comprising four areas: gifts and ambiguous exchange, network embeddedness, analogical comparison, and trade secrecy.
Workplace violence among female sex workers who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada: does client-targeted policing increase safety?
Amy Prangnell, Kate Shannon, Ekaterina Nosova, Kora DeBeck, M-J. Milloy, Thomas Kerr, and Kanna Hayashi
Workplace violence, by clients or predators, poses serious negative health consequences for sex workers. In 2013, the Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada Police Department changed their guidelines with the goal of increasing safety for sex workers by focusing law enforcement on clients and third parties, but not sex workers. We sought to examine the trends and correlates of workplace violence among female sex workers (FSW) before and after the guideline change, using data collected from prospective cohorts of persons who use illicit drugs in Vancouver, Canada. Among 259 FSW, 21.0% reported workplace violence at least once during the study period between 2008 and 2014. There was no statistically significant change in rates of workplace violence after the guideline change. In our multivariable analysis, daily heroin use was independently associated with workplace violence. The 2013 policing guideline change did not appear to have resulted in decreased reports of workplace violence. Increased access to opioid agonist therapies may reduce workplace violence among drug-using FSW.
Re-examining the Relationship between Age and Confidence in the Police in Canada
Natasha S. Madon
When views of police across age groups are examined, it is commonly found that young people hold more negative views of police than their adult counterparts. The argument is thus made that views of police become more favourable with age and that the nature of this relationship is linear. The 2009 General Social Survey on Victimization is used to re-examine this relationship by observing the trajectory of perceptions of police from adolescence into adulthood. Calling into question the presumed linear relationship between age and attitudes towards the police, this study finds that the direction of the relationship between the two variables is contingent upon what portion of the population is examined. The findings of the regression analyses demonstrate that for those under 25, there is a negative relationship between age and confidence in police, while for those 20 and older, the relationship is positive. These findings highlight that those who are youngest are not the most negative towards police. Directions for future research are explored.
Police Encounters and Experiences among Youths and Adults Who Use Drugs: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings of a Cross-Sectional Study in Victoria, British Columbia
Alissa Greer, Justin Sorge, Kimberly Sharpe, Daniel Bear, Scott Macdonald
People who use drugs are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system in Canada; how they come to be in contact with this system is typically through encounters with police. Understanding the nature of encounters between people who use drugs and police is vital to developing interventions and policing practices that are appropriate, fair, and promote the well-being of this community. This study quantitatively and qualitatively examines police encounters from the perspectives of youths and adults who use drugs in Victoria, British Columbia. The results show divergent predictors of police encounters and perceptions of these encounters based on age cohort. Youths were more likely to report police encounters and were more likely to perceive these encounters as negative compared with the adult cohort. Among both age groups, unstable housing was a significant predictor of reporting a recent encounter with the police. Among adults only, opioid use was a significant predictor of negative encounters. The qualitative findings show that negative perceptions were largely due to police harassment, being labelled as a person who uses drugs, and interference with drug paraphernalia. These findings also show that mutual respect and relationships built over time contribute to more positive reports of encounters. There were also many reports of positive experiences despite legal interference. These results suggest that people who use drugs belong to a group that are labelled and discriminated against, but that relationship building between people who use drugs and police can have a positive impact. These results may inform local policing practices and cultures, which can promote the health and well-being of the community.
Qualitatively Unpacking Canadian Public Safety Personnel Experiences of Trauma and Their Well-Being
Rose Ricciardelli, R. Nicholas Carleton, Dianne Groll, Heidi Cramm
We thematically analysed responses volunteered by 828 of the nearly 9,000 public safety personnel (PSP) who participated in an online survey on occupational stress injuries and symptoms. Participants responded to an open-ended optional request for ‘‘additional feedback’’ located at the end of the survey. Salient response themes reveal that, across occupations and organizations, PSP report witnessing, enduring, and encountering extensive trauma, directly and vicariously, acutely and cumulatively. PSP reported effects of such trauma on themselves and their families as including physical (e.g., headaches, back pain, cardiac arrest, digestive symptoms), psychological (e.g., crying, feeling unhappy, living in fear, experiencing anxiety and anger), and social or interpersonal impacts (e.g., social exclusion, avoidance, cynicism towards others). The effects on their families included marital breakdown and relationship dissolution with children, as well as increased familial stress, strain, and anger. PSP also reported fatalistic attitudes; specifically, they felt that nothing would change, that they had no voice, and that both their employer and the different levels of government did not care about their well-being.
The Expansion and Normalization of Police Militarization in Canada
Brendan Roziere & Kevin Walby
Despite extensive analysis of police militarization in the United States (US), the case in Canada has been overlooked. Building on Kraska’s framework of police militarization indicators, this paper examines militarization within Canadian police forces between 2007 and 2016. Drawing from data on deployments disclosed under freedom of information law, our research shows deployment of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams have escalated in many major Canadian cities and are even higher in some cases than those reported by Kraska on militarization of US public police. We show how SWAT teams are increasingly used by public police for routine police activities such as warrant work, traffic enforcement, community policing, and even responding to mental health crises and domestic disturbances. We also analyze data on SWAT team growth, and benchmarking between police service SWAT units. We conclude by reflecting on the implications for public policing in Canada and avenues for future research on police militarization and police violence in Canada and other countries.
The Perceptions of Police-Black Civilian Deadly Encounters in North America among Black Immigrants in a Western Canadian City
Damilohun D. Ayoyo
This study investigates black immigrants’ perceptions of police-black civilian deadly encounters in North America. Twenty semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted among black immigrants in Edmonton, western Canada. The respondents perceived racism, police brutality, black criminality, gun violence and police perception of black people as ‘violent’ as the causal factors in deadly encounters. There was also the perception of criminal injustice and conspiracy among the agents of the criminal justice system (CJS) in the treatment of victims and suspects. This study suggests that personal and media experiences can influence how people de/re/construct deadly encounters and the treatment of victims and suspects by the CJS. Findings also reveal that when members of a racial (immigrant) minority perceive themselves as the target of a discriminatory CJS, they may adopt cautious and cooperative actions rather than aggressive or deviant behaviour to avoid criminalization and victimization. The study concludes that the perception of criminal injustice in police deadly violence against black (minority) civilians could influence: (i) where (black) immigrants locate themselves within the CJS in North America, and (ii) how (black) immigrants perceive and respond to the agents of the CJS, such as the police, when they encounter them.
“There’s More Than One Right Path to The Destination”: Does Degree Type Make a Difference in Police Recruiting?
Laura Huey, Hillary Peladeau & Hina Kalyal
Each year colleges and universities market criminology and criminal justice programs to potential applicants by suggesting these programs offer a uniquely tailored path for those seeking entry into a policing career. Despite such claims, little empirical research exists to suggest that degree content is a factor in influencing recruitment outcomes. In this paper, we present results from an ongoing, exploratory study into pre-recruitment education to show that program content—in this case, a criminology or criminal justice diploma or degree—has generally little influence on how police agencies evaluate a potential applicant. Drawing on interviews with thirty-two (n = 32) police recruiters and senior officers from police services across the province of Ontario in Canada, we show that, while many agencies prefer candidates with degrees, criminology and criminal justice degree holders are not privileged in the recruiting process over those applicants from other disciplines.