Friday, July 28, 2006

New Report on Private Policing in Canada

The Law Commission of Canada, a federal advisory body, just released a new report entitled In Search of Security: The Future of Policing in Canada that discusses the rise of private security and police forces in Canada.

"Canada — and, indeed, much of the world — is in the midst of a transformation in how policing services are delivered and understood. Today, it is more accurate to suggest that policing is carried out by a complex mix of public police and private security. In many cases these networks of policing are overlapping, complimentary and mutually supportive. This new era of pluralized policing raises questions concerning the existing legal and regulatory environment and whether it continues to be relevant. This Report provides an opportunity to reflect on these important issues."

The multi-year study found that private security guards vastly outnumber public police officers. In other words, private police forces increasingly constitute the face of policing in Canada and elsewhere. These private police guard and monitor office buildings, gated communities, and festivals, as well as huge shopping malls, those semi-private, semi-public spaces that are privately owned yet used on a daily basis by hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

On the reverse side, there is also increasing commodification of public policing as the regular police now often sell their services directly to the private sector (for example, providing security at professional sports events for payment).

The Law Commission study examines the legal and regulatory framework of this new, complex mix of private and public policing. In particular, it addresses the concerns regarding the extent to which actions of private security are authorized and constrained by law (or not).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:06 am

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