Policing: To Serve OR Protect???

Occasionally, I enjoy turning off the mmm-da-mmm-da music, and listening to CBC Radio, both for the news as well as some of its shows and programming.  Today, the program “Ideas” presented a very thought provoking broadcast entitled “Policing: To Serve Or Protect”.  As per the program, this was recorded back in May at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and is Part 1 of the program, with Part 2 of 2 to be aired soon.

You can find the podcast from the show here:  Policing: To Serve Or Protect?

I think this was a great programme for everything it discussed.  The issues discussed included traditional roles, Sir Robert Peel’s principles of policing, native issues, racism, police trust issues, community backlash, social ills, costs, body cams, police culture, Canada versus U.S. aspects, etc.

However, there were plenty of issues not discussed, and various other points and counter-points that were left off the table.  As well, the unfortunately typical usage of American terms relating to a Canadian show or subject was present too (for example, “misdemeanours and/or felonies” [U.S.] rather than “summary conviction and/or indictable offences” [Canadian]).

But the title of this programme alone spoke volumes. Not “Policing: To Serve And Protect”, as we’ve all known that classic saying, but “…To Serve Or Protect”.  That simple word change is indicative of the changing world of policing and of the changing  aspect of the world views of police.  And unfortunately, too much of the outside views on police are based on the dire straights within the U.S.; however as a few of the panelists agreed, its definitely not an apples-to-apples comparison across the border lines.

Give the program a listen.  Time well spent, in my opinion.

Cheers all.

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