Archive for October, 2011

In the past few years there have been a number of cases involving the RCMP that have caused a bit of an uproar in the public. These cases have mainly involved RCMP officers assaulting or wrongfully arresting citizens. Some examples of these cases are the Camilla McGuire case, in which the victim 53 years old was struck in the face by an RCMP officer. Another case occurred in Alberta in which an RCMP officer assaulted a male (Eric Oullette) while in custody. Technology has made sure that some of these acts have been captured on camera and used as evidence to hold the RCMP accountable.

What is RCMP accountability? RCMP accountability can best be defined as the responsibility that the RCMP has in regards to their duty to protect. RCMP officers have the duty to ensure the safety of the citizens of Canada. RCMP officers are supposed to uphold numerous laws such as arrests, discrimination and many more. However when an officer does something wrong then whom do we hold accountable? Obviously the officer(s) who commits the act is one of the parties who should be responsible, but we can also include the RCMP as a whole as having some responsibility.

So when an RCMP officer commits a questionable act what can a citizen do to report that act? In order to file a complaint against an officer the citizen(s) can access some sort of complaint mechanism. An example of a complaint mechanism is provided by, which describes a review that can be conducted in order to see how well the RCMP are doing their job. Another complaint mechanism is the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, which is an agency responsible for receiving and investigating complaints made about the RCMP by members of the public. Another agency that deals with complaints is the SIRC (Security Intelligence Review Committee), which deals with reviewing the performance by CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) of its duties. In order to help citizens to gain more confidence in the RCMP it seems like a vital step to have an effective complaint mechanism available in case there are certain situations that are handled in a less then professional manner by the RCMP. By having more effective complaint mechanisms available to the public it will help reduce the amount of RCMP deviance and also promote more confidence in the RCMP.

After entering in RCMP accountability, overview and complaints mechanisms in the Bing search engine, the first page of results displayed 10 websites out of 19,000 overall findings. All 10 websites were fairly recent in the content that was present on the web pages. The oldest of the websites was modified in the year 2006. Wikipedia was only present when the term RCMP was searched individually from the rest of the title. There was also a lack of any multimedia and news media articles. All of the websites of the first page were government related websites and a couple of government reports ( These pages were fairly informative and had little to do with presentation and more to do with information, as each webpage consisted of 1-1/2 pages of information. One of the pages turned out to be a link to a PDF file (

The websites were somewhat limited in terms of the information they provide, there isn’t too much detail but enough to get the general information. For the most part one would say that the construction of knowledge and meaning on RCMP accountability and complaints mechanisms is mainly done so by governments. This isn’t a major surprise since all of the websites are government websites (example

When we think about an example police deviance and accountability, there is nothing like the RCMP and Security and McDonald Commission example. During that time the intelligence branch of the RCMP, known for the time as the security service, had a history of covert operations of political nature and questionable legality. What happened in 1970? The October crisis happened. The October crisis was a campaign of ‘dirty tricks’ targeting Quebec Sovereignstist groups. Many allegations for crimes committed by the RCMP security service included electronic surveillance, unauthorized mail opening, and breaking and entering.

Before all this began there was a reason why this was all taking place. The Quebec nationalist group  Front de libération du Québec (FLQ)  were responsible for the kidnapping of James Cross, the British trade commissioner in Montréal. They demanded the release of convicted and detained fellow FLQ members. Things were out of hand with many bombings all over Quebec and many other places.  The FLQ were responsible for multiple kidnappings of important people from different countries. Things were our of control so Prime Minister Trudeau introduced the Wars Measures Act to control the situation but gave the police the power to arrest anyone without a warrant. This is where many police officers took advantage of civilians going through there mails, entering houses without any consent. Many laws were broken during the October Crisis due to the fact the War Measurements Act had taken place.

The RCMP allegedly had 400 break-ins without warrants,  497 persons had been arrested under the War Measures Act, of whom 435 had already been released. “The other 62 were charged of which 32 were accused of crimes of such seriousness that a Quebec Superior Court judge refused them bail”(Wikipedia, Link). This is where many might consider the abuse of power from the police was best shown. Many officers felt invincible seeing any members of the society under suspicious activity and put them in jail. After the crisis was over the federal Cabinet gave unclear instructions to the RCMP Security Service, permitting suspicious  acts which were later judged as illegal by the federal Inquiry into certain activities of the RCMP.

Exposures of wrongdoing by members led to the McDonald Commission, and to the transfer of security intelligence responsibilities to a new civilian organization called the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The McDonald Commission revealed that the FLQ was completely infiltrated by police agents.  The Commission’s report, released in 1981 with the exception of one volume which has never been released for “national security” reasons, found police agents were responsible for planning and sometimes carrying out terrorist activities within the FLQ. This is a sheer example of police corruption and police deviance that was going on by the police members. Even though  RCMP Commissioner William Higgitt and former Security Service Director General John Starnes testified that they knew member’s occasionally broke laws in performance of duties. RCMP officers also claimed that they had told their ministers of various activities, but Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and other ministers testified that they hadn’t received any information on any activities.(thecanadianencyclopedia, Link)

Even though after all the allegations made to the RCMP and many conspiracies, allegedly Flaked by members were forgotten as time passed on. They say you are doomed to repeat history if  you are not familiar with it.  As time progressed the RCMP resumed its intelligence role along side with CSIS, both now take part in high policing matters.

When I was searching for my topic, I typed in ‘October crisis’ in the Google search engine. The first results that came up were from Wikipedia, this source had a good and broad information about the October crisis. Other results that showed up on Google on the October crisis were mainly Quebec time lines, according to the Quebec government. They had listed different numbers of arrest made then the other sites; probably because there is an discretionary feeling that Quebec government had about the events that took place in 1970. Another key term I typed in was the ‘McDonald Commission’ and again the first search results were from Wikipedia. But this time it did not give sufficient amount of information on this key search. How ever the following results such as the Canadian encyclopedia, had good amount of information on the search.


Deviance and Accountability in Private Policing

According to Wikipedia, private policing is a particular model of law enforcement that is increasingly being used by non-governmental entities. These non-governmental entities may own as well as operate such private policing bodies. There are several types of private police; some are geared towards railroad security (such as the Canadian Pacific Railway Police) while some are geared towards corporate, commercial, retail, and property security (such as Intelligarde International and Intercon Security). Private policing actually predates the Industrialization Age. Watchmen, for example, essentially played  the role of police during the 16th century to about the 19th century in Great Britain. They were paid by wealthy individuals or organizations who hired them. The rise of private policing in Canada took place during the early-to-mid 1990’s (Statistics Canada) and currently private police personnel outnumber public police personnel by about 5 to 1. For starters, it is more convenient to employ a private police force because it is cheaper. It is also easier to become part of such a force as requirements and training are not as strict, intense or robust as those found in public police forces. Private police may not necessarily uphold the Law to the fullest in ways that the public police do but there is an expectation and they are subject to it nonetheless. The question is, how are misconduct and corruption addressed within private policing when they do arise? What measures are or ought to be taken to address such issues? Going into this topic I thought about what forms of deviance might occur within private police forces, and it turned out that I was on the right track – my Police Deviance and Accountability instructor Michael Larsen stated that both public and private police forces share many of the same forms of deviance. Again the notion of grass-eaters, meat-eaters and birds, to name a few concepts, come into play; all of which have roles in institutional failure within any police force. However, unlike public police forces, private police do not have a review or complaint board (independent of the force) established to handle issues of misconduct and/or corruption. As the semester progresses, I hope to find more information on how exactly accountability is handled by private police bodies. It will be a challenge to acquire more literature on the topic as it is only just beginning to be explored by policing scholars.

In terms of preliminary research on Deviance and Accountability in Private Policing things were, as expected, not as straightforward as one would hope. Plugging in the topic title into Google yielded (on the first page) about 10 to 11 book/scholarly sources of which I had to pay to have more access to. However, there was one link to a document on the private policing industry in South Africa that I found interesting, particularly the “Accountability of Private Security” section. Typing in “private policing” or “private police” yielded slightly more expanded results. Now the Wikipedia page on private police is visible on the first page, including 3 or 4 useful links.

The Wikipedia page displayed a vast amount of information on private police, though mostly in the American context. Its contents were: Definitions, Examples (from the U.S., South Africa and, surprisingly, Robocop), Relationship to Anarcho-Captilasim (i.e. free market society), History, and lastly, Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages.

The second link of interest titled “Private Policing” is a document written in 1996 by Dr. Christopher Reynolds. It talks about the state of affairs in Australian policing, particularly in private policing. Among other things, Dr. Reynolds discusses the changes in social and political factors as well as economics, all of which contribute to the demand for private policing strategies. Although his Accountability and Responsibility section applies primarily to Australian society, in my opinion it is still of critical importance to my blog topic.

The third link of interest is a document published by Statistics Canada titled “Private Security and Public Policing in Canada.” It talks about the differences in public versus private police organizations (i.e. age differences and male-to-female ratios within private and public police forces, number crunching, etc), otherwise it is pretty self-explanatory.

The fourth link of interest is a news article published by dated July 26, 2007. It talks about Canadian Pacific Railway Police personnel being scrutinized for making “false arrests and imprisonment, assault and battery, and unlawful interference with Charter Rights” of 6 CPR employees during a labour strike.

Finally, typing in “accountability private policing” yielded more results. One article that caught my attention was titled Public vs. Private Police: Which Would You Choose? (Dated May 7, 2010). In particular, the section I’m interested in is the Accountability section which talks briefly about some differences in the way public and private police handle accountability for their actions.

Since this is just the preliminary stage, I hope to expand my knowledge in this topic and share that knowledge as the semester progresses.


Globally, spanning countless jurisdictions, there has been public outcry concerning whether or not it is responsible to allow the continuation of police investigations into internal affairs. Police deviance and issues arising related to accountability of officers today, are relevant to society in general. It is the duty of the police to serve and protect the communities in which they are employed in, and therefore, it is of utmost importance that the police instill a sense of confidence within the citizens that they are trained and contracted to defend. Despite the civil promise officers agree to upon enrolling within said profession, a remarkable amount of deviance is present within forces around the nation. The issue that surfaces as a result of this deviance is the question of who will investigate the problem at hand. At present there is a Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC), who function as a federal organization sovereign of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and work towards developing intelligence that intends to repair significant concerns surrounding accountability of today’s police.  Furthermore, several provinces around the country have formed special task forces comprised of civilian investigators, police, and administrative staff called Serious Incident Response Teams who are assigned to investigate serious police related events such as deaths, sexual assaults, and critical injuries caused by or involving officers (Jackson). The CPC and Serious Incident Response Teams are a step in right direction, however, CPC is focused on larger scale, broader investigations of the RCMP as a whole, opposed to specific, personal incidents and SIRT teams exist only in three provinces (Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Ontario) currently. This indicates that for the most part, the RCMP and additional provincial police departments are in charge of investigating affairs of one another concerning deviance and serious incidents, which leads many to question the severity of this blatant conflict of interest.

According to Section 37 of the RCMP Act, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police operate in accordance to six core values: “integrity, honesty, professionalism, compassion, respect and accountability” (Section 37 RCMP Act) and although ethics and good moral standards are classified as highly regarded, it is definitely apparent that in many circumstances these values are thrown out the window. In such cases, and especially in cases involving death or assaults and injury, an outside police force is called upon to investigate the events that took place. Herein arises the conflict of interest. It would be unrealistic to assume that members of the same association could be expected to carry out a completely unbiased examination of other members, when the very organization they both belong to prides itself on stressing loyalty among colleagues. In order to protect one another, police investigating police rarely expose the real details of an incident to the public (Haubin). This method of cloaking potentially central facts pertaining to an investigation accounts for the unease public experience when members investigate members (The Mark Newsroom). The secrecy that goes hand in hand with loyalty of the organization creates widespread mistrust of police, as most feel that if the investigation was being handled properly, what would the need for such concealment be? Due to such silence about the operations involving police investigation, it is difficult for the public to be confident that the inquiries are being conducted thoroughly. This begs the question of whether such examinations are actually being treated as if they pose any real significance or whether insiders are simply turning the cheek to internal wrongdoings.  Until RCMP and other police forces are willing to open up cases to investigation by organizations independent of the police, there will continue to be a sentiment of mistrust and lack of confidence in the integrity and accountability of law enforcement.

Subsequent to a web audit for information concerning ‘police investigating police’, results from most of the links on the first page of Google were actually fairly relevant.  The first three pertain to the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. Another article discusses the formation of the Serious Incident Response Team in Nova Scotia. Further down the page, most of the articles produced by the search examine specific cases in the past in which police have been required to investigate themselves. Although the three first pages linked to the search were created by the Government of Canada and discuss the final findings of inquiries done by the CPC, they do not provide any negative feedback about the RCMP’s internal operations, which may lead readers to feel slightly disillusioned by the research, as it comes off as slightly in favor of the RCMP (possibly even biased). Most of the articles other than those involving the CPC were written in an opinionated manner by journalists, and lacked academic substance.


Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. “Police Investigating Police – Final Public Report.” Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. Government of Canada., Aug. 2009. Web. 28 September 2011.

Haubin. “It’s Wrong to Have Police Investigate Police Shootings.” The Montreal Gazette 26 July 2007. Web. 28 September 2011.

Jackson, David. “No More Cops Investigating Cops.” The Chronicle Herald [Halifax] 28 Sept. 2011.Web. 28 September 2011.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. “Ethics and Integrity in the RCMP.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Government of Canada., Nov. 2006. Web. 28 September 2011.

The Mark Newsroom. “Montreal Shooting: Police Investigating Police.” The Mark [Toronto] 9 June 2011. Web. 28 September 2011.

The 1997 APEC summit was known as the biggest and most-expensive private meeting in Canadian history. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) (Link) is a forum for 21 countries that want to advocate free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia Pacific area. APEC was created in 1989 responding to the expanding interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic allied groups like the European Union in other parts of the world. APEC works to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to make a sense of community and show interests among Asia-Pacific countries. Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, 54% of the world’s gross domestic product, and 44% of world trade.(Wikipedia, Link)

There was lots of tension in Vancouver that was being built at this time. Politicians from around the world were all meeting at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference. This meeting was held on the grounds of University of British Columbia, where many students were carrying protest signs, angry that the issue of human rights wasn’t on the APEC meeting. The RCMP was trying to clear the area but chaos arose.  The protesters tore down a fence and pepper spray was shot into the crowds. (CBC Achieve, Link)

Protesters and members of the UBC community alleged that they were targets of police harassment before and during the event. It was end of the year in 1997 the world media eyes were on Vancouver to cover the APEC summit. Basically all the news that was on headlines was not much to do with APEC but rather towards police response to the crowds and protesters. The least that could be said was that the police response was out of the ordinary and shocking. “A crowd of students was pepper-sprayed, along with a CBC cameraman. The dramatic video footage of the incident that appeared on the evening news”(Pue, 2000) and everyone saw. The use of pepper spray to attack non-violent protesters is unusual and brings the ministry of justice into disrepute. All over the web there is a picture of the “pepper spray sergeant” using a huge canister of pepper spray and going all-out on the non violent crowd.

Many law professors that wrote to Prime Minister Chrétien to report that a number of serious constitutional violations that had taken place on UBC campus during this ‘incident’. Later, an unapologetic Prime Minister Chrétien brushes away the pepper spray incident, saying “For me, pepper, I put it on my plate”.(Link) This really makes no sense especially when according to Peu: there was a protester held by police extremely long period of time for just displaying a sign that said “Free Speech”. Furthermore, this initiated many legal proceedings with this case and more. “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian government were named as defendants in these cases, and a public inquiry was launched. A central issue was whether the Prime Minister’s officials gave orders of a political nature to the police that resulted in law-abiding citizens being assaulted and arrested.”(Pue, 2000)

Peu goes on to say APEC raise serious questions about constitutional principle, the role of police in a democratic society, public accountability, and the effects of globalization on rights and politics. So how much power do the politicians really have?  Some of the authors, such as Gerald Morin, chair of the first RCMP Public Complaints Commission, and CBC journalist Terry Milewski, had a direct connection with the APEC situation that occurred. This was more than just a case of abuse of power and authority over a non-violent crowd by the use of pepper spray. There must have been some special orders and political influence given to the police.

When a Search was conducted on Google –“Vancouver 1997 APEC Summit”, the first page consisted of one link from Wikipedia and many news articles of the 1997 APEC Summit. However, the best information came from the UBC Achieves. The news articles from the search only talk about the pepper spray incident. On Wikipedia it is more formal in the sense that it talks about solely about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and does wonders for explaining what it is and its history, purpose and goals, criticism, and expansion. The UBC Achieves had information about everything. Surprisingly there was no government websites talking about the incident or the inquiry.



Peu, W. P. (2000). The apec affair In Pepper in Our Eyes Toronto: UTP Distribution.

Pecho, J. P. (2008). Apec inquiry collection (various collectors) . Retrieved from

Milewski, T. M. (Producer). (2005). Protest and pepper spray at apec conference. [Print Photo].

Retrieved from

Asia-pacific economic cooperation (2011). [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

The Toronto 2010 G-20 meeting was the fourth meeting of the G-20 heads of Government and took place from June 26 – 27 2010 in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Leaders of various countries including Canada, United States of America, Germany and the United Kingdom were a few of countries of participated in this historical event. This event was significant because some of the most powerful people and leaders were present at one time at the same location.

They were there to discuss progress of financial reform and related issues. The public order policing of the G20 event was the most expensive and largest security operation in Canadian history, costing approximately $1 Billion including security, infrastructure and hospitality. This event relates to police deviance because there were many issues raised about how the Toronto Police used their powers and allegations of abuse of powers.

The allegations revolved around several incidents, including police detention of crowds (including alleged black bloc protesters) unlawful demands for identification from protesters (related to a special law passed for the event) (Wikipedia, 2010 Toronto G-20 Summit).

There is a lot information about the Toronto G-20 on search engines such as Google. Most of the information regarding this topic is negative criticism about the costs and the police handling of the protestors. What makes information relevant to me would be if the information is from a good source and it is consistent and the information between multiple sources is fairly similar and not way off where neither sources are trustworthy. Information that is readily on the internet is mostly from media sites. Information like dates, arrests, costs and damage are discussed in the reports.

After typing my topic into Google, the first result that came up was from Wikipedia. The information on Wikipedia is a decent amount. I can’t confirm how reliable the source is but there is information there and broken down into many sub-sections. The other results on the first page are mostly high end media sites such as CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and CTV; Which I would consider reliable because they are really popular and the public would believe their information over other sources. Big time Canadian newspapers also had this event as front page news (Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun) having events like this in places such as the Globe and Mail makes it available in other places in the world and people in countries all over the world can see what is happening in our most of the time peaceful country.

While looking at the links that from the first page on, all the articles seem as if that they are more focused on the riots and the behavior of the Toronto Police then the actual event which is very significant. The G20 is one of the most prestigious events that any country could host or be a part of. To me that is interesting because there was more talk about the riots instead of this significant event that took place with some of the most powerful people on this planet. I hate to compare this event to a sports event but seems to me to be similar to the riots that took place in Vancouver this past June. The next day after the game, the talk wasn’t about the game or the score it was all about the riots; all major media outlets across the world were talking about the riots instead of the very popular event that was the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. I feel as if headlining news that involves violence and aggressive behavior is more popular to viewers than politics which isn’t really what people want to hear about but when someone is murdered or kidnapped it is more newsworthy and makes a great story.

In recent years, many media reports and public movements have criticized the practice of  police organizations investigating their own colleagues in cases of alleged misconducts or corruption. This topic is significant because it involves the police organization, the victims and public.

First of all a number of high-priority cases, throughout 2004 to 2007, caught the attention of Commission for Public Complaints against RCMP organization and they believed that these cases indicate the practices of police investigating police is inadequate and prone to bias. The cases were scattered across Canada which also proves that this matter is extremely significant and frequent. The notion of police force seriously investigating their own colleagues is often a deception. In reality, no police officer would want to investigate and challenge their fellow colleague’s decision of breaching the law when they should be supporting instead; thus lies the problem.

With numerous cases scattered across the country regarding alleged police misconduct, many individuals won’t have much confidence towards police force. This matter is important because without an organization watching over the police force for proper measures and actions, the public’s confidence can only decrease with the poor image the police are giving to the public in relation to their incompetence in keeping the streets and community safe. If the public don’t have confidence in the police force, the public may take matters into their own hand which may violate the law. To them, they may think that since the police force isn’t following the law, why should they do it too? As a result, many vigilantes may form and commit crimes.

With the police culture of supporting your police unit, no member would betray the culture and work against the unit. The consequences of working against the unit can vary from stigmatization, total isolation, or serious violence. According to the rule of silence in police culture, where police members will distort the truth for another member’s benefit, it is fairly difficult to perform a proper investigation of the incident by the same organization. Without a proper investigation, the families of the victim and the public won’t get a proper explanation as to why their loved ones were shot or injured by the ones who suppose to protect them.

Few provinces have started setting up a privatized organization, ran by people who are former officers that are familiar to the protocols yet not-related to the police organization, which deals with complaints and concerns regarding police misconduct or corruption. As a result, with this newly created organization, the practice of police investigating police will end. Better yet, the public may gain some confidence back knowing that police individuals can be held accountable for their actions and justice is served.

As I began my preliminary research about my topic on the Google search engine, about 64,700,000 results were listed within 0.09 seconds. In the beginning I was expecting for a Wikipedia result, as I looked at the first page of my result no Wikipedia site showed up but a government site and a few multimedia newspaper website appeared. The first three results on the first page were all from a government site ran by the organization called, Commission for Public Complaints against RCMP (CPC).

First CPC link took me to their site that gave me a general overview of each activity happening inside the CPC regarding RCMP investigations from year 2007 to 2009. The second link from the CPC website contained a few paragraphs that explain why the CPC organization was created in the first place.

The third CPC link directed me to a page where A Final Public Report was published by the Chair of CPC. As the beginning paragraph illustrates, the Chair of CPC launched a Chair initiated complaint and public interest investigation on November 2007 and the purpose of the investigation was to tackle the matter where unknown RCMP individuals were undergoing criminal investigations of their colleagues involving serious injury or death that took place in April 2002 and March 2007 (Commission for Public Complaints Against RCMP, 2009). The whole report discussed some categories that were reviewed in some case files and the kinds of model CPC recommended for RCMP member investigations.

Next link from the results is an article from from Nova Scotia and it illustrates that Nova Scotia will not allow cops investigating cops anymore (Jackson, 2011). Furthermore, with this new investigative unit called Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) it will soon begin investigating police individuals and their actions that lead to victims with serious injury or death and etc. The article also explains the new head members and what kind of member the SIRT will consist of in order to make the unit run perfectly.

The fifth link from my search result is from a site called, The site consisted of numerous paragraphs illustrating why police investigating police shootings is wrong. Throughout the reading of the paragraphs the author referred a case involving Khadija Bennis’s twin brother’s death, Mohamed Anas Bennis, whom was shot by a Montreal police officer in 2005. The author uses Bennis’s case to argue and question the procedures of investigating an alleged police individual’s misconduct and suggest the province to begin improving in order to avoid future incidents (The Gazette, 2007).

And lastly, my last link regarding police investigating police in Canada is from a website called, The article describes how two unrelated individual deaths in Montreal, Mario Hamel and Patrick Limoges; as well as the death of Mohamed Anas Bennis in 2005 and the death of teenager Fredy Villanueva in 2008, triggered this opportunity where Quebec shall begin creating a civilian investigative unit for cases that involve policing misconduct or corruption.

After going through these articles, I begin to think that most of the authors of these articles have done extensive research on cases involving police deviance. Reading through their articles, they seem to agree that police investigating police obviously don’t work well; and moreover, most suggest a separate investigative unit with no relation to the police organization itself be created to conduct an investigation with the alleged police individual who caused serious injury or death.