Public Policing of Toronto G20 2010 Part 2

Posted: November 12, 2011 by sharonbadyal2011 in Toronto G20 2010

Public Order of Policing the Toronto G20 2010  involved in mass of arrests, excessive use of force, accountability avoidance by police officials, intimidation of demonstrators, and arbitrary detention. The Toronto G20 2010 demonstration was  a protest against poverty, globalization,  capitalism, and other controversial issues that were widely discussed in the summit. Protesters were demonstrating their protests peacefully when persons alleged to be using  black bloc  tactics started to smash windows of certain businesses. Police cruisers were deliberately set on fire, and media corporation vehicles were damaged.  Excessive use of force was used in arresting demonstrators such as Adam Nobody. In addition, there were at least 1,000 arrests in this protest, which became the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. Moreover, a group of protesters were “kettled” over several hours by police officers.  Kettling is a tactic used by the police to control crowds. In addition, there were other tactics that were used from the police during the summit that were set during the preparatory stage.  For instance, the lack of comprehensibility surrounding the designation of the security perimeter as a “public work” led to confusion about the powers of search and seizure and wrongfulness uses of theses powers. In addition, the large number of police officers during the Toronto G20 2010 summit contributed to an aggressive relationship between police and protesters and led to a  situation of intimidation that stifled some freedom of expression.

The main issues that I found in public policing of Toronto G20 2010 were that in the past there has been low tolerance for misconduct from the police  and strong public support for use of force in the maintenance of high expectations of public society even at the expense of human rights. "During the hearings[these were hearings to show the  public that  constitutional rights were violated and that the government should be held accountable]  we heard shocking stories of police excesses at the G20 Summit,” said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. “In many cases, it seems as if these excesses,which included widespread violations of the Canadian Charter of Freedom and Rights were committed with complete impunity. It is completely unacceptable that the constitutional rights of Canadians were treated with such utter disregard. We can and must do better.”Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives citizens an opportunity for freedom of expression and right to a peaceful assembly. It also gives Canadian citizens free of arbitrary detention and unreasonable search and seizure. Our constitutional rights matter because without them, " even the most democratic society could all too easily fail prey to the abuses and excesses of a police state."A independent journalist who covered the G20 protests explained her experience when she tried to step in when a colleague was being arrested. The police ignored her press credentials and arrested her as well.  She was held for thirteen hours and released without charges. At the time of being detained, she was not informed of her rights, and endured discriminating remarks by arresting officers about gender and sexuality. The conditions of the detention center was overcrowded, extremely cold and food and water was inadequate.

The police have started to use what is called intelligent control which the police are constantly accepting different strategies and tactics to the political and social movements as well as to adapting knowledge and experience bases and this has merged in the latest development on intelligence. Public order policing is use of police authority and the ability to create legitimate equilibrium between governmental, societal, individual, and collective rights in masses of demonstrations. Its has been suggested that there is a increasingly armed potential for conflict which the police are ready to use. Police education and intelligence has been giving afforded countering methods which they are more proactive and pre-emptive. They use methods such as preemptive arrests that the police arrests citizens before a crime is actually committed. Researchers have found this in G8 protests in Britain and Canada.  In addition, they will use intelligence, negotiation, responsibilzation and liaison strategies where they experience or are forced or willingly to believe that the concerns of the public order event is unlikely to produce manageable results.

The resort to use of force by the police is moderated by the degree to when a rebellious group appears threatening to the government and the degree to which the government needs the support from the rebellious group. Rebellious crowd control tactics were also imported from abroad. For example, Kettling was used to control crowds by trapping people within police lines and arresting them for any cause. There are five different types of public order policing: Crisis – is disintegrative, distordered,  de-legitimated policing, highly coercive status maintenance, Disordered– under professionalized, under-representative, ineffective policing, Control – professional, knowledgeable, effective, representative but authoritarian policing, Service – professional and knowledgeable, effective in a context of integrative policing, and Hybrid – dual control strategies (information-coercion) policing  This model shows police practices and knowledge perceived to be integrative. The police are inspected according to liberal democracy values that are committed to the ideal and practice of an inclusive institution.

There are aspects of police culture and peer pressure founds in segments of the police subculture which has deterred some officers from speaking up in the investigation because of being ostracized by their fellow officers. Its called blue wall of silence. It is the rule of silence. It can be lying for one another in an investigation to prove one’s loyalty. Breaking the blue wall of silence creates a huge informal sanctions such as being threatened, ostracized, violence towards the officer, and many more. In the Adam Nobody’case, there was a investigation of excessive use of force. Allegedly, there was tampering of the video and suggested that the victim was armed. The Toronto Police of Chief had to clarify that Mr. Nobody did not have a weapon on him and the charges were dropped since the prosecutors could not find any evidence and could not find the arresting officer. As well, the Special Investigation Unit did not press charges against the officers involved in the arrest because they were unable to identify the officers badges in the video who were committing excessive use of force. Many officers who knew about the incident did not come forward to testify. There was lot of accountability avoidance in the G20 Toronto 2010 summit and the police should have taken responsibility for their actions played in the protest.


Lint, W. (2006). Public Order Policing: A tough act to follow? Windsor, Ontario. University of Windsor

Lint. W. (2009). Intelligent Order: developments in public order policing in Canada. Ontario, Canada. University of Toronto Press/

Punch, M. (2009)  Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in policing. Cullomption, Devon. Willan Publishing.

Ratcliffe, H. J. (in press) “Intelligence-led policing.” In; E, Mazerolle, L., and Rombouts, S (Eds) Environmental Criminology and Crime Anaysis (Willan Publishing: Cullompton, Devon).


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