Canadian Security Magazine

Complex safety environment requires a modern approach to policing

By Canadian Security   

News Public Sector policing

A new expert panel report, Policing Canada in the 21st Century: New Policing for New Challenges, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, details the complexity and global nature of policing in the modern age. Overall, a 12-member Expert Panel determined that safety and security cannot just rest with Canada’s policing services.

Specialists, public and private security services, and other first responders all have a vital role to play in an interconnected safety and security web. This transition has already begun in Canada and around the world. A central challenge for police is to adapt to this safety and security web while taking advantage of the opportunities that it offers.

Among the many developments that are redefining today’s policing context is the fact that police are faced with crimes that are more complex and more global, such as border security in the fight against terrorism, identity theft, and cybercrime. These types of crime, which are emerging alongside traditional crime, are testing both the skills and resources of police and bringing forward a need for specialized skills and collaboration with others who are uniquely positioned to respond.

“The increasing costs of policing, human resources challenges, and administrative and legal accountability requirements mean the generalized police force model is no longer realistic,” said Hon. Stephen T. Goudge, Chair of the Expert Panel. “It is time that we start to think about how best to modernize policing through tools such as accreditation and focusing on core policing responsibilities.”

The Panel’s main findings include:
– Successful policing models require police to adapt to, and leverage, the specialized capabilities and resources in the safety and security web.
– Evidence-based policing and increased professionalization of police would optimize their role in the safety and security web.
– The diversity of actors in the safety and security web creates accountability concerns that have yet to be addressed.
– Governments can serve as enablers of safety and security by ensuring that a safety and security web serves the public interest.

Recognizing the ever-growing challenges that policing services now face have prompted Public Safety Canada to request the Council conduct an expert panel assessment. The Panel’s evidence-based report provides an up-to-date and comprehensive review of the international research on the challenges facing policing, as well as identifies opportunities for moving forward. It will be an important resource for those involved in shaping and providing safety and security well into the future.

For more information or to download a copy of the Panel’s report, visit the Council of Canadian Academies’ website,

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