Thursday, February 14, 2013
For more information, read the full proceedings transcript. You can also listen to an audio recording of the event.
[Public proceedings resume]
I would like to call this meeting back to order. This is the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. We are continuing our study on the economics of policing in Canada. In the second hour we have a witness testifying by video conference from Surrey, British Columbia. … Appearing as an individual today is Professor Curt Taylor Griffiths. He is the professor and coordinator of the School of Criminology, Police Study Program, Simon Fraser University. Professor Griffiths is considered an expert in the fields of policing, community, and restorative justice, corrections, legal reform, and social development. He has co-authored more than 100 research reports and articles, and we certainly are pleased that we can reconnect again today.
Professor Griffiths, we are ready for your opening comment. We have a committee looking forward to questioning you as well
Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity for you to hear me this time … I will provide some backdrop comments that could serve as a foundation for our discussions this morning. I think everyone agrees that we need to move toward the development of effective and efficient police services in Canada, but as an observer of this process over the last few years, particularly as the economics of policing have come more to the forefront, I’m not sure we’re going about it in the right way. I’ll offer some comments about that, and hopefully we can get into a discussion about what might be the right way.
As a consequence of our situation in Canada, over the last three decades we’ve systematically dismantled our capacities to do police research in this country. Back in the 1980s for example, there was a police research unit in the then-solicitor general’s ministry that was very effective and turned out excellent work. Another thing that happened over the last 20 years is the federal government has stopped the funding for the series of university-based criminology research centres that existed from Halifax to Vancouver. Those are no longer functioning. As a consequence, our research endeavours with respect to policing in Canada are scattered, and there is no coordinating effort. There are very few linkages among universities, governments, and police services. Research is often being done on a one-and-done basis, whether it’s by private consulting companies such as KPMG or by university-based scholars who work on a single type of project and then move on. We really don’t have a coordinating body. We really don’t have a repository, if you will, for police research, and an organization, agency, or institute that could serve as a catalyst for facilitating these collaborative relationships, and equally as important, for the dissemination of information.