Fall 2018


Constitutional Democracy and Policing (55+)

The police are a central public service in modern democracies, crucially affecting social and economic opportunity, the protection of liberty and the ability of individuals to develop their lives. As the most visibly coercive instrument of government, the police can also powerfully influence, through their actions, whether government is perceived to be legitimate and democratic.

We will focus on the relationship between policing and the ideals of democracy and government legitimacy. We will establish what shapes policing policy by considering how and why policy changes, and the role of constitutional governance in these change processes. How can governments sufficiently guide police agencies’ service-delivery models in constitutional democracies like Canada?

Note: Back by popular demand, from fall 2017.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 6 Orville Nickel $115.00 8 Register

What will I learn?

Week 1: Course Introduction and Exploring Constitutional Democracy

We explore elements of Canada’s Constitution, with an emphasis on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as proclaimed in the Constitution Act 1982. How do government services such as police, corrections or national security services fit into a democratic model?

Week 2: Police Management, Structure and Organizational Culture

Police organizations are limited in service delivery by many constraints. How does the organizational model impact service delivery in a law enforcement environment?

Week 3: Police Governance and Accountability

How can elected governments create and manage police so that they act in the public interest with significantly appropriate accountability in providing police services?

Week 4: Use of Force and Critical Decision Factors Contributing to Using Force

What are the influencing factors that guide police in deciding to use force within the context of a service delivery model specific to their department?

Week 5: Case Studies

Applying what we have learned. The class reviews some case circumstances of police misconduct

Week 6: Police Service or Police Force?

Course Summary. Are government services in Canada impacted by democratic principles?  

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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