Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Police-Community Relations: Chinese Attitudes toward the Police in Toronto

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Police-Community Relations: Chinese Attitudes toward the Police in Toronto

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT/RESUME

Positive attitudes toward the police and satisfactory experiences with them are a necessary precursor to constructive police-community partnerships. The primary objective of the present inquiry was to canvass the attitudes of Chinese residents toward the police in Metro Toronto, particularly in the areas of (i) police powers of search, arrest, and questioning, (ii) police use of force, (iii) police treatment of visible minorities, and (iv) police services. An attempt was also made to understand respondents' degree of satisfaction with police services and police contacts. Of the 1,000 Chinese households randomly selected from the Metropolitan Toronto and Vicinity Telephone Directory, 402 completed the survey. Results demonstrated that members of the Chinese community were only marginally positive in their perceptions of the police. Ordinary least-squares regression analysis revealed that various demographic variables, dissatisfaction with police contacts and police services, as well as having experienced polic e mistreatment were reflected in a more negative attitude toward the police.

D'attitudes positives envers la police, en plus d'experiences satisfaisantes avec la police sont de conditions necessaires pour de partenariats constructifs entre une communaute et la police. L'objectif principal de cette etude etait d'examiner les attitudes de residents chinois envers la police a Toronto, particulierement dans les domaines suivants: (i) les pouvoirs policiers de perquisition, d'arret et de questionnement, (ii) l'emploi de la force par la police, (iii) le traitement des minorites visibles par la police, et (iv) les services policiers. Une tentative a aussi ete faite de comprendre le degre de satisfaction des participants envers les services policiers et les liaisons policieres. Des 1000 menages chinois choisis au hasard du botin telephonique [much less than]Metropolitan Toronto and Vicinity[much greater than], 402 ont complete le questionnaire. Les resultats ont demontre que les membres de la communaute chinoise etaient que legerements positifs en tant que leurs images de la police. Une analy se de regression a revele qu'une variete de variables demographiques, le mecontentement avec les liaisons policieres et les services policiers, en plus d'avoir eu l'experience de mauvais traitement policier etaient refletes dans une attitude negative envers la police.

INTRODUCTION

Policing in Metro Toronto, (1) one of Canada's most multicultural and multiracial urban centres, is undeniably a difficult and challenging task. The Metro Toronto Police officially adopted principles of community policing in 1988. (2) Basically, community policing is a philosophy, management style, and organizational strategy focused on police-community partnerships and problem solving in order to address problems of crime and social disorder in communities (Griffiths et al., 2001:38). An important underlying assumption of these co-operative efforts between the police and the community, one clearly pointed out by Friedmann (1992:50), is that such cooperation rests on, and in turn shapes, the attitudes that citizens hold toward the police. These attitudes will inevitably influence the character of the relationships between citizens, either to further or hinder co-operation.

Public attitudes toward the police have long been a topic of concern among police administrators, academics, and community leaders. This is understandable, as public attitudes toward any public sector organization will determine both the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. More than any other criminal justice agency, the police rely heavily on the public to provide vital information about criminal incidents and to act as witnesses in court proceedings, both of which are predicated upon positive police-public relations.

A review of the literature indicates that earlier research conducted in the United States documented significant differences between ethnic groups with respect to their attitudes toward the police. …

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