Why do we hate the police?
These or other abuses in the cold war between police and citizens are reported every day. Here are the reasons and some solutions that might work
Harold J. Mandelker, a hefty thirty-five-year-old Montreal garment salesman, has achieved widespread attention for a somewhat surprising reason: he loves policemen. For the past ten years Mandelker, a bachelor, has been spending every spare moment and dollar preaching to whoever will listen that "policemen are human beings,” that "they're not ugly punks who push the public around,” and “they’re not godless but have religious sentiments like the rest of us.”
In recognition of his efforts, grateful police departments in Ottawa, Montreal and New York have showered him with praise and created him an
A Maclean’s national survey: By Sidney Katz
WHY do citizens often stand by while policemen are beaten by toughs?
WHY are witnesses often reluctant to report crimes or give testimony?
WHY do police methods sometimes bring charges of brutality?
WHY are minor offenders sometimes killed by police weapons?
honorary member of their respective organizations.
That anyone who publicly confesses a liking for the police should be the object of so much publicity reflects a curious phenomenon of our time: nobody seems to like policemen any more. A few decades ago, the stereotype of the policeman on the beat was that of a friendly and kindly man who knew all the children, housewives and merchants along the way. He was society’s staunch champion against evil and only the criminal had reason to fear him. Today, this warm and agreeable image seems to have vanished. The policeman has become a fearsome stranger who poses a threat to
Why do we hate the police?
everybody. At times, he appears as a malevolent figure on a motorcycle, insulting citizens as he hands out expensive traffic tickets. At other times, he’s seen as a species of sub-human whose favorite haunt is the noise-proof basement of the police station where he mercilessly interrogates suspects or callously beats confessions out of them. "Everyone seems to malign and dislike the police nowadays,” says Mandelker.
This opinion is shared by many court officers, lawyers, and even policemen. V. J. Campbell, chief of police at Sydney, N.S., says, "People of all classes seem to have a general distaste for the police.” Inspector J. P. Gilbert of Montreal reports that at football games his men dread crossing the field because of the crowd’s
"Five teen-agers whacked away with baseball bats at two RCMP officers. Fifty spectators looked on in amusement"
booing. In Brantford, Ont., last month, a motorist drew up to the side of the highway where two traffic officers were operating a radar meter and called them "highway robbers.” He cheerfully paid a fine a few days later. In Edmonton, motorists expressed their distaste of police radar traps by posting signs for the benefit of approaching drivers which read "Caution—cops ahead.” Policemen feel that widespread use of the word “cop” is in itself an indication that they are held in low esteem. Recently one of the nation’s top policemen, Toronto Police Chief John Chisholm, ended his life by putting a bullet through his head. Overwork and public criticism unquestionably contributed to his death. It was significant that he took his life just at the conclusion of a lengthy public hearing in which the police were accused of beating confessions out of three youths.
The present unpopularity of the police is reflected in the failure of citizens to come to their aid when they're set upon by pug-uglies. "People no longer seem to think that the police are on their side,” says Magistrate C. O. Bick, chairman of the Toronto Metropolitan Police Commission. Instances of this nonco-operation have become commonplace. In Windsor, Ont., recently, when Constable Frank Chauvin was attempting to arrest an unruly eighteen-yearold, he was attacked by six youths who choked him with his tie, clobbered him on the head and kicked him as he lay on the ground gasping for breath. And in the town of Chemainus, B.C.. fifty miles north of Victoria, five teenagers whacked away with baseball bats at two RCMP officers while fifty spectators looked on in amusement.
"We’re not getting enough help from the public in conducting investigations,” says Ben Bouzan, chief of CPR police, who is president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of
Police. A Montreal resident, comfortably seated in his second-floor apartment, nonchalantly looked on one night while a burglar struggled for an hour to open a safe in a store across the street. He mentioned it to neighbors the next morning, but not to the police. In the same city, a gang of hoodlums entered a crowded tavern and proceeded to demolish the furniture, glasses and decorations. When the police arrived two minutes later, everyone kept mum.
In the opinion of H. A. D. Oliver, a Vancouver lawyer who was formerly a solicitor in the Supreme Court of England, the reason most people dislike the police is obvious. “They (the police) show a lack of respect for the public,” he says. "Their manner is arrogant. They approach everyone indiscriminately as if they were dealing with known criminals.” The attitude he described could very well be illustrated by an interview a Maclean’s reporter had with a Vancouver detective. “Any time I grab a boy who says he’s from Montreal I figure there’s something wrong with him. He usually turns out to be a cat burglar. There’s about eighty thousand Frenchmen back east who’vc got nothing better to do than come out here to the white man’s country and keep us busy.”
The frequent failure of police to respect the legal rights of citizens who are taken into custody has been repeatedly criticized. A case in point is that of Neil Robinson, age twenty, who, when he discovered that he was wanted on a charge of grievous assault, walked into a Montreal police station to give himself up and plead not guilty. By law, he was entitled to have access to a lawyer and to be arraigned in court within twenty-four hours. Neither of these conditions was met: Robinson was held incommunicado for three days. Judge Redmond Roche of the criminal court castigated Robinson’s jailers. “The police are not observing the law,” he said. “This sort of thing has been happening frequently and it must cease.”
Montreal is not the only city where the rights of the individual are being flouted. Tom O'Neil, a Toronto lawyer, recently declared that “every night somewhere in Toronto an accused person is not allowed to speak to his lawyer or notify friends or relatives that he’s been arrested.”
Apart from the discomfort, the chiei hazard to the citizen of being kept incommunicado is that the police might use this period to obtain a statement or confession of guilt. If the confession is to be used as evidence in court it must be given freely and voluntarily. Among many criminal lawyers the impression exists that, in the words of Sten Goerwell, a Winnipeg lawyer, "nine out of ten confessions are not voluntary.” Suspects frequently charge that the police obtain their statements by the use of prolonged interrogation, threats, promises and sometimes physical assault. Sometimes an innocent person "confesses” to put an end to the ordeal. Early this year, in Prince George, B.C., two RCMP constables took a suspect to the outskirts of town and beat him until he confessed to the crime with which he was
charged. Six months later, someone else admitted he had committed the offence. The two RCMP officers were promptly fired. (One of them was just as promptly hired by the Victoria police department.) A few years ago. in a Kingston courtroom, police officers produced a written statement covering three foolscap pages which they claimed to be the confession of a woman charged with murder. Yet the accused had been certified by two provincial psychiatrists as being an imbecile, incapable of coherent speech. Her lawyer, H. L. Cartwright, recalls, “I myself talked to her every day for several weeks and failed to get a single intelligible sentence out of her." Like many others, this confession was thrown out of court.
The most frequently voiced charge against the police is that they use too much brawn and not enough brain in making arrests. The Criminal Code permits officers to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to take a man into custody. Many jurists feel that the policeman’s interpretation of the word reasonable is frequently quite unreasonable. In Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., for example, Mike Hoydalo and Peter Chañas, two old friends, were having a tussle on the lawn in front of one of their homes. The police arrived on the scene. Although the evidence presented later suggested that the wrestling match could have been broken up in a friendly way, both of the men were viciously cracked over the head with a blackjack, one requiring eighteen stitches, the other tw'elve. They w'erc then shoved into the police paddy wagon with their hands handcuffed behind their backs. At that point, one of the officers grabbed the private parts of one of the prisoners and squeezed until he howled with pain. Later, Magistrate H. D. Peterson reprimanded the arresting officers for their brutal tactics. “Nothing could condone the force used to arrest these suspects,” he said.
When police officers used their guns—instead
“Some policemen are as trigger-happy as the criminals”
of their blackjacks—unnecessarily, public resentment runs even deeper. “Some policemen are as trigger-happy as the criminals they seek to arrest,” Gregory T. Evans, Q.C., a criminal lawyer practicing in Timmins. Ont., said recently. In Montreal a few years ago. after six constables had been punished for the reckless use of firearms in a few months. then-Mayor Jean Drapeau threatened to disarm the police force. One of the victims was a fourteen-yearold boy who was shot through the back while fleeing from a car which was thought to be stolen. He was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down. In New' Westminster, B.C., Ronald Byers, a twcnty-two-year-old air-
man, was a passenger in a car which was reported stolen. Three officers each took three shots at the vehicle. One of the bullets hit Byers in the chest and killed him. A court eventually made a judgment of $2.660 in costs and damages against the constable who had fired the fatal shot, and each member of the New' Westminster force voluntarily paid fifty dollars to provide the money. The upshot may be revealing: the police have taken out a one-hundred-thousand-dollar insurance policy to protect them in future cases of this kind “if the city won’t stand behind us.”
Unfortunately, however, for the reputation of police departments, the impression exists that policemen seldom have to pay for their misdeeds. "It’s remarkable how often constables arc charged with and exonerated on charges of beatings and other improprieties,” says Magistrate H. D. Peterson of the Algoma District, in northern Ontario. Perhaps the reason is that the offending officers are tried by their superiors or by the local police commission. If these officials find a man guilty they are, in effect, casting reflection on their own worth. The value of the present system of trying police officers was sharply questioned by an incident that occurred in Toronto in 1954. As a result of a fracas after a football game, two young men. Robert Wright and Michael Griffin, w'ere arrested and taken to the police station. Both men later claimed that they were held incommunicado for several hours. One of the men, Wright, accused the police of hitting him in the face and kicking him as he lay helpless on the ground. Because of widespread public interest in the case. Justice W. D. Roach of the Ontario Supreme Court w'as asked to conduct an enquiry. After listening to a long succession of witnesses, Roach reported that the accusations made by the two young men w'erc substantially correct. He described the behavior of the police as “shocking” and stated that there was "no place for this kind of thing in our system of law'.” Yet the officer who had been found guilty of physical assault appeared before the deputychief of the Toronto police force and w'as exonerated. He’s still a member of the police force. "Evidently,” commented a Toronto newspaper, “it’s possible for a Toronto policeman to beat up a prisoner and get off scot-free even when he’s found out!"
Despite such frequent unflattering comment, many police departments are far from pessimistic about the present state of police public relations. "We’re not out after popularity,” says C. E. Rivett-Carnac, deputy commissioner of the RCMP. Several chiefs of police, like James K. Kettles of Saskatoon, feel that the press has made the police look worse than they are. "Newspapers automatically report accusations against us by individuals before we have a chance to investigate them,” he says. Although the accusations often prove to be baseless, an unfavorable impression lingers in the public mind. Yet, despite this, Kettles agrees with Chief Robert Taft of Winnipeg that in certain communities “there’s more mutual respect between the police and public than ever."
Taft cites Winnipeg as an example. Police officers frequently address service clubs, church groups and parent-teacher associations. They belong to a variety of service, social and philanthropic organizations. Officers are on good terms with local school children through their various safety programs. “For every complaining letter we get from the public we get more than two which praise us." said Taft, inviting a Maclean's reporter to examine his correspondence files. A lady wrote thanking the police for going to great lengths to save her dog. A woman who had appealed to the police when she was unable to get her doctor to tend her husband, who had suffered a heart attack, wrote. “I'll never forget your kindness and sympathy.” A poultry dealer, whose establishment had been burgled, marveled at the speed
“The policeman has become a stranger in his community”
with which the criminal was apprehended — there were dozens of similar letters in Taft's files.
Every police department receives correspondence of this sort. The preponderance of unfavorable publicity that they receive nonetheless is attributed by Ben Bouzan in part to ineptness at public relations. As a recent speaker told a meeting of the Canadian chiefs of police, "Most people haven’t the slightest idea how difficult and complex the duties of the policeman have become." There's a good reason for it. In the last thirty or forty years the environment in which the policeman works has changed completely.
First, the relationship between the officer and the citizen has become an impersonal one. Law enforcement used to be a leisurely business. The policeman pounded his beat on foot, and when the police became mechanized this intimacy vanished. Other changes have also made for impersonality. With the advent of the forty-hour week, officers are constantly shifted from one district to another. Again, the police force itself has become a complex organization made up of small groups of specialists. All these factors have helped make the policeman a stranger in his community.
The second big change is that the police have broadened their scope of activity. In the old days, the police spent most of their time foiling and ferreting out criminals. In this task, the good citizen was the constable’s willing ally. “But today,” says Ci. Douglas Gourley of Los Angeles, the author of an impressive study on police public relations, “police work is no longer concerned with a small outlaw group. At least ninety percent of police contacts are not with criminals but with good citizens.” In these contacts a policeman's job is to enforce legislation which continued on page 38
Why do we hate the police? continued from page 11
“Motorists,” police say about traffic-trap gripers, “are the
biggest liars in the world”
is not calculated to earn him affection. Traffic is a case in point. During the last ten years, probably millions of Canadians have received tickets for parking or speeding and, in the blunt words of Ben Bouzan, “Everybody who gets a ticket has a grudge against the police."
Liquor laws fall into the same category. “The police earn a lot of resentment because they have to enforce liquor laws which the public regard as restrictive and petty,” says Sten Goerw'ell. a Winnipeg lawyer. The police have fallen heir to a number of other unpopular jobs. In Sydney, N.S., regular officers are used as collectors by the city tax department. "City officials feel the uniform scares people into paying up,” says Chief V. J. Campbell, who adds sadly, “This may be so, but it doesn’t help us with the public.”
But it’s the enforcement of traffic regulations which is, in the words of Magistrate C. O. Bick of Toronto, “chiefly responsible for the loss of prestige suffered by the police." The traffic fines exacted from the motoring public have reached huge sums. For instance, in 1947, traffic fines in Vancouver totaled $140,000; in 1957 the figure had risen to almost one million dollars.
Most motorists, who tend to be paranoic on the subject of traffic police, feel they're being persecuted — and there’s evidence to suggest that at least in some places, at some times, they are. In Vancouver the constables in the traffic division contribute a small sum of money to a pool each month. The winner is the officer with the greatest number of convictions at the end of the month. One day last fall. Toronto police ticketed 2X4 vehicles in a single mile. One of the victims was a salesman who drove up to a meter, reached for his brief case, rolled up his windows and locked the doors of his car. He reached the sidewalk just in time to be handed a ticket by a policeman.
Deseronto, a small town in southern Ontario, has long had a reputation for being a speed trap. When travelers began to avoid the town, the local citizens revolted and threw out the mayor and council who approved the strictness of the local constabulary. In the discussions that ensued, some interesting facts emerged. One was that this small com-
munity of seventeen hundred people had collected seventeen thousand dollars in speeding fines in eighteen months. Another w'as that at the beginning of the fiscal year the town budget presumed that there would be several thousand dollars available from future speeders. Some three thousand dollars of the fines paid by motorists had gone to supplement the salary of the chief of police. “How can you expect a man with five children to live on the forty-eight dollars a week we pay him?” asked a councilor.
The arrangement, incidentally, was quite legal. But it is one that can lend itself to abuse. Recently, the Quebec legislature took away from small communities (under 20,000 population) the right to pass traffic laws and collect fines. Scores of motorists had complained about the treatment they received in such towns. For instance St. Martin, ten miles north of Montreal, had collected twenty thousand dollars in a single year. One motorist was fined for slightly exceeding the speed limit at six a.m., when the highway was deserted. When he couldn’t produce thirty dollars to ensure his court appearance his car was impounded and he had to make his way to Montreal by hiking.
There’s no doubt that radar is an easy and cheap way of collecting fines. Sudbury, Ont., was the first city in Canada to use it. The cost for eight months was a thousand dollars; it earned $13,722 in fines. The motorists’ wails about traffic traps arouse scant sympathy from the police. “They're the biggest liars in the world— if you were to believe them no traffic offense was ever committed on a Canadian highway,” says William Fitzpatrick, a Montreal detective. Magistrate Bick feels that the police are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as far as traffic-law enforcement is concerned. “On one hand there’s a public outcry against the mounting death toll; on the other the public resents being punished for a violation." Bick is somewhat alarmed and discouraged by the behavior of many motorists. “A man who was caught doing forty on a residential street where there are a lot of children, phoned me up to give me blazes. Yet, that same week, a half dozen parents living on the street asked me when we were going to crack down on the speeders.” Most policemen loathe the expression “speed trap,” which is usually a euphemism for radar devices used to time a motorist's speed. Inspector E. A. F. Holm of the RCMP traffic branch in Ottawa has no apologies to offer for the use of radar and ghost cars. "With millions of cars on the highways we’ve had to modernize our methods,” he says. Fie cites a Gallup poll in which those sampled were three-to-one in favor of the police using radar. He believes radar’s effectiveness can be increased by erecting a sign, “This highway is electrically patrolled,” every ten miles. In Saskatchewan this practice has yielded good results. While Inspector Holm doesn’t think that fewer tickets should be given out, he strongly believes officers should improve their manners. In fact he has a code of etiquette on "how to give a ticket and keep the customer happy.” "You should always approach the motorist with a smile and a cheery 'Good day.’ ” he instructs his men. Under no circumstances should the officer ask, “Where do you think you’re going. Bud? To a fire?” The motorist should be
asked for his license, and the nature of the offense should be explained to him. The officer should be consistently polite and pleasant to indicate that there’s nothing personal about the business on hand. Holm cautions his men to expect that most motorists will be mad. "Consider his feelings,” he says. But under no circumstances is the officer to get into an argument. “If a citizen asks why you aren't out chasing bank robbers, smile but don’t answer.” A much bolder suggestion was recently made to a meeting of Canadian police chiefs. “Why not,” one speaker asked, “avoid a lot of public resentment by giving the job of handing out parking tickets to a special group of part-time employees?” This idea is highly controversial. Assistant Deputy Director William Minogue of Montreal is strongly against it. “You’d be inviting bribery and corruption,” he argues. "The part-time employee is lacking in training and self-discipline.” Magistrate Bick of Toronto agrees but for different reasons. “Using parttime employees would actually be more expensive and less efficient,” he says. “Our regular officers arc accomplishing a lot more than meets the eye when they’re on the parking detail. Their very presence discourages lawbreaking. Furthermore, they're always available to be rushed to the scene of an emergency.” But Bick does think the plan might work in smaller cities. And it does. During peak hours in downtown Regina, parking violations arcnow handled by the Corps of Commissionaires—on a part-time basis. Regina motorists have already started complaining about their toughness. "They’re as bad as the police,” observed one citizen. In Winnipeg, where the Corps of Commissionaires has been working at a similar task, the local police are much relieved. "Now they're the devils," says Superintendent James Mulholland. But it is in their contacts with the minority group in society—the criminal group—that the police have earned their blackest marks. Here they’re faced with a dilemma. On one hand, they arcanxious to get their man. On the other, they must achieve this strictly in accordance with laws that have been set up to protect citizens against injustice. The
police often teel that these safeguards are too stringent. "We’re often frustrated," says William Fitzpatrick, assistant chief of detectives in Montreal. "That’s why roughness is sometimes used.”
Joseph Cohen, Q.C., of Montreal, one of the country’s leading authorities in criminal law, agrees that the law sometimes makes the work of the police difficult. "But if the police were allowed to arrest, detain, threaten and assault citizens willy-nilly, our society would be in a chaotic state.” Cohen points out that all criminal laws and procedures were created to protect the innocent. Nothing should hamper an innocent man in proving his innocence. "If the guilty man takes advantage of the law to escape punishment then it’s too bad, but it’s better that ninety and nine guilty people escape rather than one innocent man be convicted.”
What are the rights of a citizen taken into custody? If he doesn’t resist, he’s entitled to be arrested politely and without physical violence; if he does, the arresting officers are permitted to use as much force as is reasonably necessary. Once arrested, he is entitled to see his lawyer. If he’s to be identified, the procedure must be carried out in such a manner as to guard against mistaken identity. While in custody, he should be cautioned that anything he might say may be used in evidence. Nothing must be done to encourage or force him to make a statement, or a "confession” as it is more familiarly known. Finally, he must be arraigned before a judge within twenty-four hours.
Many competent observers, who are close to the criminal courts and the police, believe that the police are constantly ignoring these safeguards. "Police in general show a woeful lack of appreciation of the rights of the individual when making and after making, an arrest,” says Gregory T. Evans, a Timmins, Ont., criminal lawyer. Joseph Cohen states bluntly, “Some policemen think that the end hallows the means.”
Several chiefs of police I questioned assured me that prisoners are never beaten when arrested except in rare cases of self-defense. Chief W. S. Brown of Fort William says, “It’s just not done.” Chief James G. Kettles, Saskatoon: “We don’t have to use violence. Our men are instructed in judo.” Vet these statements appear to be overgenerous in view of the number of police officers who have been found guilty, after a fair trial, of using unnecessary violence. In Hamilton, Constable George Brewster was dismissed from the force after he belabored a suspected housebreaker in the cell-room. The suspect suffered a broken shoulder, two black eyes and numerous cuts on his face and body. In Bourlemaque, Que., in the course of arresting a miner, police used their blackjacks, fracturing his skull. The courts awarded the victim $6,545. In Windsor a few' months ago the federal government made a four-figure cash award to a couple who had been manhandled by RCMP plainclothesmen.
It turned out that the police were in the wrong apartment.
Police methods of obtaining confessions are constantly under fire, in the opinion of Norman Borins. Q.C., of Toronto, “Only about twenty-five percent of confessions are given freely and voluntarily.” Other observers have placed the proportion even lower. Gregory T. Evans says, “Some police officers obtain confessions w'ith such regularity that one begins to question either their methods or their veracity.” Dr. John Rich, a Toronto psychiatrist, believes confessions are unreliable, and believes the methods used
are “similar to Russian - style brainwashing.”
Borins suggests that “after an arrest the accused should be brought before a court and asked if he wants to make a statement. If he says no, that would be the end of the matter. If he makes a statement it could be recorded by an official court reporter with all the proceeding noted.” Although the police are frequently accused of using threats and violence to get confessions, these charges are seldom proved. One reason is that policemen won’t testify against each other. H. L. Cartwright of Kingston says, “Whole platoons of police will troop into the witness box and swear that the accused had cheerfully volunteered all the information necessary to hang him.” In his experience, H. A. D. Oliver, a Vancouver lawyer, can recall only one instance where a constable bore public witness to the brutality of his fellow officers. The man left the force within months of testifying.
Why do prisoners confess?
I he police, of course, regard a confession as a short-cut solution to a crime which saves a lot of time and money. Recently William (). Gibson, a Toronto crown attorney, outlined some of the reasons police should be permitted to solicit statements immediately after arrests.
According to him, if a prisoner is to give a confession he’s most likely to give it immediately after his apprehension. He wants to confess to relieve his deep sense of guilt. To forbid soliciting a statement is to fly in the face of human nature. The statement should be sought as soon as possible, says Gibson, because after the prisoner has recovered from his first sensations he has the natural human instinct to save himself by the aid of technicalities.
Confessions are particularly helpful to police in breaking up gangs. If one gang member is caught and provides the police with clues, there’s some chance of getting
at his accomplices. To forbid the solicitation of confessions is to tie the hands of police. The attitude of some judges toward these necessary police methods is lamentable, according to Gibson. At times, he says, one would think that the police and not the criminal were the enemies of society.
But most jurists feel it would be a tragic error to relax the present measures governing the taking of statements by police. These jurists have learned to be deeply suspicious of confessions as the result of being present at numerous voir dire proceedings. A voir dire has been described as “a trial within a trial.” Whenever the crown introduces a confession at a trial, the judge orders that a voir dire be held to determine whether it has been obtained freely and voluntarily and thus can be used as evidence. Norman Borins, a few years ago, defended a thirty-five-year-old man who had signed a statement admitting the theft of twenty thousand dollars’ worth of furs.
“But I’m innocent,” he told his lawyer. Why did he sign? He described how he had joined a crowd in front of the store when the police arrived to investigate the theft. From conversations with spectators and police, he learned some of the details of the break-in. One of the police officers became suspicious and took him to the station. Here, the client maintained, his arms were twisted and he was kicked in the testicles to make him confess. ”1 had a heart attack a few weeks ago,” he told Borins, “so I thought I’d better do what they wanted me to before I had another seizure.” Borins was able to establish, beyond all doubt, his client’s innocence.
Another Borins client was a soldier on leave who confessed to the police that he had assaulted a seven-year-old girl. His statement contained many of the details of the crime. Just before the trial he told Borins that he had been drinking and could not recall in any way being involved in the sordid offense. "Weil, how come you knew all about it?” th. lawyer asked.
“And not too much off the back or sides."
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The soldier then recounted how the police picked him up and read to him their “occurrence sheets” — documents containing information supplied by other witnesses. (This is an admissible practice.) They then proceeded to repeat the information in the form of questions. After several hours, frightened and weary, he composed a confession which might have sent him to the penitentiary for several years. Several witnesses swore that the soldier was so intoxicated at the time of the crime that he couldn’t possibly have been the guilty party. For the same reason, he couldn’t have had any knowledge of the details of the crime. The confession was thrown out. Borins comments, "The power of suggestion was repeatedly used on my client. In other words, he was brainwashed.”
There are a variety of methods, physical and psychological, which can be used to coax out a confession. “We sometimes pick up a fellow whom we know is guilty,” says a member of the Montreal police force. “We spend two or three days asking him questions until he’s good and tired. Then we find out the truth.” Last year Judge Samuel Factor, of Toronto, threw out a statement which had been obtained by Newmarket police from an eighteen-year-old charged with breaking and entering. The suspect's wife had gone to hospital to have a baby shortly before his arrest. After he was lodged in a cell, a police officer told him that his child had died at birth. “You can get to see your wife as soon as you make a statement but not before,” the officer is alleged to have told him. The case was dismissed.
“The better the quality of the police work the less necessity there is for confessions,” says Norman Borins. Honest and impartial investigation of a crime is also a safeguard for the suspect, he insists.
“The most dangerous kind of policeman,” says Joseph Cohen, "is the one who believes a suspect is guilty. He'll only search for evidence which will support his hunch.”
The crown has a responsibility to protect the accused by presenting evidence in court favorable to him. Unfortunately, according to a prominent lawyer who has practiced in courts all over Ontario, this ideal is not being lived up to. One reason is that the crown attorneys feel closer to the police than to the accused. This attachment may be fostered by propinquity. In many places the police magistrate, the crown attorney and the police have offices within a few yards of each other. "When this happens,” says Morris Shumiatcher, Q.C., of Regina, "they're apt to hob-nob with each other. Courtrooms and police stations should be in separate buildings.”
In some places, the rights of the accused may be jeopardized by too much fraternizing between the police and the magistrate. In the rural districts of British Columbia, criminal justice is administered by lay magistrates. “Many of them
have no formal legal training and may he influenced by the prosecutor, who is usually the local RCMP constable," says H. A. D. Oliver, a Vancouver lawyer. “More than once, I’ve seen the prosecuting constable stand at the magistrate’s shoulder and whisper in his ear while the trial was in session. This makes so much nonsense of our ideas of justice.”
However, police departments don't spend too much time contemplating their errors of omission or commission: they’re too busy worrying about some of the immediate problems which beset them. For one thing, more crime, wider policing duties and the forty-hour week find them understaffed. Most torces are short of men and are having trouble recruiting them. Toronto is two hundred men below strength, but, even in the depth of the recession last March, only eighty applications were received of which two were accepted. J. Albert Langlois, Montreal's police director, says. "We need six hundred more men right away.” Saskatoon has sixty policemen but needs seventytwo. Fort William. Ont., has no men to patrol some of the residential districts during the peak traffic hours because extra men are needed downtown. Some communities who could recruit extra officers haven’t got enough money to do so.
The uneasy future
Young men seem to avoid police work. Promotions tend to be slow and the pay is not high. In Montreal the starting salary for a constable is only sixty-three dollars a week; in Toronto it's seventyfive dollars, in Regina sixty-two dollars, Edmonton seventy-one dollars, Winnipeg seventy-three dollars. Even when the rookie reaches the exalted position of first-class constable, after a few years, he’s still not doing too well: in Vancouver, which has the highest-paid police force in Canada, a first-class constable earns ninety-eight dollars a week. In Sydney, N.S., a first-class constable earns seventy dollars a week, while his chief only earns ninety-six dollars.
And so the police face the future with some disquiet, knowing that things are not going to get any easier. As society grows more complex they know that they'll be asked to assume additional duties—each one of them offering new possibilities for incurring public wrath. They're particularly worried about the growing militance of teen-agers, many of whom no longer seem to respect the uniform. Some policemen are beginning to wonder whether their numerous youth activities weren’t all a dreadful mistake. “Many youngsters seem to have a confused idea about the role of the policeman,” says one man. "They seem to think of him as a fun-loving, elderly Rover Boy—a combination of athletic coach, psychiatrist and dispenser of hot dogs at picnics.”
Any policeman with a philosophical outlook cannot help but realize that, by the very nature of his calling, he is bound to arouse some bad feeling. He knows that while it's the government that restricts citizens, people can't cuss at anything as abstract as a legislative body. Therefore, as a symbol of the government, he must be the whipping hoy. With such a precarious role to play, the most he can hope to do is keep public resentment at a minimum by his own exemplary conduct, often in the face of extreme provocation. “In the last analysis,” says G. Douglas Gourley. of Los Angeles, who is an authority on such matters, “the police themselves are the most important factor in determining public attitudes." ★