258 pages, 6 x 9
8 charts, 2 tables
Release Date:01 Oct 2024

Ancillary Police Powers in Canada

A Critical Reassessment

SERIES: Law and Society
UBC Press

Police enforce the law, but they must also obey it. Statutes circumscribe how law enforcement officers conduct their work. Controls on police power are also embedded in the decisions written by judges, spawning a controversial area of legal debate — and of policing itself. The courts have handed police many powers to stop, search, and otherwise investigate people in the pursuit of public safety and crime prevention.

Ancillary Police Powers in Canada explains what these common-law police powers are, how they came to be, and, crucially, what the potential dangers are in their expanding scope. What is a Mr. Big sting operation, and why was it invented in this country? What is the difference between police duty and lawful authority? Should the Supreme Court revisit and possibly rescind powers when the police tactics they enable become controversial?

This nuanced book surveys the evolution, application, and future development of judge-made police powers in Canada from various points of view. The authors, experts in law, policing, and criminal justice, bring historical perspective, critical legal theory, and empirical analysis to bear on an issue that is fundamental to constitutional protection from state interference with individual liberty. The result is a unique and thought-provoking journey into the changing practice of Canadian policing.

This sophisticated, timely, and substantive investigation of ancillary police powers will have a wide audience among professors and students of law, criminology, and sociology, and among lawyers, judges, police officers, and other legal professionals.

I know of no single work that attempts to do what this book does so well: bring together into a single account the history of policing, its relation to the common law, the emergence of the doctrine of Ancillary Police Powers, its practical effects, and its theoretical shortcomings. This book is unusually diverse and substantive – and it is immensely valuable. Robert Diab, coauthor of Search and Seizure
The authors of Ancillary Police Powers in Canada shatter the widely held assumption that the courts are protecting citizens from overreach by police. This timely, sophisticated, and trailblazing collection is a must-read for anyone interested in police powers and constitutional rights. Nicole O’Byrne, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick

John W. Burchill is an instructor at the University of Manitoba, chief of staff with the Winnipeg Police Service, and president of the Winnipeg Police Museum and Historical Society. He received the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba’s Award for Historical Preservation in 2020 and was inducted into the Governor General of Canada's Order of Merit in 2010. His publications include volumes 1 and 2 of Pioneer Policemen: The History of the Manitoba Provincial Police.

Richard Jochelson is the Dean of Law at the University of Manitoba. A widely published scholar, he also spearheaded Robsoncrim.com, a leading research blog that undergirds the Criminal Law Edition of the Manitoba Law Journal.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a senior fellow at Massey College. He has held positions with Canada’s National Judicial Institute, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General. He is the co-author of Waiting to Inhale: Cannabis Legalization and the Fight for Racial Justice.

Terry Skolnik is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and the co-director of the uOttawa Public Law Centre. He is also the interim executive director of the Academy for Justice at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He was formerly an officer in the Montreal Police Service.

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