Police Role in Democracy. Was It Fulfilled During the G20 in Toronto

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Viewed by many as the most legitimized form of government, Democracy is a form of government for the people by the people. Acting supposedly in the main interests of the majority of its residing population, democracy is meant to accommodate the many. This paper will be examining if that is indeed true with the manner of policing tactics used during the G20 meetings in Toronto in June 2010. Faced with a major challenge of the largest scale protest in Canadian history, police agencies from all over Canada came together to try and keep a democratic level of policing, while maintaining social order and providing security to the international delegates. Leaning more towards the latter, the police did not fulfill the main democratic role set in place for them by the Canadian citizens. The police did act in accordance, for the most part, within Canadian law, but legislation was passed and as well orders given through politicians which ultimately ended with an undemocratic system of policing being implemented during the G20. The police are the face of security within democratic societies, but what went on behind the scenes and the reasons for why certain actions were implemented go far beyond the joint police forces used in Toronto. Political objectives carried heavy weight on the actions of the police which pulled them farther away from performing their democratic duties of protecting the people in their own nation. Examining what democracy is and how the police fit within a democratic country is essential to understanding what occurred during the G20 in Toronto. International pressure, and political factors will be brought to the limelight to show that while police were the main actors in the events that occurred in Toronto, the politicians where the puppeteers ultimately pulling the strings.

To understand the role that the police play within a society, one must first understand the ideology and system of government that is set in place within a nation. An ideology stands for a certain system of beliefs which applies to the citizens within a society and embodies what that society stands for. An ideology sets forth the main goal of a society, as well as the characteristics, negative or positive, which define it. I take the term ‘ideology’ to stand for a system of political and social beliefs that does two things. First, it embodies some set of values or ideals, and, consequently, some principles of action: though such principles will be out of necessity very general, and in some cases mainly negative, being concerned more with limitations on political action, for instance, rather than with an overall aim of it. Secondly, an ideology connects with its values and principles of action some set of very general theoretical beliefs which give the values and principles some sort of backing or justification. (Bernard, 2009)

Ideology concerns man and society in any political and social situation, which thus incorporates policing. The ideology of liberal democracy is characterized by a universal and secret suffrage, a choice of different rulers, independent press, freedom of expression and the rule of law. The rule of law incorporates fair trial as well as the limitations placed upon the police of the society. (Bernard, 2009) The liberal democracy state has a complete monopoly upon the use of police within the state, which is created in means of serving its citizens. The police’s main role in a democracy is to act as an interface between the state and its citizens, and as well to initiate court proceedings when crimes have been committed against the state. However, the rule of law does not always follow the general rule of democracy as it requires an active public opinion concerned with justice, meaning that if the vast majority of the populace is unconcerned with the rule of law, then it can run amok. “Possible to have all the institutions of democracy genuinely working, and yet the rule of law be flouted, if the electorate were...
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