Police Discretion And The Criminal Justice System Essay

2078 WordsDec 15, 20169 Pages
Police discretion is widely considered a vague term that has an appropriately vague definition. It is defined as the decision-making power afforded to police officers that allows these individuals to decide if they want to pursue police procedure or simply let someone off with a warning (Beckett, 2016). It is an important enforcement option in policing and plays a key role in our criminal justice system here in Canada. Examples of when discretion is used include: traffic violations, youth crime, and crimes involving mentally ill individuals. The classic example of police discretion occurs when you are pulled over for speeding. In some instances, a Police Officer may issue the driver a ticket, while in other instances police may exercise their discretion and only give the driver a warning. The more complex aspect to discretion is the ongoing debate with how Canadian police services deal with controversial topics such as the mentally ill, domestic violence and youth offenders, because unfortunately these tasks falls to them. Without a doubt police discretion is an important tool necessary to keep social order and build community trust and must be balanced with crime prevention strategies and the enforcement of Canadian laws throughout our communities. Discretion is an essential component of policing because not every set of laws or regulations prescribes what an officer must do in each and every circumstance. It is impossible nor necessary to enforce the law all the time

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