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Introduction to Policing

Course Code: CRIM 1120
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course covers the historical development of policing as a component of the total justice system. Specific topics examined include: the police function, police community roles, authority, police stress, and the organization and structure of policing in Canada. Key issues including the use of force, corruption, accountability and the political dimension of police work are examined in detail.

Course Content

The Context of Policing in Canada in the Twenty-First-Century

  • The Origin of Policing in Canada
  • The Canadian Experience
  • Levels of Policing in Canada
  • Private Policing

The Canadian Criminal Justice System

Recruitment and Training

  • Recruitment
  • Field Training
  • Specialized Training

Ethics and Discretion

  • Discretion in the Field
  • Use of Force and Discretion
  • Unethical Behaviour by Police Officers

Accountability and Oversight

  • Formal Structures
  • Police Oversight Models

Performance Measurement

  • Classic Quantitative Performance Measures
  • Alternate and Qualitative Measures of Performance
  • Why Performance Measures Fail


  • Uniformed Patrol Officers
  • Patrol Methods
  • Patrol Allocation
  • Priority Calls
  • Police Pursuits


  • From the Patrol Officer to Specialized Units
  • Linkage Blindness
  • Civilian Specialists
  • Major Case Management
  • Judicial Authorizations
  • Police Agents

Operational Support

  • Covert Teams: Surveillance
  • Special Equipment and Tactics Teams
  • Forensic Services
  • Administrative Support

Economics of Policing

Policing and Crime Prevention

Crime Analysis

National Security Policing

Policing and a Diverse Society

  • Canadian Diversity
  • Indigenous Peoples and Policing
  • LGBTQ2+ Communities & Policing

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lectures, small groups and class discussion.  Police practitioners may be utilized when appropriate.

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  At the beginning of the semester the instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria.  Evaluation may be based on some combination of the following: 

  1. Exams
  2. Research paper
  3. Group Presentation

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Exam 1  25%
Exam 2  25%
Research Paper  30%
Group Presentation  20%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  • Interpret and appraise the function and role of the police in society.
  • Explain the place of the police in the criminal justice system, and their interaction with other agencies.
  • Understand and explain the legal and moral authority of police.
  • Describe the various roles of officers within the police department, and the duties and responsibilities. 
  • Outline and summarize the historical evolution of the police.
  • Describe and distinguish the traditional and contemporary approaches to police work.

course prerequisites

Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

  • No prerequisite courses


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.