What is the role of the police?
The job of the police in Canada is to enforce the law. Police must also obey the law themselves. They cannot, for example, accept money in return for dropping charges against someone. It is illegal for anyone to offer money to a police officer. If police themselves break the law, they are punished like anyone else.
Every person in Canada has certain rights in relation to the police, including:
- Generally the police cannot go into or search your home without a warrant.
- If you are arrested, you must be permitted to contact a lawyer in a reasonable amount of time.
- If you are arrested, you must be told why you have been arrested.
- If there is not enough of a reason for your arrest, you must be released.
- You cannot be convicted and punished twice for the same offence.
- You cannot be subjected to any cruel and unusual punishment. The police cannot beat you, torture you, or threaten your family.
You can contact the police when you have been a victim of a crime, for example, if someone has broken into your house or you have been assaulted by someone. If your life or a member of your family’s life is in danger, the police are there to help get you out of that situation.