Ottawa Police Service
Canadians have fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly, both cornerstones of a democratic nation. Throughout our history, protests have been a way for people to express dissatisfaction or support for important decisions made by government or other bodies. In day-to-day policing there are numerous opportunities to interact with groups of people who are expressing themselves, some in organized events and others in spontaneous occurrences.
When dealing with groups of people who are demonstrating, the police have obligations to ensure they are safe and able to exercise their rights as well as to keep the peace and enforce the law.
Following the Toronto G20 Summit, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) completed a report that included best practice recommendations for all police services responding to demonstrations:
Frontline Management of Public Demonstrations is designed to provide frontline officers with the necessary knowledge and strategies to safely and effectively manage small scale demonstrations while respecting everyone’s Charter rights and minimizing police involvement. It specifically addresses legal parameters, crowd analysis, and communication and management strategies.
Understanding the police role and appropriate responses at public demonstrations is an important key to ensuring events are safe for all.
When you have completed this course you will be able to:
- Explain the rights covered under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms relating to public demonstrations
- Identify factors in different types of public demonstrations
- Explain factors that can lead to escalation in a crowd during public demonstrations
- Assess the need and risks involved in police intervention and explain five steps for success in managing a demonstration