Event-level outcomes of police interactions with young people in three non-metropolitan cities across British Columbia, Canada

Date

2021

Authors

Card, Kiffer G.
Selfridge, Marion
Greer, Alissa M.
Hepburn, Kirk J.
Bernard Fournier, Anabelle
Sorge, Justin
Urbanoski, Karen
Pauly, Bernie
Benoit, Cecilia
Lachowsky, Nathan J.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

International Journal of Drug Policy

Abstract

This study examines encounters between youth and police to identify individual, contextual, and social factors that predict the outcome of these encounters. Young people aged 16–30 years were surveyed between May 2017 and June 2018 in three non-metropolitan cities across British Columbia, Canada. Outcomes were analysed using multinomial logistic generalized estimating equations. A total of 675 encounters were reported by 360 participants. These outcomes resulted in participants being questioned (n = 227; 33.6%); given warnings (n = 132; 19.6%); being searched (n = 104; 15.4%); being given a ticket (n = 101; 15.0%); and being handcuffed or arrested (n = 111; 16.4%). Young Indigenous people (vs. white) were significantly more likely to be handcuffed or arrested (OR=3.26; 1.43, 7.43). Statistical significance held after adjusting for history of police encounters and contextual factors. Findings suggest that police discretion, which has the potential to benefit youth, may be undermined by discriminatory applications of discretion.

Description

We would like to thank Bruce Wallace and Scott Wortley for their assistance with this manuscript and study and all the young people, community partners, and research associates who made this study possible. The Youth Experiences Project was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant (#435-2016-0497). The Youth Experiences Project is supported by a Canadian HIV Trials Network / Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research Postdoctoral Fellowship award, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Trainee award, and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Health Systems Impact Fellowship award. NJL is supported by a MSFHR Scholar award.

Keywords

police encounters, policing discrimination, youth

Citation

Card, K. G., Selfridge, M., Greer, A., Hepburn, K., Fournier, A. B., Sorge, J., Urbanoski, K., Pauly, B., Benoit, C., Lachowsky, N. J., & Macdonald, S. (2021). Event-level outcomes of police interactions with young people in three non-metropolitan cities across British Columbia, Canada. International Journal of Drug Policy, 91, 102824. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102824