What do the police do?

In Canada, the police are separate from government and from the military.

According to the Ontario Police Services Act, police services must include:

  • Crime prevention.
  • Law enforcement.
  • Assistance to victims of crime.
  • Public order maintenance.
  • Emergency response

Community Policing

Most police services in Canada use a community policing approach. This means that the police work with you and your community to prevent crime and to address safety issues.

Community policing can include:

  • Providing police services in languages other than English or French
  • Recruiting officers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to better reflect a community's needs
  • Meeting with neighbourhood residents to find out their concerns and ideas for solutions
  • Making police more visible, such as police on foot or bicycles instead of in cars
  • Offering or supporting crime prevention programs, such as Neighbourhood Watch
  • Doing public education, such as with young people or seniors

Victim Services

If you have been the victim of a crime police officers are often the first people you will speak to. They can help you find the help and emotional support you need.

The police work with the Victim Services Secretariat of the Ministry of the Attorney General to assist victims of crime.

If you need help, call the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888 or search for victim services online.

If you need to contact the police, read How can I get help from the police?

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Last updated: November 15, 2021 4000359