During this pandemic, what role should the police play in relation to homeless people, a highly vulnerable group that is subject to punitive and detrimental law enforcement measures? What should now be expected of the police as they adapt to the realities of this unprecedented crisis?
Professor Suzanne Bouclin has joined an interdisciplinary team of researchers, led by Professor Joe Hermer of the University of Toronto, to address this pressing situation through a project entitled “Pandemic Policing of the Homeless in Canada: From Crime Control to Public Health Strategy.”
This project will work to modify traditional police roles from a crime control approach to homelessness, to an approach that is more widely integrated into a public health response. This will involve a series of interventions that will provide evidence based public policy.
Funding for the project is provided by the University of Toronto’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, which aims to support research and response activities that will render near-term results with strong potential to positively impact individuals, communities and public health systems.
The Common Law Section congratulates Professors Bouclin, Hermer and the rest of their team, and applauds their commitment to helping to solve a pressing national challenge.