Study: Fear of scrutiny has cops avoiding discretionary duties

Results of a new study suggest that police officers in Canada are increasingly reluctant to do their discretionary duties because they fear public scrutiny while on the job.

The concept is referred to as 'de-policing' by researchers at Ottawa's Carleton University.

It could happen when an officer avoids pulling someone over, or stopping a person they believe is suspicious because they fear blow-back.

Officers told researchers that they don't want to become the subject of the next viral video that calls police conduct into question.

Greg Brown, a former police officer, is the doctoral researcher who headed up this study.

He interviewed more than 3,600 cops from cities all over Canada, and some in New York State.

Brown says 7 in 10 are avoiding pro-active policing, while some are doing the minimum -- responding only to 911 calls.

There was also a story that surfaced in the research that involved an officer admitting that instead of rushing to a call about a person of colour having a mental health crisis, they drove the speed limit to get there, instead.

Brown says his research suggests that such perceptions are a problem in police services across Canada.