Discretionary power usage is dependent upon the police’s preference of how to handle a case, along with opinions of professionals and reports from other criminal case reports. The legal aspect that is required however is very little. Since there is no specific rule to tackle the use of discretion by police officers, the Criminal Code only urges officers to implement it during their duties whilst dealing with young offenders (Bell, 2012). Prior researchers have discovered that the factors that affect police discretion may either be legal or extralegal. Since officers are required to utilize appropriate methods and strategies so as to make the offenders realize the gravity of their unlawful actions and correct themselves, it is important to find out the effective outcomes that police discretion yields.
The objectives of this research are to assess how police practice discretion with detained young offenders in Canada, to postulate a complete description of how the police practice discretion, and to recognize the various elements affecting discretion. This research investigates the following questions pertaining to the research:
1) What are the various factors that affect discretion of police with the detained adolescents?
2) How efficient is the Youth Criminal Justice Act structure in which the police practices discretion?
3) Has the amount of discretion practiced by the police changed from what it used to be previously?
In a welfare-based juvenile judicial system, deflecting the young offenders from formal court procedure is the standard process (Pepinsky, 1984). The primary functioning philosophy that lies in this juvenile system of justice is not only to enforce law but also to put an end to such crimes and ensure that the action is in the best interest of the (Schulenberg, 2004). The aim of such practice is to provide rehabilitation of the offender according to the response he or she gives. This type of discretion is especially during street patrol by police on the juvenile offender (Carrington & Schulenberg, 2004; Leeson & Snyder, 1981). According to research, around ninety percent of street patrol custodies depend on the reports the police has received rather than police holding them on their own accord (Carrington & Schelenberg, 2004). Thus most of the young offenders are tried on the basis of citizens’ complaints.