To Serve and Protect
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 20 Nov 1969, p. 128-142
Mackey, Chief James, Speaker
Media Type
Item Type
The operation of the police department, and some of the controversial subjects involving the police which hit the headlines from time to time. A brief history of policing in the City of Toronto and surrounding areas. A look at the increase in crime over the past ten years, with some statistics. Reasons for the increase in crime. The increase in the use of drugs in Toronto, with some statistics. The difficulty of finding solutions to the drug problem. The formation of the Council on Drug Abuse (CODA) and its purpose. The issue of pornographic literature and films. Organized crime. Theft of bonds and securities. Dealing with criticism. Asking for support. The administrative side of the police force. The continuing job of serving and protecting.
Date of Original
20 Nov 1969
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Full Text
NOVEMBER 20, 1969
To Serve and Protect
CHAIRMAN The President, H. Ian Macdonald


"The final result of absolute freedom would be absolute anarchy." So wrote the Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky. Civilization is a story of the constant struggle between order and freedom, and between social control and individual expression. The legislators make laws, the judiciary interprets them, and the police forces are entrusted with the sensitive responsibility of enforcing them.

However, in a world of rapid social change, instant communication and widespread personal anonymity, these theoretical distinctions are difficult to draw. In actual practice, the man on the street encounters the arm of the law more frequently than the voice of the legislator or the eye of the judiciary. May I assure you that the symbolism is intended neither as a parody nor as a criticism. It follows that the man who directs that arm must be an unusual man--at least, if he is to be successful and to survive. He must enforce the law in a manner that ensures our individual freedom while maintaining the social order.

In the person of Chief James Mackey, the people of Metropolitan Toronto have such a man, and we can be happy that we have. Chief Mackey knows and loves Toronto, the city of his birth. He knows and loves the Toronto police force, of which he has been a member since his appointment as a Third Class Constable in 1936.

Perhaps it is an unfortunate consequence of our motorized society that most citizens only encounter the police directing traffic. It is certainly not easy to feel a warm empathy with the man who waves at you frantically and overwhelms you vocally. As an antidote, I would suggest that every citizen should spend an evening on the receiving end of the Toronto police communications centre where calls from the frightened, the helpless, the infirm, the victims of fearful accidents, the threatened, the molested, and the hopeless pour through in a relentless torrent. Only then is it possible to understand that the police of this city are a positive social force which can turn its back on no request for help--however sordid or sickening.

The man who heads this force today bears a great responsibility as he has done for eleven years. In an interview last summer in the Toronto Daily Star, he said of himself: "I am a long way from being the best police chief around. But I try to be reasonable and I try to be honest." Sir, your modesty does you an injustice, and I believe that the people of Toronto realize today the high stature of their police chief.

There are no aspects of police work that Chief Mackey did not experience intimately between the years of 1936 and 1958 when he became Chief of Police. He was successively a First Class Constable, a Detective, a Detective Sergeant, a Sergeant of Detectives, and finally an Inspector. The one interruption in that distinguished period was the two and a one-half years following March 1943, when he became one of the "policemen of the skies" as a Pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

As in any field of public service today, the call to wider service is persistent, and James Mackey has answered that call faithfully--as Past President of both the Canadian and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, as a member of the Executive of the International Association, as a member of the Co-ordinating Committee of Criminal Intelligence Service for Canada, and the Governing Body of the equivalent Ontario organization. His interest in education and development is equally apparent in terms of his membership on the Advisory Council of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Toronto, of the Advisory Committee of Seneca College, and the Advisory Committee of the Ontario Police College.

In the Toronto Daily Star interview to which I referred, Chief Mackey expressed concern that: "The individual . . . doesn't understand what the policeman is trying to do." The members of the Empire Club of Canada are happy that you have agreed to speak today and to contribute further to our understanding of the objectives of the Metropolitan Toronto Police. This year, we have chosen to invite to the Empire Club those who can discuss with authority subjects which form the front line of the issues before our society. "To Serve and Protect" is a noble calling, indeed, and that is what Chief Mackey has chosen to speak on today.


Gentlemen: thank you for your kind invitation to speak to this distinguished gathering.

I suppose that most of you would like to know a little more about the operation of your police department, and about some of the controversial subjects involving the police which hit the headlines from time to time.

What might be called the first police force in Toronto was established in 1834, the same year that the Town of York was incorporated as the City of Toronto. The Force operated under a committee of council until the year 1858, when it was placed under a Board of Commissioners of Police, made up of the Mayor of the City, a York County Judge, and a City Magistrate. Over the years, other police forces were formed in the surrounding municipalities, some under the control of Boards of Commissioners of Police, and others under the control of committees of the local councils. Boards have been a most successful means of control of police departments.

Following the creation of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in 1953, a special committee, under the chairmanship of the then Reeve of Forest Hill, Mr. C. O. Bick, was set up to study the advisability of amalgamating the police forces of the City of Toronto and the twelve suburban municipalities. This committee recommended that not only was it desirable, but it was a necessity to amalgamate all of the thirteen forces. As a result, in 1956, the provincial government enacted an amendment to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, and the Metropolitan Police Force came into being on January 1st, 1957.

Amalgamation of the forces has been successful, and has been studied by many legislators from the United States. A good measure of the success is due to the efforts of our own Board.

Since the formation of the Metro Force, we have seen great changes in crime and traffic trends, in law enforcement, in attitudes towards the punishment of offenders, towards discipline, and towards morality. We have seen demands for ever increasing civil rights and privileges, and we have seen the tremendous growth of the metropolitan area.

Let us take a look at the increase in crime over the past ten years.

While the population has increased a little more than 28%, the number of Criminal Code occurrences has increased more than 93 % . In terms of crime rate per thousand population, this means a jump from 38.3 per thousand in 1959, to 56.8 per thousand in 1968.

While I do not intend to bore you with a lot of figures, you might be interested to know that during the same period, the number of Metro Police personnel (excluding civilians) increased from 2,141 to 3,187; motor vehicle registrations increased from 498,273 to 784,940; and traffic accidents increased from 22,664 to 34,204. For the first year of amalgamation, police expenditure was $12,660,019. Our estimated total expenditure for 1969 is $42,999,423.

There are several reasons to take into account when studying the increase in crime.

First of all, we are now recording all crimes known to us. For example, at one time, a crime committed by a juvenile was seldom reported as an occurrence unless it was a major offence. Today, we have a youth bureau working with the young people and, even if no charge is laid, an occurrence report is completed, and it is recorded as an offence. I might add here, that practically all juveniles charged are released to their parents for appearance in court.

Citizens are reporting more crimes. In the past, many citizens did not bother to report smaller thefts.

The increase in the number of beverage outlets, and hours of sale, has increased the number of assaults, assaults and robberies, and other offences.

The great increase in the abusive use of drugs, such as marijuana, barbiturates, and amphetamines has led to more criminal offences.

Bail is granted to practically everyone charged with a criminal offence, regardless of the person's background and, in some instances, individuals have been bailed as many as five and six times on different offences before coming to trial on the charge for which they were first arrested. It is commonplace for an individual to be arrested and bailed and, while on bail, found again committing the same type of offence.

The more heavily populated areas of the city bring people into conflict with each other, and this develops a higher crime ratio.

I am sure you are all aware of the suggestion that the sale of marijuana should be legalized, subject to certain controls. Some would not be concerned and, as a matter of fact, recommend its use, even to their own children. This seems unbelievable.

Let me give you some statistics as to the increase in the use of drugs in Toronto. In 1964, only 93 persons were charged under the Narcotics Control Act, of which 7 involved marijuana. By 1968, some 671 persons were charged, and 597 involved marijuana. The 1969 figures will be even higher.

Drugs are being used in the high schools and universities, and by some of the senior public school children, and I don't think you or I can afford to take a neutral position over this problem.

There is probably no greater or frequent concern to every parent, or grandparent, than that regarding the current drug scene. There is the fear of the drugs themselves. There is the fear of their effect on the body and mind of the youngster. There is the fear that drug use will lead to something worse. There is the fear the teenager will abandon school and other worthwhile goals. And last, but not least, there is the fear of the disruption of family ties.

This fear has possibly already struck home for some of you. We always like to think it can't happen to us, but it has happened to many families, some of whom have come to me personally, and to our Morality Bureau, looking for help and guidance.

We hear from many sources that marijuana is not addictive. This may well be so, but surveys carried out in the United States and Great Britain show that the majority of those questioned about how they got started on heroin, indicate they had begun on marijuana.

On the other hand, many youngsters have tried marijuana, and abandoned it.

We know of no case where marijuana, barbiturates, amphetamines, and L.S.D. have been of any help to any individual when they were not used under medical supervision. Further, as far as I know, marijuana has no known use in medical practice.

And it should also be remembered that in 1957, the World Health Organization placed marijuana in a special category with narcotic drugs that are particularly liable to abuse, and even though there is a very vocal minority clamouring for restrictions to be lifted, I think this is one area where we should proceed very slowly until we learn the results of the experiments which, I understand, are now being carried out under the auspices of the federal government.

Apart from the drug users, from whom adverse criticism can always be expected, the police have been criticized by some members of the news media, by certain members of the medical profession, and other well meaning, but often misinformed, individuals, about the manner in which they enforce the drug laws. And yet what do most of these critics offer in return?

According to an article which appeared in a Toronto newspaper last week, none of Metro's handful of medical experts in the drug field has any kind of an answer to the problem. Police campaigns against "speed" and other drugs leave the experts laughing, according to the article. But what do they offer to replace them?

Also, according to these experts, police are more ignorant about drugs than most people. But what are the experts doing to dispel this ignorance?

One could shrug off this sort of thing because the paths of history are paved with the opinions of thousands of so-called experts who eventually have proven to be wrong, but what concerns me is that this destructive criticism of the police and, in particular, dissemination of distorted information, can only help the drug pusher.

I am greatly concerned that the youth of this country, and some adults, are being misled in the use of drugs, and we should do everything in our power to prevent their indiscriminate use.

What seems to be overlooked by some people who become so outraged when the courts impose heavy sentences on drug traffickers is that drugs are circulated by the pushers, not because they look on themselves as benefactors, or because they are interested in the welfare of the young, but because they are interested in making money--and lots of it. They haven't the slightest interest in the adverse effects of the drug on the user. It is, therefore, up to the public, of which you are a very important part, to support the courts, and the police, in their efforts to control drug abuse of all kinds.

While on this subject of drugs--and enforcement--and permissiveness--I can't help but compare the situation with that in the world of horse racing. There they have the strictest rules imaginable concerning the use of drugs on horses, and woe betide any person suspected of using any kind of a drug before a race.

Everybody seems to agree that very strict rules are necessary, and these rules are supported by everyone connected with horse racing, right down to the two dollar bettor. Why is there this strong support? The answer, of course, is money. Nobody wants to be cheated. But where human beings are involved, it's a very different story, isn't it?

One last word about this very serious problem of drugs. A number of pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, who have become vitally concerned about the increasing misuse and abuse of drugs, have united in a common effort to combat the problem through a national programme of preventive education, and to this end they have formed an organization called the Council on Drug Abuse, CODA, for short.

They would welcome your help and, if you are interested, you can obtain further information from the executive director at 43 Eglinton Avenue East.

Another problem which is disturbing me a great deal is the matter of pornographic literature and films. We have quite a flood of it today, and I suggest you take a walk up Yonge Street, drop into some of the book stores, and see the material that is being sold under the sacred name of art. Also, take a look at some of the restricted films and plays that are shown here from time to time. Those of you who do not know what is going on will probably get quite a shock.

On this whole question of pornography, I would say to you--do not sit back and leave it to the police to express an opinion on your behalf. Make your opinion known to the federal and provincial authorities.

If you believe that pornography should not be given free licence, let your voice be heard. Let your voice of protest be as loud, and as strong, as of those who would have us believe that, under the guise of democracy, free speech, and art, anything goes.

In the whole field of crime--and drugs--and pornography--it would be well to remember Edmund Burke's warning of two hundred years ago--"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

No doubt, another area of concern to you is that of organized crime. Is crime, or some areas of crime, controlled by the Mafia from across the border, or within our own borders?

Well--we do have organized groups who perpetrate large frauds, large thefts, etc. We have always had such groups, but today they are much more sophisticated, operating in much the same way as any efficient business.

We have a number of people in this province who are associated with the Mafia, or Syndicate, as they are sometimes referred to, but to the best of our knowledge, they do not have control over any particular phase of crime operation.

We are concerned, however, with attempts being made, and some of which are apparently successful, to purchase businesses in Ontario with money which cannot be successfully investigated back to its source. There is every reason to believe that this kind of money is also being used to buy Canadian stocks.

This is an area where some of you may have suspicions regarding the purchases of businesses. We would, therefore, ask your co-operation in bringing such suspicions to the attention of our Intelligence Bureau, or the Intelligence Bureau of the Ontario Police Commission, as we have law enforcement people actively engaged all over the province trying to keep out this Syndicate that has such control over some areas of crime in the United States. We hope to have some more definite guidelines for you in the very near future.

Although the Brockville Trust robbery took place in 1954, it is still an outstanding example of the international transactions of stolen securities, and the large number of people involved. Within forty-eight hours of the reported theft, bonds from the bank showed up in Switzerland, and some were also offered the same day for sale in Toronto. Since that time bonds from this bank have shown up in various parts of the world, especially in New York and Chicago. In Canada they have been recovered in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, and Vancouver. In one instance, the investigators were able to determine that a quantity of the bonds--$50,000 worth--were in a bank at Newark, New Jersey, and the very next day they were in the possession of an insurance adjuster in Montreal. Many of these bonds came to light when the financial institute, which was holding them for collateral, presented them for payment.

A few years ago a doctor's home was entered in Burlington, and a number of bonds were stolen. They appeared to have vanished from circulation until recently, when they came back to this country, through financial channels, for payment. They were traced back to a firm in Lichtenstein, where they had been sold.

Our department is still investigating the theft of a $100,000 Government of Canada bond from a local brokerage house. The bond, after being stolen, was sold, and other stock certificates obtained for it. Some of these stock certificates were eventually sold in the Toronto area, and others were sold in Switzerland. Two men are presently under arrest and awaiting trial in England. One of these men had close connections with people in the United States and Canada who have, in the past, been involved in the handling of stolen bonds, and it is believed that he has been used as a courier.

In 1968 it came to our attention that seven million dollars in securities had been stolen from a New York brokerage house. Several persons have been arrested, and the stocks and shares are turning up in Boston, New York, Miami, Montreal, Hamilton, and Toronto.

Unfortunately, our investigations are involving not only known criminals, but also others who, prior to this, had no known contact with the criminal element. We believe it is because of the enormous amounts involved that some of these people have been influenced into taking a chance.

There is no set pattern for the possession of these bonds. We have come across them in possession of various individuals who appear to be closely connected, by association, whether they are in Canada, the United States, England, or other European countries. Some of the bonds are tendered in a group, possibly to the value of $100,000, stolen from a bank, but amongst them will be a $100 bond stolen from a housebreaking.

I am not trying to sensationalize this situation, but I want to point out to you where businessmen can get badly involved, and to give you some idea of the scope of these operations.

This brings us to the use of audio surveillance, which has been such a controversial subject over the last two or three years. Let me assure you that unless you are involved in crime you have absolutely nothing to worry about your telephone being bugged by the police.

I think I should make it clear also that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police recommended that the use of all types of audio surveillance be made illegal, except by law enforcement agencies. We did recommend to the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs that the control of the use of audio surveillance should be left to the discretion of the chiefs of police, and I am still of that opinion. Our only interest in the use of such equipment is to protect you and the rest of the citizens of Canada. I hope that the legislators will agree with us.

I am sure another concern to you is what to expect from your police department. I am referring now to the recent situation in Montreal.

Was it money alone that created the problem in Montreal? No doubt, it was part of the problem, but I think it was desperation that triggered the incident. For too long now the police have been criticized publicly for every error they make, and for the many they do not make. They have been on the defensive for so long, something had to give.

Do not misunderstand what I am saying. We must be subject to constructive criticism and in no way do I support any stoppage of work or slow-down by police officers. I am confident that we have all learned a lesson from the Montreal incident, and that it will not happen again in Canada. But I would suggest that you do not forget about the people you have hired to protect you, and that you do your best to see that they are treated as fairly as anyone else in the community.

From time to time, we receive harsh criticism regarding the conduct of police officers and, sometimes, incidents are blown up out of all proportion to the actual occurrence.

I think it would be helpful to the police, and the public, if the critics kept a few facts in mind on these occasions.

For instance, in 1968, over 420,000 motorists were stopped in Toronto and summonsed for a variety of offences under the Highway Traffic Act. Over 40,000 persons were arrested. Nearly 300,000 were stopped and questioned. Some 34,000 traffic accidents were investigated. Tens of thousands of calls requesting police attendance at all kinds of incidents--including such volatile affairs as disputes between landlords and tenants, and husbands and wives were answered. From all of these innumerable, and very personal contacts between police and public, a public which it should be remembered is made up of very many different personalities, we received 278 complaints concerning the conduct of individual officers. Most of these complaints were of a comparatively minor nature, and many of them were completely unfounded.

You might also be interested to know that I personally receive, on an average, about fifty letters a month from citizens commending police officers for acts of courtesy and kindness.

And now I would like to say a few words about the administrative side of the force.

Like most businesses, we have found it necessary to pay more and more attention to informing the public of our services. For example, in our constant fight against crime, we are seeking, by means of our Checkmate and other programmes, the active help of the public, and I am glad to say that we are meeting with some success.

Many persons are becoming increasingly concerned over the problems of the police, and we have received, and are receiving, many offers of assistance from public-spirited individuals, and companies, in the advertising and other fields, and from the news media.

By its very nature, policing cannot ever hope to win one hundred per cent support from all sectors of the community, but we do want, and in fact need, the support and understanding of all reasonable law-abiding citizens.

We are constantly exploring new methods and new ways to prevent crime, as well as apprehend criminals, and for some time we have been experimenting with the use of closed circuit television. We have used it for the surveillance of stores, shopping plazas, demonstrations, and cell block areas in police stations and the results have been gratifying. We hope that within the next year or two it will be possible to have both fixed and mobile installations in continual use.

One very important sector of the police department that receives very little publicity, but without which it would be practically impossible to operate efficiently, is the communications branch. Last year, more than one and a half million messages were sent out over the air and, with the steady expansion of the force, the system is now overloaded.

Plans are well under way for a completely new set-up involving telephone, teleprinter, mobile, and hand-carried communications facilities. The nucleus of this system will involve the use of twenty-four radio frequencies, and the police computer will be used as a means of storing and distributing requests for police assistance.

The new system will be designed with a capability which will permit the eventual installation of teleprinters in mobile vehicles, and the possible implementation of a vehicle locating system which could operate to an accuracy of 150 feet.

Beat radio systems, separate from the system used to communicate with the vehicles, will provide extended two-way communications with police officers on foot patrol.

When completed, I believe we will have one of the finest police communication networks on the continent.

In the fall of 1968, an I.B.M. 360 Model 20 computer was installed at police headquarters, and approximately seventy source programmes have been written covering various areas in the police administrative field.

Most of our senior officers have attended study sessions covering its operation, its uses and benefits, and we are now in a position to take full advantage of its capabilities.

Eventually, it is hoped we will be tied in with provincial and national police computers, and be in a position to check out suspected persons, and identify stolen cars and other property, within a total time of less than four minutes.

Before concluding, I would like to comment on the many articles that are appearing in the press which would lead us to believe that the majority of the younger generation have either taken to the drug habit, or have experimented with it.

Very definitely, we have a serious situation with some young people taking drugs. However, it is our experience that the very large majority of young people in Toronto are good, intelligent, clean cut youngsters. But all of them need help and assistance at some stage of their adolescence, and to those of you who have children, I urge you not to abandon them to the outside world altogether. Live with them. Try to understand them. Be with them during their difficult times.

In this regard I was pleased to see the letter in a Toronto newspaper yesterday from a Grade 13 class at Ajax High School indicating that, in the opinion of the class, not anywhere near 60% of the students were drug users. I agree with that opinion.

In conclusion, gentlemen, may I just say that while we are going through uncertain times today, I am sure I speak for every member of the Metropolitan Toronto Force, and for many thousands of police officers across the country, when I say that our job is to serve and protect, and we will do that with all our strength.

Mr. Mackey was thanked on behalf of the Empire Club by Mr. H. Allan Leal.

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To Serve and Protect

The operation of the police department, and some of the controversial subjects involving the police which hit the headlines from time to time. A brief history of policing in the City of Toronto and surrounding areas. A look at the increase in crime over the past ten years, with some statistics. Reasons for the increase in crime. The increase in the use of drugs in Toronto, with some statistics. The difficulty of finding solutions to the drug problem. The formation of the Council on Drug Abuse (CODA) and its purpose. The issue of pornographic literature and films. Organized crime. Theft of bonds and securities. Dealing with criticism. Asking for support. The administrative side of the police force. The continuing job of serving and protecting.