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date: 05 December 2023

Policing Violent Extremism in Canada and the United Stateslocked

Policing Violent Extremism in Canada and the United Stateslocked

  • Sara K. ThompsonSara K. ThompsonDepartment of Criminology, Toronto Metropolitan University


The changing and increasingly complex nature of violent extremism has prompted important changes to the ways police in Canada and the United States understand and respond to this violence. A burgeoning research literature examines the reasons underpinning these changes, documents the corresponding expansion of national security apparatuses in both countries and the policy and operational innovations that drove this expansion, and raises important questions about the way forward: Can an operational combination of enforcement and prevention-based programming complement and supplement one another in ways that improve the police response to extremist violence? How have public health frameworks been deployed in the context of police co-led extremism prevention programming? What are the most salient operational challenges for police and partner agencies? Is it possible to ensure that the police response is equitable and effective in responding to the current threat landscape? What role can research and evidence-based practice play to inform and assess the efficacy of current approaches? Such questions mirror the ways traditional, reactive, and enforcement-based approaches to policing violent extremism have been morally interrogated as the primary response to this violence. Lessons learned from an overemphasis on such approaches are imperative to the development of effective, legally and socially responsible approaches for responding to extremist violence in North America.


  • Policing
  • Prevention/Public Policy

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