Posted: October 17th, 2013
Policing and accountability
Policing and accountability
Today, the modern police are the most significant and active part of the criminal justice system. In the common law of every state, they are the most critically viewed components in the criminal justice field. The modern police have some core functions they have to perform. They have to maintain the faith. The police officers promise to maintain the law, serve and protect the people. They promise this when they take the oath before resuming office. Therefore, the police officers are given the power to maintain the law. However, in turn, they have a function of keeping the faith and maintaining the oath. The modern police also have a function of respecting the citizens. Despite the granted powers, they should always have respect for the citizens. They should exercise their powers wisely. They always have to deal with difficult situations. Therefore, they should always act in a professional way when dealing with the citizens. They should serve the citizens fairly and equally irrespective of their race or gender (McLaughlin, & Muncie, 2001).
In addition to this, the modern police should also respect the office of the commissioner. They should be professional in their work and interactions with the office of the commissioner. When the police officers criticize their commissioners, the overall work performance reduces. This is because the motivation is reduced. However, the commissioners should be the ones to create an environment which allows the police officers to voice their opinions. Therefore, the modern police should always respect their leaders and avoid criticisms. The police officers should also work focusing on the future and not the past. They should always think about the choices they are asked to make. More focus should be placed on their work performance and not the actual work. The modern police also have a function of celebrating their heroes and their success. According to the modern police functions, it is a good thing.
The police discretion is a decision the police officers make independently. This enables them to identify whether a given situation led to law violation. It also determines if the situation requires standard procedures such as bookings or arrests. Therefore, in order for the police to make certain decisions, they have to make judgments based on the experience, skills, profession and the law. Discretion is also a vital factor in the police work especially in given situations. The police experience serious cases as compared to some of the minor ones. Therefore, in the situations where there is a weapon involvement, the police will tend to overreact. In addition, they always tend to be more interested in the situations in which they have initiated as compared to the situations in which the public has initiated. In the case of the media, they tend to be bureaucratic. This is especially when the audience are present. Therefore, the police have to practice discretion in order to know how to handle these situations wisely and professionally (Marma, De, Willem, Darren, Marinella, Willem & Palmer, 2012).
The police discretion is also a vital factor in the police work since it prevents unnecessary arrests. This mostly happens in the cases of domestic violence. Such cases leave the officers undecided on whether to arrest the accused or not. Therefore, they always seek the opinions of the social scientists and the academicians. The police are always reluctant when it comes to arresting the people accused of domestic abuse because this issue has always been considered a private matter. In addition, the victims to these cases are always uncooperative. However, the police can use discretion positively or negatively. Therefore, discretion is only positive when the choice is put to good and fair practice. The complexity of the discretion depends on the society’s needs. At times, the society may demand strict enforcements and at times non-enforcements. Therefore, when practicing discretion, the police officer should consider all the required factors in order to ensure proper justice (Findlay, 2004).
Findlay, M. (2004). Introducing policing: Challenges for police & Australian communities. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.
Marma, M., De Lint, W., Palmer, D. (2012). Crime and justice : a guide to criminology. Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia
McLaughlin, E., & In Muncie, J. (2001). Controlling crime. London: Sage in association with the Open University.
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