The Roles, Functions, and Styles of Policing
Police agencies’ roles depend rather on the goals which were set up by the chief executives and individual officers with respond to problems considered to be important for citizens. They often depend on political climate of the country and change with the times. So the role of police is to identify those crimes on which police sources should be concentrated, focusing on the crimes that may cause the most public fear and economic loss. The police functions are to enforce the law, to perform services, prevent crimes and protect the innocent. It is important to mention that the police officers have to maintain order and provide justice without violating human rights or resorting to extralegal means.
There exist several styles of policing. Among them the ‘watchman style’ which involves officer as a neighbor. In such situation the law is primarily used as a mean to maintain order and police ignore common minor violations. One more style is ‘legalistic style’, which means that the police officer is seen as a soldier. This style takes much harsher view on violations and assumes that the purpose of the role is to punish. This allows chief administrators to be sure that their officers are not engaged in corrupt behavior. Finally, police officers may practice ‘service style’, which means they are seen as teachers. This style is considered to fall between previous two styles. It means that the police will use informal sanctions instead of making arrests.
Who helps to set the roles of the police?
There are several individuals and groups who define the police role.
Among them are:
Private citizens: they contact police, participate in COPPS groups and elect public officials;
Legislative bodies: enact statutes which govern police and which police use to govern others;
The court: hand down decisions that regulate police conduct;
City managers and prosecutors: determine the types of cooperative agreements;
Police officers themselves: chose to intervene in some incidents while ignoring others.
How does the conflict of roles and style affect policing?
The role and style of police may depend on time and place. It means they depend on such circumstances as agency, political climate and the current problems of the day. So despite the fact that functions, roles and styles are mostly distinct, they may overlap.
Though it is common to think that police on a daily basis fight crime per se and the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension of criminals. This crime fighter image is extremely harmful to public and individual officers, as far as that creates unrealistic expectations about the ability of police to catch criminals. In fact, cops spend most of their time passively patrolling and providing emergency services. That is why it is particularly important to be as explicit as possible about the role of the police. We need to have a clear vision about what the police officers are supported to accomplish. Budgetary decisions also …