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Criminal Justice System

Essay by review  •  February 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,366 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,040 Views

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As long as criminal activity exists within the world, there will be a demand from society to control and alleviate it. As Tonry & Morris (1984) state, the early work of Sir John Peel towards the end of the nineteenth century regarding policing, is merely a distant reminder of what early societal protection was like. Since then, many dramatic changes have occurred within both the structure and the purpose of the police force, providing the foundations of the present service which exists today.

From the 1960's to the 1980's, there existed many protests and unrests within society, such as the issues regarding the politicisation of policing throughout the 1970's. As Morgan & Newburn (1997) state, towards the end of the 80's, the Conservative government embarked upon the privatisation and most prolific re-structuring of the police force. The Conservative government focused

the bulk of its law and order attention on the police (Morgan & Newburn, 1997, p. 2). This involved introducing enquiries into police responsibilities and their goals, as well as including guidelines for correct forms of policing. However, despite remaining throughout the majority of the 1990's, the Conservative governments approach was to be overhauled and replaced with New Labours plans to create a more professionally structured and managerialised police service. However, Smith (1960) argues that when politics and discussions relating to police take place, the result is poor leadership, personnel management, general service and an overall decline in police prestige (Smith, 1960 In: Langworthy, 1986). Despite this Labour's plans were to look at the existing policing techniques and develop them to provide a combination of care and control within society. This theory would not only look at professional and controlled methods of policing, but also adopt community policing and greater police involvement with the community on a more basic level. This took the form of working within partnership with other organisations, such as helping the elderly or mentally ill. Inevitably their aim was to provide a controlled, well structured service that could also be representable and approachable to a greater population of the society.

The initial main police force, which was built around the ideas and concepts of the Conservative government, existed largely from the late 1980's to mid 90's, and adopted the principle that effective crime control was dependent on the amount of public money spent. These administrative police, known as uniformed police as well, were the main force in the police administrations. They are those who actually carry out the administrative police assignments, such as duty officers, guarding, patrolling, household visits and raiding. These police officers remove administrative perils and help to maintain administrative safety and benefits within society (http://www.npa.gov.tw/english/e_admdow.htm).

Traditional methods of policing rely heavily on deterrence through a visible presence of the police on patrol. However, many social changes have occurred over the decades and traditional policing methods may not be as effective in addressing the needs of the communities. Communities have become more diverse and the problems have changed as drugs and violent crimes have become more prevalent in urban communities. This had led to the re-organisation of the police services offered to the public, inevitably leading to the more direct, managerialised approach.

Over the last few decades there have often been changes to the structural model that the police forces within England and Wales adhere to. However, within an ever changing society, leading to the ideas of the 'bureaucratic model' of policing. The bureaucratic model of policing emerged during the turn of the century in America in an effort to reduce the amount of political influence found in policing. The model stressed a hierarchical structure for police organisations with a centralised authority largely responsible for generating organisational policies and procedures (http://db.bbc.co.uk/crime/fighters/policeforce, 2004). The scientific principles of organisational theory were applied to police organisations in an effort to improve the efficiency. The police became formalised in their structure and an emphasis was placed on professionalism. The primary function of the police was crime control and the enforcement of the law (www.police.uk). This is the model of policing which is largely applied in the modern day world. There is an emphasis upon order maintenance and the management of policing issues, and what Goldstein (1977) referred to as being the 'professional model of police', (Goldstein, 1977, In: Langworthy, 1986).

Many problems and issues, as well as comparisons and contrasts, can be raised about both the community based administrative approach and that of the professional, controlled form of policing. The police work with the community in identifying problems and employing strategies, often focuses enforcement efforts on specific problems such as drug hot spots, to reduce both crime and the fear of crime in the community. However, community policing programs also stress a very different administrative style than previous models of policing. The implications for a community based program are far broader than merely reducing crime in the community; there is also a fundamental change in policing organisations and administrative styles which accompanies community policing programs.

There are several impediments to implementing community policing strategies. An organisation can implement a community policing program, though getting the officers to implement the program can be a major hurdle for police administrators. Secondly, the organisational culture within a police agency may not embrace and implement community policing strategies. The organisation must adopt a more democratic organisational style if community policing strategies are to be implemented effectively. This is an idea shared by Williams (2001), in which she states

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