Police Discretion - Research Paper Example

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PD Police Discretion In the fast growing world, the crime rate is ever rising, hence the police officers in charge of daily civilian peace face a variety of situations which they have to deal with in order to maintain public law and order…
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Police Discretion
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Download file to see previous pages This is the soul essence of the report, the police officer and his judgment actions at the spot, in the field at a particular instance; a fact that differentiates a good officer from an average one. Definition Discretion can be described as a police officers’ will to act upon a certain situation or not and in what way. That is for example whether to stop a speeding motorist, book him or leave him with a gentle warning. The definition may be true but more often than not discretion is associated with use of force in the field. This discretion can be in either deciding to see force and if using so, how much and to what extent (Hunt 1985). Another school of thought preaches that the discretion of a police officer is with regard to the time spent on the situations coming across his desk or field when deployed. This can be explained by the example of a police officer helping a stranded motorist, using his duty time as a service duty, where as he could have avoided this situation (Engel 2007). Advantages The first and foremost benefit of handing over powers to a policeman in the field is the amount of time saved while taking a decision. Just imagine the hassle for a field person to refer to headquarters for each and every decision he has to take in the field. Therefore having discretion in his own hands, allows him to save time and act within the safe time region, where minimum damage is occurred to the law and order situation. Another positive that comes out from added discretion is primarily based upon the financial and physical resource distribution. In layman terms, the number of policemen, jails and courts are not enough for all the criminals to be given the same procedural approach. This will create havoc; hence the police discretion provides this advantage to the justice system (Goldstein 1977). If each and every discrepancy in the field or office needs a proper resolve, the men in the system will always be occupied with such minute stuff, making it very difficult for them to justify the call of duty for urgent pressing matters. Therefore a large force would be needed to do all this. So it can be easily said that saving resources is one of the largest benefit of putting authority in the hands of a police officer. (Engel 2007). Disadvantages The main problem associated with the above mentioned system is the lack of consistency as each officer has a separate way of perceiving the solution of the problem at hand which may result is disastrous situations. Behavioral patterns are very difficult to predict causing a massive dent in the police officer’s discretion supporters’ argument. This has seen to be the reason why there is an air of distrust on the officers on the part of the public which often leads to stand-offs between the two. Saying all this, the main problem is defined in all together another area. The most negative factor is the misuse of powers from the police. This often leads to violation of basic rights specially those which require body searches, property searches and protection against self-incrimination (Walker and Katz 2002). Forced Existence and Intelligent Use Questions are often raised about the whole authority into the individual hands system. The real and practical question being; that whether the police system can function without the discretion in the hands of a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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