Police discretion postion - Essay Example

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Discretion is considered to be one of the most important tools used by the police because of the vastness, complexity and vagueness which are inherent characteristics of both…
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Police discretion postion
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"Police discretion postion"

Download file to see previous pages It is the action that a police officer takes, according to personal judgment, conscience, morals, attitude, and beliefs; as well as the officer’s education, training and experience.
This paper proposes to discuss the use of discretion in police work. The mythical aspects of the use of discretion, the sources, and the methods by which police discretion may be controlled will be identified. From the analysis a list will be created of ten police actions in which discretion may be used, and the reasons for their use will be given. Further, the use of discretion in each of the police actions will be justified either as reasonable, or denounced as an abuse of power.
In the maintenance of order and in crime prevention police officers play a complex and sensitive role which extends far beyond merely arresting law breakers. Historically, police have asserted authority in several ways, often not involving arrest. In more commonplace police actions such as handling alcoholics and panhandlers or resolving disputes between neighbours, the police do not generally make any arrests. Though exercising discretion is essential, the police should not be allowed to employ random or arbitrary policing. Also, rather than strictly following a rule book, policing should reflect a neighborhood’s values and sense of justice, and should be in line with residents’ concerns so that justice will be achieved. Increasingly, the police officer’s role in the justice process demands “greater commitment to developing policy guidelines that set standards, shape the inevitable use of discretion, and support community involvement” (Kelling, 1999: iii). Furthermore, formal training of police personnel should include some basic factors to teach them to act democratically as well as judiciously in their work, in order to successfully achieve outcomes which are just (Marenin, 2004).
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