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Criminal Justice

Cultural Considerations on Community Policing According to Sir Robert Peel

The primary theme of Sir Robert Peel’s belief on the constant indication of the role of police officers on the manner by which the community lives by is dependent on the cooperation that the society itself is ready to provide the police force. He believes that while the police force is given particular power to man the communities, they are also given the condition of handling one of the largest forms of responsibilities any individual could be endowed with. This belief, in accordance to his claim, should be the basic foundation on how any police officer would interpret his role in the society and the responsibilities that are placed upon his shoulder.

Giving service is what police force dedication is all about. In consideration to this matter, it could be understood that the police officers need to know that they should be able to be properly briefed on what they should be doing and who they are doing it for. This indicates the fact that police officers should note that the power given to them is limited. It may be of a higher authority over the others, but treating it with proper control is a must. Ideal as his thought about community policing is, it could be realized that somehow, the capacity of an individual to be specifically able to seek meaning out from the different situations that they meet with everyday would make every police officer a model servant to the public. Overall, his consideration over the need of a person enjoining the force to be specifically prepared for the task that they should be able to recognize to be specifically a part of their actual being, not just as part of their profession or a  way of living.

The term the police are the people and the people are the police as mentioned by Peel indicates how the situation in the community could be kept safe with the cooperation of all the parties involved. In a way, it means that somehow, it is the willingness of the community to be in one with the work of the police officers that the assurance of the community’s safety could be considered solid. Relatively, this means that somehow, the being of the police officers could only be shaped by the way the community responds with the role that they take in the course of entering the force. Nevertheless, the new ways by which the role of the police officers are defined by the community today, it could be observed that the division of reaction is obvious. It is as if there are at least 40% believing that the police force are able to completely handle their role effectively while the other 60% do not actually believe on the said matter. Due to the many news reports of police officers going the other way, perhaps even having no control of the authority that were placed upon their hands, people began to lose trust on those in uniform. Instead of being confident around their presence, many individuals feel more scared when they see someone in uniform. Media presentations and programs aim to recover the lost trust of the community on the police force but this requires more than just a  supposed visual indication of proof that the police could be trusted. What is required from the police force at this point is the complete change of culture. It is as if there is a need to reestablish the foundation of the police and begin to recover the situation from being specifically defaced from a few members of the force. Proving that they are the right people to handle such a big authority and power given under their control, the police force needs to go back the basics of their sworn responsibilities to the people that they serve. Not being affected by the condition of the changes that has occurred in the police force through time, a good police  officer ought to handle the consideration on what the basics are and how to apply their skills in following such conditions of service.

To add up to his conditions of imposing what community policing should be about, he enforced to create a distinction between prevention and curing the situation or in this case, resolving the cases of crimes and social chaos. He insists that the work of the police officers would be much easier to handle and would likely be more effective especially in relation to completing the mission they are supposed to comply with if they are able to foresee situations even before they happen. In consideration to this desire, it is expected that the police officers ought to make considerable adjustments to focus some of their resources on research and case analysis as well as profiling. Forensics is another branch of community policing that could help in the process of establishing the foundation of research that is needed in the creation of a more defined culture for the police force.

Preventing crime and community disorder as a focus in the development of the way the police force operates is a strong foundation of what good reputation the authorities need to establish in the face of the many controversies that they are facing. Police patrolling is one way to handle the situation, however, knowing when, where and how to patrol properly based on the research that has been handled by the administrators of the force could save a lot of time and effort that the police shall use. The administration of proper control during these particular operations could actually increase the competence of the police officers in handling social chaos.

Force and power are two complicated elements when used at the same time. Nevertheless, controlling one’s self in handling the situation could better define how one officer could actually become a better individual and a better servant of the public. Following the condition by which the law permits them to use force is what makes the police force a little bit stronger and more capable of accepting the trust that the community is ready to provide them with. Making sure that their name could be established in the face of the community they aim to serve specifically gives them the chance to better handle their responsibility without being stereotyped or at least judged because of the name that their fellow officers has made.

To make this specifically effective, every police officer should be given the chance to adjust their attitude and their perspective about their responsibility and their profession. Training the police officers with the proper skills needed to control the society and prevent crime is effective, but it is not efficient enough if these individuals would not be given the chance to harness the power that they were given. The manner by which modern officers face their responsibilities play a great role on how they are to handle new conditions of challenges in their work especially involving a diverse population in the community.

Peel points out that somehow, one of the most controversial problems in handling social disturbances is the fact that the people come from many different nations, living different cultures and speaking different languages. This condition makes it harder for the police officers to contain the situation according to the task that they are assigned to complete. This is the reason why it is suggested by Peel that retraining in the process of reestablishing a stronger backbone for the force should be a necessary step to take. As the environment being controlled changes, so should the process of guidance be adjusted accordingly. What makes the capacity of the police officers to handle their responsibilities well is that of the manner by which they are taught and guided well in facing possible situations they may deal with in the field. Given the chance to explore what more they could improve in the way they handle their responsibilities, the new age police officers should be given the proper sense of indication on how they should be able to mange particular stresses that they might actually be involved in. Changing their attitude and behavior on the being of each officer is the key source by which the complete change on the culture that the police officers recognize could be realized. Oneness of the officers and the community altogether could better defined to have a greater impact on the desire of cleaning the name of the police force and making them trustworthy in the face of the community again.

Now that Peel’s position has been examined more thoroughly, it is time to examine the cultural concerns and influences that affect justice and the security administration. It is important to consider Peel’s belief that the police are the public and the public are the police. This statement allows us to see that the police are people.

First of all, people suffer from many cultural influences that at times cause people to be prejudice. We can see this in things such as race riots or the fear of Muslims after September 11th. These aspects of culture lead people to act on these influences. Police can also at times act on these influences. That is why such things as racial profiling exist. This is a great concern for the public. This leads the public to question whether or not all people are being treated fairly within the justice system.

Racial profiling for example takes place when a specific race is being targeted by law enforcement when crimes are being committed. This is an unfortunate circumstance, but happens at times. This profiling is caused by stereotypes, and is unfair to the people being targeted. An example of this is assuming that all people of Mexican decent are illegal immigrants.

Unfair treatment can also be established when the holding facilities become crowded. Due to the lack of space, some offenders may be fined rather than confined, even though others may be serving time for the same offense. Again, this treatment is unfair, but happens at times.

Another issue may be women who have committed crimes. Women may at times seem to receive more lenient treatment due to their gender. Women who commit crimes should be held to the same standard as men, whether they are viewed as the weaker sex or not.

Crime is crime. These concerns are serious. It is important that issues such as these do not take place within our legal system. It is unfair to treat people differently based on race or gender. If a specific crime yields ten years in prison, the offender should receive ten years in prison regardless of race, gender, or an issue with overcrowding.

If the wrong groups are being targeted for crime this could cause other groups to commit crimes based on the fact that they may not be caught or serve a lesser sentence. This could also cause more recidivism for criminals who are not tried to greatest extent of the law as others are. It will also cause the people who are the target of racial profiling and other disparages such as this to be less respectful of the legal system. All factors are not in the best interest of society.

Another issue within the justice system could be recruitment plans to advance cultural adversity. These plans are detrimental to the system. Adversity within the justice system can lead to groupthink and hate. If a specific group is in control of the system and are discriminatory against certain cultures or races, this will be proven through decisions that are made within the system.

This are cultural issues that most societies face. Peel’s position basically states that the police are enforce in order to protect the law, understand the public, and gain the favor of the public. This can be a difficult situation to maintain if the police are known to actively discriminate against specific groups.

Sir Robert Peels’ fifth principal, “ Police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law,” fosters cultural diversity in the criminal justice. This principal is stating that regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or any other facet, the police are to act in the best interest of the law and not the best interests in beliefs or public opinion. This can be traced back to the events of September 11th. Though this particular event created a dominating fear of people of Arabic decent, specifically Muslims of Arabic decent, it is important not to cater to public opinion. The public would have liked for arrests to be made simply on the basis of race or religion at this time. The police needed to uphold the law and not discriminate toward this specific group of people. The law is the concern, not the person.

It is important that the police force is respected by the public. Without the respect of the public it will be nearly impossible to maintain order and protection of the law. It is difficult to protect the law when some police offers break the law as common criminals.

Peels’ positions on this matter lead us to see that the law is the reason for law enforcement. Law enforcement is in place to protect and uphold the law. They are not in place to single out groups of people or to decide what punishments will be achieved based on the race, gender or ethnicity of the criminal. There are rules that need to be maintained by all people. If these rules are broken then any individual will be help to same standard as any other individual. The law is the law.

References:

Das, Dilip K., Otwin Marenin (2000). Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective. Routledge. p. 17.

Ratcliffe, J. (2007) Strategic Thinking in Criminal Intelligence, Annadale, NSW: The Federation Press.

Sheptycki, J. (1995) ‘Transnational Policing and the Makings of a Postmodern State’, British Journal of Criminology, 1995, Vol. 35 No. 4 Autumn, pp. 613-635.

Larrabee. Law Enforcement: Sir Robert Peel’s Concept of Community Policing in Today’s Society. http://voices.yahoo.com/law-enforcement-sir-robert-peels-concept-community-638595.html. (Retrieved on April 29, 2013).