- Which aspect/strategy of Policing do you consider the most important and why?
Policing is a fundamental role in criminal justice. Over the past few early centuries, there were minimal to no policing for normal citizens. Policing is simply the implementation of law and order by the police and federal law enforcement agencies (Bernard & Engel, 2001). Policing is vital in today’s law enforcement duties with some felonies being different from other crimes contextually. There are new crimes reported daily with an increase of new perpetrators committing a high percentage of the crimes. There are also those perpetrators who have ‘roughed shoulders’ with the law enforcement agency before and have faced the justice system, which is part of policing, only to repeat the acts of crime and be caught while at it. Due to the nature of police activities, several strategies/aspects of policing are vital to the welfare of the citizens of a nation.
One of the strategies that I consider important is proactive policing. This is because it enables police officers to prevent the execution of criminal activities by showing police presence in an area. Proactive policing, however, does not ‘sit’ well with citizens as they believe that police officers fail in executing their duties and they do not respond to a citizen’s call for help (Bernard & Engel, 2001). This shows how police officers alienate themselves from locals of a community who might have an idea of who or what gang is responsible for a crime. Policing by consent, also known as Peelian principles, is another important strategy as it is normally used by law enforcement agencies to offer their services to consenting citizens who recognize the police as an independent and transparent organization. This policy was achieved through the principles which advocated for the establishment of a central and organized police. The functions of the police were to enhance security and protect the property of the state. Policing by consent shows the role of the citizens and their willingness to support the police in their line of duty. This, however, does not prioritize a citizen to be compelled to support the police and the fight against crimes. Another vital strategy is the predictive policing. Predictive policing is simply the use of analytical and mathematical techniques to identify a potentially criminal activity and prevent the crime from taking place. Predictive policing requires proactive strategies with strong relationships between law enforcement officers and the citizens for it to succeed. This, in turn, will help assist the police to fight crimes with success.
Evidence-based policing is a significant strategy normally used by the police to investigate and verify the facts of a crime (Weisburd & Eck, 2004). This type of policing emphasizes the use of other policies such as predictive policing and intelligence-led policing to balance the science that identifies crimes and the perpetrators. Evidence-based policing is based upon the science and the truth found through the science to discern the fact about a crime. In cases of serious, violent crimes an evidence-based policing is always the best to be used. Intelligence-led policing is important as it is based on risks. This policy was seen as quite important during the 9/11 terror attacks. If there were intelligence that could have been passed, maybe, a lot of lives would have been saved. The whole system of intelligence-led policing is based around intelligent agencies like the FBI and CIA. Intelligence-led policing relies on other policies for building strong cases against crime offenders. This shows that community participation is very important just as it is important for law enforcement agencies to adhere to its responsibilities to the population.
The most common and important strategy of policing is through the community (Weisburd & Eck, 2004). Community policing is the integration of locals of a particular community to understand the importance of a healthy relationship between a police officer and a citizen. Community policing builds relationships between the law enforcement agencies and organizations like the media, private businesses, government agencies, and community members. This not only helps in creating partnerships but also enables the public to develop problem-solving solutions that might affect the community. Community policing and problem-oriented policing are similar in the sense that both policies require the participation and willingness of a community to help in the fight against crimes. Problem-oriented policing requires a law enforcement agent to be able to ascertain, manage, and solve a problem that is observed in a community. This enables the law agent to identify the root cause of the distress. Being able to identify the causes and reasons that promote crimes is part of the community and problem-oriented policies. Community policing promotes neighborhood watches and community-civilian education that assist the law enforcement agencies to rely on community-based crime prevention. When compared to traditional policing, community policing does not necessarily focus on criminals rather it centers on the crimes committed in the community and how the public can resolve the crimes. Moreover, the community, business leaders, and the police are able to meet and talk about the issues that affect the community and the suggestions from the leaders and the people on how to improve the security of everyone living in the society. This becomes beneficial for the police as it makes it easier to identify the problems that affect and trouble people from the community.
- Discuss what the most interesting part of Policing is to you and what you learned in this course about policing or approaches to Policing that you did not previously know
The most interesting thing about policing is the attributes associated with it (Morgan & Newburn, 1997). From the science to community integration, the police have the mandate of ensuring that every citizen has the right to a free and secure environment that would not cause any harm whatsoever. Community policing has replicated Peelian’s principles only that the difference is willingness and participation of a community. This shows that through the evolution of the police, awareness has been identified on the relationship patterns between the law enforcement agencies and the community at large. The confidence of the public in the police has been on the decline with all the negativity surrounding the agency. Rampant corruption cases and implications have caused public dissatisfaction with the organization as it is believed they ‘mix up’ and ‘exchange handshakes’ with crime lords and kingpins on the streets thus making it unsafe for ordinary community members. Neighborhood watchdogs are the best ‘inventions’ created by the partnership of the community and the police. These watchdog units have simplified the overall duty of a police officer in terms of neighborhood patrols and frequent visits in and around the community. The neighborhood watchdogs collaborate with the police to patrol the community and solve any issue that affects the community. However, these neighborhood watchdogs do not necessarily focus on the criminals rather they try to solve most problems that they can. On the other hand, the main role of a police officer is to track down, find evidence, and arrest a criminal. This shows that the police and the watchdog have different priorities, which identify the interests of the two organizations.
The various aspects of policing have shown how important public participation is to the police or any other law enforcement agency (Eck & Maguire, 2000). The policies show that the entire law enforcement system has changed and with the new policies that are introduced to various police departments across the nation, fighting crime will be a little bit easy if not efficient. The purpose for policing is to ensure that the existing avenues can be used to identify and possibly manage to prevent a crime that is bound to be committed by a criminal. Law enforcement agencies have had poor relationships with the public because of the poor confidence the public has in these agencies. The policies identify with public participation while enabling the law enforcement agencies to combat crime with ease. This is evident with the community policing that constitutes of the community and business leaders, government agencies and other partners. As stated above, the role of the community and the public at large is very crucial in the war against crimes. Through the community, the law enforcement agencies are able to identify criminals who are targeted and be able to thwart any attempts of crime. Policing has identified the need for cooperation between both parties, that is, the law enforcement agencies and the public. With the community policing, the public, through awareness, is encouraged to participate in activities like neighborhood watchdog meetings and voice their suggestions on the kind of security they want. The police should work on and improve on public’s confidence in them by eradicating acts of corruption and acts of prejudice. This will foster a new relationship between the law enforcement agencies and the public.
In this course, I have learnt of the various strategies and aspects of policing implemented to help in fighting and preventing the serious commission of crimes. For instance, a problem-based policing requires a law enforcement agent to identify and understand the cause of a brewing problem and how the law enforcement agent should approach such a situation. This may happen in case there is a disagreement that can be controlled. In a scenario where the disagreement has gone out of control, the law enforcement agent is expected to intervene and try to resolve the matter without using force. This policy increases or boosts the public confidence in a law enforcement agent if a disruption of peace is resolved quietly and efficiently (Weatherburn, 2001). The integration of the community in policing shows the willingness of the law enforcement agencies to work together with the public to reduce or diminish the high rates of criminal activities that take place in the communities. The evidence-based policing requires analysis of data or evidence to arrest a culprit. This can be enhanced with the partnerships of the public and law enforcement agencies. The public or a community might hide a criminal due to the convictions of the community with regard to the police or any other law enforcement agency or attributable to the affiliation the community has with the suspect. These three policies emphasize the importance of public participation in policing. Community policing has been implemented and is still being applied in various communities around the globe. It is evident from community policing that police and other law enforcement agencies have started to gain respect again from the public thanks to the integration of the community in having a say about security.
- Discuss what you learned about yourself during this course
During this course, I learned that as a member of the community and the public, it is imperative to understand and support the entire law enforcement agencies. As part of the community, the neighborhood watchdog meetings should spread all over the community and reach many community members who will ultimately benefit from these meetings. Public awareness has taught of the importance of creating positive relationships with the law enforcement agents in a bid to prevent criminal activities (Eck & Maguire, 2000). The law enforcement agents who participate in community policing are best placed to clarify the roles of a community-based watchdog operations over the tasks of the police force. As a member of the community, the major lesson that I have learned is to help the community be free from criminals by practicing skills that will enhance keeping the criminals at bay.
The law enforcement agencies should emphasize the relationship between the agencies and the communities for the welfare of each other and the nation (Eck & Maguire, 2000). Lessons learned emphasize that a decrease in crime will be effective if my participation is implemented through my willingness and that of other members of the community. As a member of the community, I should find ways to support the police in the fight against crime and should find ways to keep the community busy to avoid the unemployed members from participating in criminal activities. This proves that with willingness, participation, and cooperation, a community and its people are to benefit from excellent security services even though the police are offering part of the services. As a good human being, I will coordinate with the authorities to ensure safety for everyone.
Bernard, T. J., & Engel, R. S. (2001). Conceptualizing criminal justice theory. Justice Quarterly, 18(1), 1-30.
Eck, J. E., & Maguire, E. R. (2000). Have changes in policing reduced violent crime? An assessment of the evidence. The crime drop in America, 207, 228.
Morgan, R., & Newburn, T. (1997). The future of policing. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Weatherburn, D. (2001). What causes crime?. BOCSAR NSW Crime and Justice Bulletins, 1(1), 11.
Weisburd, D., & Eck, J. E. (2004). What can police do to reduce crime, disorder, and fear?. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 593(1), 42-65.