Perspectives on Policing
Policing is one of the most important requirements of a peaceful coexistence of the society. Policing can be described as an aspect of overseeing others to ensure that they keep to law and order. Therefore the most important work of the police is to enforce public orders and the enformace of the law.
In enforcing the law, the police force also helps to maintaining public order. The police force is given the mandate of enforcing law in the society. It ensures those individuals are given a space to practice their individual rights but in doing so they do not interfere with rights of others to practise their rights also.
The police force is given a mandate to oversee the public relationship therefore public service function is one of the most important aspects of the function of a police. In servicing the public, the police therefore are involved in an array of activities that are meant to ensure an enabling atmosphere of life in the public. In this regard, they integrate important function like management and directing of traffic, directing tourists, attending to emergences, and other functions beyond their normal function of arresting and container law breakers.
Therefore we can say that the public needs policing in order to be effective. This shows that the police will need to effective in their work in order to deal with various issues that arise in the management of order in the public. The force will need to be well prepared and well adapted to these challenges. The public is diverse so is the problems that the police needs to address in the public.
Therefore one of the most important issues that the police need to have is diversity in their training and in their composition of the force in order to address effectively all these issue. There need to have diversity in gender, training, and other aspects in order to function well. Lack of diversity may constrain their service to the public since the force will not be well prepared to cope with some of these challenges. Failure to deliver services will not be the only negative outcome of lack of diversity but it will also be compounded by bad perception by the public which many mirror the ineffectiveness of the force. (Joan 1998, P. 470)
Policing function and diversity
As we have stated diversity in the police force is one of the most important aspects that should be looked at. This is due to the effect that it’s likely to have on the overall perception and the effectiveness of the police force. Lack of diversity my constitution the enforcement of also as it may be difficult to offer effective services especially to the marginalised groups. It is imperative for all communities to feel represented in the police force also have faith and feel secure.
It has been shown that there is increasing malfunctioning of the police force as a result of lack of faith and mistrust between different ethnic groups depending on the way they feel represented in the force. In major cities in the world, there has been increasing conflicts between minority ethnic groups and the majority police force e.g. in the US there is increasing conflict between the white police and the Black American youths who feel that they are not represented in the police force.
As a result, there may be public reluctance to give information to the police for and hence undermines the issue of communicating policing. The public or the police are also likely for decline of appear as witness due to the relationship between the two. It has been shown that some of the crimes that are committed especially in the low income areas are due to marginalisation of these areas since they are not well represented in the police force. (Spencer and Hough 2000, p. 82)
When the marginalised groups feel that they are not well represented, they may resource to criminal activities or organisation of criminal gangs which assume the role of protecting the public where police have failed. There is also a likely hold the police order will not be recognised in the marginalised groups since they many not feel as a part of the larger society.
In some instance it has been shown that lack of integration of the marginalised groups in the police force can result to disquiet and in some case it can result to riots by the marginalised groups. There have been claims that the communities with feel marginalised always feel like they are mistreated by the police force and are likely to up rise against some police orders.
As we mentioned there is a likelihood of development of street groups which assume the role of police. This makes the streets more dangers not only for the police but also for the public and a breeding ground for criminal activities. (Arvind 1999, P. 270)
Diversity is a word that can be explored in many dimensions. This is due to the diverse nature that is embraced in the word. Diversity can be used to refer to all walks of life in the world in reference to nature. In the police force diversity can be used to refer to many aspects like ethnicity and gender in the broader sense.
These are the two aspects that have been referred to when we describe the term ethnicity. However there are other minor components of ethnicity that can be used to describe the aspect. In this regard sexuality which is closely linked to gender can also be used.
Diversity can also be explained in term of the religious background and beliefs of a person. It can also be used to refer to the class one occupies in the society. There are many other dimensions that can be used to refer to diversity all which tries to explain characteristic or aspects that sets someone from the rest of the people.
Diversity of UK society
There has been increased diversity in the UK society since 1960s. This was due to increased rate for global order that was taking place as well as the rise of economic system that gave rise to different classes in the society. There was also the enactment of new legislations which were all aimed at winding the right of the previously marginalised group. In this regard these acts were looking toward creating a more rightful society where people coexisted as one and where there was more equality.
There were a number of legislations that we put in place since then to address the needs of marginalised groups. The Sexual Act 1967 was enacted in the interest of protecting and legalising homosexuality which was practiced by a minority group in the UK society. In 1970 the Equal Pay Act was meant to create more equity in the workplace and to reduce the rising segmentation of the society into classes.
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was meant to protect individual from being discriminated on the bases of their sex especially in employment and in other public places. In 1976 the Race relations Act was meant to address the issue of discrimination according to race. This was aimed at protecting the right of minority races in the UK. In the recent past there has been passage of Human Rights Act 1998 which extended the protection against discrimination on the ground of religion.
All the above represents laws that have been put in place in the UK in order to bring some equality. This has been due to the realisation that the UK society is diverse in a way same as the diverse challenges that the society faces. With such a realization the government has been in the lead in ensuring that there are laws to guard that diversity and to protect all individuals. (Skalnick and Fyfe 2005, p. 570)
Contemporary problem in policing and diversity
Though there have been efforts by the government to address the issue of diversity in the society, there are still some problems that the police force in the UK is facing. One of the main problems that have been affecting the public for is gene hunt attitudes. This has been led by the beliefs in the society that there are some who are more superior those others and some who can perform better than others.
For example there has been a belief the men police are better that women police and as result there has been skewed recruitment and employment in the police force. This problem has been dealt with in broad manner but it still remains an issue in the police force.
However there are other problems that have been there and are still there policing. One of such problem has been ethnicity and racism. The issue of racism has not only been reflected in the police force itself but also as regard the relationship between the police and the public. Fore example there are some races that are imposed to abrupt stop and search in the public. It has been shown that the Asian and the Black youth are imposed to this form of inequality by the police force.
Inside the police force there has been acrimony on the mode of promotion as the proportion of ethnic minority officers at constable and higher level remains low compared to others. In 2004, a report by Meet’s Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur found black and Asian offences are likely to investigate twice or receive formal write warning as compared to other officers. This shows that the issue of ethnic and racism is not only reflected in policing of the public but it is also a problem within the police force. In this regard most white officer has been show to be mistreating their black and Asian counterpart based on holding of ethnic minority suspects. (Rowe 2004, p. 71)
The other problem that has been facing the police force has been gender issue. Historically there has been development on this issue. There was no woman police in the UK police force until the formation of Women’s Police Service (WPS) in London in 1914. This was formed by Suffragette and anti-slavery complainers Margaret Dawson and Nina Boyle.
However there was still no connection the Metropolitan police force. At that time the chief commission permitted those to patrol the setter, to undertake rescue work on prostitutes, but they were issued which identity cards. Women police were seen as a side police to help the main police force to deal with minor issues. In 1915 the Police in Grantham, Linchosiere became the first to recruit women official in the force with Mrs. Edith Smith becoming the fist female police office to be given the power to arrest. In 1918 the metropolitan’s police appointed 25 women for the world of patrol but they were not given power to arrest until 1923 to 1930. (Westmarland 2001, p. 93)
Even though they were included in the police force, women remain majority as a separated force from the police force. However this was brought to an end with the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1970 which force police authority o take stock. In 1973 there was a move with saw the integration of the women’s police service in the main police force. This was 150 years since the formation for the Metropolitan Police. (Brown and Heidersohn 2000, p. 520; Heidensohn 2005, p. 755)
For all that time when there was low presentation of women in the police force, there were many problems that were experienced with handling of the cases regarding women. There were increased rate of rapes and most of these cases were not well handled by the male police officers who had the same male ego with the rapists. Victims of these incidences were not able to talk to female officers who could have understood them well.
Even by late 1990s there was still not specialist squad that could comprehensively deal with the issue of rape. In was in this year that the Met Assistant commissioner agreed with the notion that the police force could be making a contrition to low convincing rats for rapist due to lack of professionalism in their work. Fro example it was shown thaw early evidence kits which are used to take urine samples and mouth swabs before a medial examination occur were only used in only 1/3 of all the occasions that they were likely to be used. (Carter Collin 2004, p. 529; Silvestri 2003, p. 24)
There has also been as issue of sexuality as far as diversity in the police office is concerned. The history of police is income in rapah homophobia which is fear of personals. There has been much assumption that has been made with regard to this issue like that homosexuality is likely to under the effectiveness of the police.
Show there has been gradual acceptance of since 1960s with the legislations that we made. In 1990 the formation of gay police association with even included high profile police offences led to increased complain of homophonic among police offices. Between 2006 and 2007 it is recoded the there were around 7,000 incited of homophobia in the police force.
There are other problems that are still a challenge to police diversity. The issue of disabled police office has surfaced more than often. They have claimed to be sidelined which led to the formation of Nationals Dissolved Police office in 2004. There has also been issue o increasing diverse religion representing in all the levels of the police force.
Policing as whole
Therefore we should take a broad approach to the whole problem of policing in the in a way that we see policing as an activity for the whole community. This means that the role of the police should be to look at that welfare of the whole society and all its diversity.
At the same time the policing acting should also be carried out in collaboration with the community in order to help them understand the diversity of the community. The above two concepts all relates to a series of problem but all which can help improve service delivery by the police. The two concepts can be taken as a possible way of responding to the devisers needs of the diverse groups within the society.
If we look closely at the concept of policing by the community, we find that there are new measures that have been taken on the issue. The home office has come up with various proposals that are aimed at increasing this diverse. In 2002 and2003, 9.8% of the offices were from ethnically diverse background. This was an increase of about 200% compared to the 1998 figures.
The home office targets to increases this by 25% by 2009. There has also been increasing trend in the change of recruiting where from 2003, it was passed that assessor from the police recruits will be from the community rather hat from the police. There has also been marked improvement in the recruitment of the female police force as 18% of the force is not composed of females.
If we look at the cope of policing the community we find the there are different groups in the police and in the communication which has different needs. There must be a systematic way of responding to racism in the police force. There has been increased awareness on the need to address various issues like the gender issue of rape by the recruitment of increased female officers. But there are still issue of sexuality that needs to be addressed like homophobic attacks and Islam phobia attacks.
If we take an interaction comparison we will find in the US in 1970 there were only two percent of police women in the force and by 1991, women made 9 percent of the police force. in 1996, New York Police Department had 15% for all the uniformed police officer as women but it was only 9% who were sergeants, 6% were lieutenants, 3% were captain and 4% were above the ranks of captain. This shows that our police department still has a long way to go reach these heights.
Therefore we can say that though we have achieved a lot, we still have a long way to go in order to reach the international standard. Addressing the issue of diversity in the police force will help to make the police force more responsive to the need of the public and will also help to improve the relationship between the police and the public.
Arvind, V 1999, Cultural roots Tucson, AZ. of police corruption in India, Policing, 3, (pp. 264 – 279)
Brown, J. & Heidersohn, F 2000, Gender and policing: comparative perspectives, MacMillan
Carter Collins, S.2004, Sexual harassment and police discipline: Who’s policing the police? Policing, Vol.4, pp. 512 – 538
Heidensohn, F 2005, Women in Control? In Newburn, Policing, pp. 751-760
Joan, M 1998, Deadly force and the rule of law: the Guyana example, Policing, 3, (pp. 465 – 478)
Rowe, M 2004, Policing, race and racism, William
Silvestri, M 2003, Women in charge: policing, gender and leadership, William
Skalnick, J. & Fyfe, J 2005, the beating of Rodney King in Newburn, Policing, pp. 568-580
Spencer, B. & Hough, M 2000, Policing diversity: lessons from Lambeth, Home Office, Policing
and Reducing Crime Unit, London
Westmarland, L 2001, Gender and policing: sex, power and police culture, William
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