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General Education Studies
Asher Flynn

Police and Policing: Culture, Discretion & Accountability Criminology and the police  CJS: o Institutions, personnel, practices. o Police, courts, corrections. o Classical and positivist theories.  Police – most visible. o More likely to have some kind of a first hand experience with police. o Have significant power invested in them by the state to patrol and enforce the law. o Mediate relationships between law and the community and the CJS and the community.  Gatekeepers of the system.  Gap exists between ideals of policing and what was occurring in practice (day to day operation). o Between formal rules and how they were conducting themselves. Historical context  Prior to 19 century: o Policing was local. o Appointed as constables. o Numerous duties, bad pay. o Job fulfilled by labourers, soldiers and servants. o Lacked discipline, skills and accountability. o Drunk, immoral and behaved poorly.  Industrial revolution: o Rich and poor people lived in close proximity. o Centralised, state controlled policing.  Conducted in local areas. o Expected to be on the job 24 hours a day. o Frequently criticised because lacked skills to maintain social order. Emergence of ‘modern’ policing  Practices still evident today: o Force used as a last resort. o Uniform and presence – deterrent. o Politically neutral but accountable and funded by government. o Professionalisation (training and education).  Politically neutral – stays the same even if the state government changes. Approaches to policing  Problem orientated policing: o Identify and solve “problem” rather than “treat” symptoms. o Focus on trying to prevent the crime or stop the problem happening before it rather than just reacting. o Discover root cause and try to illuminate it e.g. not just arresting drug users, focusing on the dealers and how to stop them.  Evidence-based policing: o Scientific evidence. o Based on research, focus on linking research and practice to improve policing. o Do what research has shown to be effective e.g. looking at what other countries are doing and adopting it if it works.  Restorative policing: o Alternative diversion processes e.g. conferencing. o Moving away from CJS and try to repair harm to the victim. o E.g. instead of sending them through the CJS they send youths into the community – if they graffiti they might help clean it or pay for it to be cleaned instead of being arrested. Zero tolerance policing  Arresting or applying a certain action for all offences or for specific offences.  Extensive criticism – if you arrest anyone doing a minor crime you will eventually deter major crimes from happening (broken window theory).  Claims – petty crime and anti-social behaviour will have a zero tolerance and major crimes will then be deterred.  Rates of petty and serious crimes fell significantly in NY and it is attributed to zero tolerance. o Criticism – crime could have shifted from Manhattan to other cities.  Operation unite – Australia and NZ. o Zero tolerance approach to alcohol-fuelled violence. o National arrests 900+ each campaign. o Target alcohol abuse, violence, anti-social behaviour. o 5 campaigns since December 2009. Community based policing  Try to generate a better relationship between police and young people, and police with groups that might be marginalised (so they can change the way they see the police).  Police must be able to talk to the community about concerns and share important info.  Community has to be supportive and involved in the process.  E.g. Neighbourhood Watch, Crime Stoppers.  Benefits: o Empowerment of communities. o Improved police-community relationship. o Decreased potential for conflict. o Reduced fear – more police in the community and understanding them better decreases fear. o Better crime prevention strategies.  Limitations: o Used as a way of getting information. o Potential to increase level of coercive contact. o One-way street – community expected to change but not police. o Police have power to decide who participates. o Ignores strong power relations. Shift in policing approaches  Shift from traditional to mix of traditional and community based styles.  Old function – paramilitary approach, maintain order, apprehend offenders.  New function – enforce the law, prevent crime, detect crime, conflict resolution, social services, social cohesion.  Change in interviewing techniques. o Way police were interrogating offenders wasn‟t effective – now they try to engage them into a more conversational type approach e.g. ask how their life is.  Based on research – example of evidence based policing.  Shifting communicating styles: o SM networks and crime updates. o „Police News‟ on YouTube. Importance of trust and confidence in police  The more legitimacy and confidence we have in the police, the more we respond to the police and the law.  Engagement with the community – studies show that the more we see them representing our values and understanding us, the more confident and respectful we are of them. The role of law and order  CJS weak and ineffective.  Police – central political focus.  Primary definers – police leaders and police associations.  Through political processes that police secure resources.  Numbers and powers of the police – key political issue.  Police – street corner politicians, law, legislation, visible social norms. Policing contexts  How they approach the role: o Political context – legislation, police powers, budgets, media campaigns, law and order agendas.  E.g. change in laws regarding parole. o Social context – what is happening in society, social norms/expectations.  E.g. expectation that they‟re going to
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