What is the role of the police in a democracy? - Quora
One of the key characteristics of democratic policing is the presence of . and at the same time to explain the character of police action with the nature It is therefore expected that principles derived from these values should govern democratic policing. Therefore, curvilinear relationships between democracy and police. It is a myth that all that stands between total chaos and social order is the police. The policing of crime and politics merge and political dissent becomes a crime. . In the United States police are in principle bound by federal and state. B. Judicial Review Is Ill-Equipped to Deal with the New. Policing. .. As we explain below, policing has long operated without democratic . 3 () ( suggesting how principles of administrative law might apply to . See Waldron, supra note 33, at 4 (portraying the government-citizen relationship as.
The US police system is one of the most decentralized in the world. There are more than state and local police academies across the country delivering training programs that vary tremendously in content, quality and intensity.
This, inevitably, has an impact on the skills of their graduates. Differences in policing also reflect the quality of leadership and the availability of resources. Police chiefs and commanders represent a critical source of influence. They provide the doctrine prevention or repression of crimedesign strategies police visibility or zero toleranceand identify the practice to be adopted rounding up the usual suspects or systematic stop and frisk. Often these police practices are not aligned with public expectations.
Citizen review boards - such as those in New York City or San Diego - are the exception rather than the norm. And then there is the money issue.
Police departments that are financially crippled will simply not be able to provide regular training; they will not have the expertise then to pursue certain kinds of crime.
The policing of fraud, for example, requires financial expertise and specialized units. From public relations policing to intensive policing Policing styles in America vary according to the targeted audience. Police work in an affluent neighborhoods is often characterized by soft policing strategies. In other words, policing in those areas is more a question of making people feel secure or public relations than actual crime fighting.
However, in disadvantaged neighborhoods, police presence and activity are often more intense. They are there to target crimes that have been identified as priorities by police leadership and public officials. In high crime areas, intensive policing can translate into several strategies and tactics. For instance, in the wake of September 11,several local police departments received funding from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense with little or no guidance on how to spend the money leading to unnecessary purchase of military equipment including armored cars, bullet proof vests for dogs, and advanced bomb-disarming robots.
From the late s, through the programthe Department of Defense has authorized the transfer of military equipment to police departments across the country. Since the police have bought 93, machine guns and armored from the Pentagon. All this has only heightened the real and perceived potential for deadly force by police officers. Author, Author provided Now I see you Another significant change in modern policing is the increasing capacity to monitor criminal activity and the population in general.
This is one reason why even in a democratic society police are likely to be much more controversial than other agencies of government. Varieties of and Supports for a Democratic Police There are social scientific and moral debates over what practices are most conducive to a democratic police e. But it is clear that a democratic police can take many forms. Democratic societies show wide variation in their police systems. For example in the United States we have a quasi-military, rather decentralized, non-standardized, fragmented system, although one which mixes local and national police agencies.
There is a single entry system. Those who supervise come from the rank and file. There is a Bill of Rights and other laws, which significantly circumscribe the behavior of public police. Private police and citizen initiatives are permitted. Police have relatively little to do with the judicial system until they actually make an arrest.
Police have powers denied the citizen. There are clear procedures for citizens to file complaints against police and police are subject to a greater degree of direct political control than in many countries in Europe. In Britain policing is explicitly non-military and local, although more standardized than in the U. Responsibility for controlling it is shared among the Home Office of the national government, a local police authority and the head of the local force.
There is no formal Bill of Rights, yet in principal police have no power beyond that of the ordinary citizen and police are unarmed. Citizens are seen to have a responsibility for contributing to the policing of their own communities. Internal organizational and self-control are emphasized. The symbolic meaning of police as representative of the nation is stressed and police are trained to see themselves as exemplars of moral behavior.
The development of the British police has involved a continual debate about how to protect democratic liberties while maintaining effectiveness against crime and disorder. In France policing is highly centralized and less service and community oriented.
Police & Democracy
There is a single national legal system. There are rival national police systems one, the Gendarme is a part of the military and the other, the National Police is a part of the Ministry of Interior.
They serve the national, not local government and are subject to civilian control at the higher levels. Private policing and citizen involvement are not valued to the extent they are in the Anglo-American tradition. Through a system of lateral entry, police leaders are recruited directly into supervisory ranks. The prosecution plays an important role in criminal investigations. The judicial system is non-adversarial and it is relatively difficult for citizens to file complaints against police.
Given its turbulent political history, the French believe that if democracy is to be protected, the rights of society must take precedence over those of the individual. Police are given greater leeway in the collection of political intelligence.
The democratic police ideal is generally supported by a variety of organizational means including a division of labor between these who investigate, arrest, try and punish; a military-like bureaucratic structure which limits discretion and tries to create audit trails; the separation of police from the military and the creation of competing police agencies rather than a monolith; external agencies or compartmentalized parts of the organization that monitor its behavior and that must give permission for certain highly intrusive actions; police who can be readily identified as such e.
These efforts involve the belief that liberty is more likely to be protected if power is diffused, if competing agencies watch each other and if police identities and actions are visible. Given the potential for abuse, police face numerous external and internal controls. In the United States police are in principle bound by federal and state constitutions, statutes, and common law. Courts through the exclusionary rule attempt to control police behavior by excluding illegally gathered evidence.
Underlying this is a belief that it is less evil for some criminals to escape than for the government to play an ignoble part. Courts may also issue injunctions against particular police actions and may offer citizens compensation for violations. Prosecutors may play a role in police supervision this has become more important but is still generally less important than in Europe.
Prosecutors may refuse to accept cases police present and may prosecute police for criminal violations. Legislative bodies through the passage of laws, control over appropriations, the ratification of appointments, and holding oversight hearings may also exercise some control.
Executive branch authorities, such as governors, mayors and city managers, agency heads, police commissions, citizen review boards, auditors and in several European countries "ombudsmen" also exercise some control. Internally control of police is sought through selection, training, defined procedures, policy guidelines, and supervision.
In defining a given system it is necessary to look beyond formal documents and expressed ideals to actual behavior. For example in the former USSR citizens in principle were granted many of the same political rights as in the United States, but in practice these were denied by the KGB, particularly when it was concerned with political conformity. On the other hand even systems that are democratic will have examples of undemocratic police behavior.
Police organizations in the United States and Western Europe are not without occasional lapses e. Community Policing A community-policing model has become more prominent in recent decades. In some ways this represents a break with the professional-bureaucratic, technical, law enforcement model of policing which sought to keep police from the community in the presumed interest of neutrality and efficiency.
This model focused on arrest after a crime occurred. In contrast community policing seeks to immerse police into a local community e. Police are encouraged to view themselves as community advocates and to be problem-solving partners with a local community.
They should anticipate community needs and problems and intervene to solve them e. Police should be generalists rather than specialists in a decentralized organization. Community policing is an explicit effort to create a more democratic force. It is based on the assumption that policing will be more effective if it has the support of, and input from the community and if it recognizes the social service and order maintenance aspects of the police role.
A related development here is the spread of private police. In the United States there are far more private than public police and their number has significantly increased in recent years. This raises important questions for democracy. On the one hand such police can serve as a check on public police and can enhance democracy through their independence. They may also contribute to a more orderly society.
Yet they may also undermine democracy. When a basic need such as security is treated as a commodity, the poor are clearly at a disadvantage. The effort to restrict the right to use coercion to agents of the state under law, can be a means of increased societal equity. The first goal of private police is to serve their employer rather than justice, or the public at large. Much of the activity of private police involves informal action and is not subject to judicial review.
Private forces are generally subject to far less stringent controls than public police. They may also enter into questionable alliances, carrying out illegal or unethical actions for public police.
With their greater resources, there is also a danger of their being co-opted by public police. New Threats to a Democratic Police In Alexis de Tocqueville, a French visitor to the United States who was a great student of American democracy, felt that the state was acquiring more and more direct control over its citizens.
He did not specifically have police in mind. But 20th century developments in policing support his observation. To do their job effectively many police believe that they cannot know too much about the community, and they dare not know too little. With their special powers, police along with the military are a much greater potential threat to democratic regimes and practices than is the case for other government agencies such as those concerned with education or welfare.
The special powers of police come with special responsibilities and the need for continuous vigilance. The potential for abuse is ever present. Democratic policing should be viewed as a process and not an outcome. An important task of a democratic society is to guard against the misuse of physical coercion by police. A related task is to guard against the softer forms of unwarranted secret and manipulative control made possible by new technologies.
Because these are often subtle, indirect and invisible, this is clearly the more difficult task. In his novel George Orwell described a society with both violent and nonviolent forms of social control a boot stomping on a face and Big Brother watching on the video. In linking these two Orwell offered a model based on his experiences during the Spanish Civil War and his observations of the former U.
Yet in contemporary democratic societies these two forms are increasingly uncoupled, and the latter is in ascendance. Aldous Huxley in his novel Brave New World emphasized softer forms of control. He may be a better guide to the future than George Orwell. To judge current democratic societies only by traditional standards can result in a vision which is too narrow and an optimism which may be unwarranted. Given powerful new technologies that can silently and invisibly pierce boundaries of distance, darkness, time, and economic and physical barriers that traditionally protected liberty if also violationspolice may become less democratic in their behavior.
New information extractive technologies are making it possible to have a society in which significant inroads are made on liberty, privacy and autonomy, even in a relatively nonviolent environment with democratic structures in place. In recent decades subtle, seemingly less coercive forms of control have emerged such as video surveillance, computer dossiers, and various forms of biological and electronic monitoring and behavioral and environmental manipulations.
Technology may make police more efficient.