Describe The Functions Of The Police

1087 words - 5 pages

Jessica Goodman
Describe the functions of the police
Police officers are a ‘specific, modern organisation endowed with the state’s legal authority to use physical coercion or the threat of it’ (Innes, 2003). Among many others, the police force have three functions which take priority, service provision, order maintenance and law enforcement. Over a long period of time they have accumulated a number of legal powers that enable them to carry out these three functions as well as playing a crucial role in upholding the criminal justice system. A function can be defined as ‘the natural action or intended purpose of a person or thing in a specific role’ (Houghton Miffin, 2009). Police officers ...view middle of the document...

To successfully carry out service provision officers have to know how to calmly deal with and report on these incidents.
A second main function of the police is order maintenance. This refers to the ‘intervention and suppression of behaviour that threatens to be offensive’ and behaviour ‘that threatens to disturb the public place,’ (Kelling, 1996). The maintenance used is done so without recourse to the law and therefore the police are given broad discretion. Order maintenance will be used in many situations that tend to be ambiguous such as dealing with rioters and protestors, therefore they have the role of maintaining order whilst assessing the situations. As they are authorised to use coercive force in a discretionary manner the assessment has to both keep the situation at hand under control as well as keeping the peace within society. As previously discussed, police work is a 24 hour commitment and therefore this would include order maintenance as well as service provision. This stresses the fact that the function of order maintenance requires police officers to work as an emergency service in order to keep society safe and maintain order.
The last main function is descried as being the harder edge of police work. Law enforcement ‘refers to any system by which some members of society act in a organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating or punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society,’ (Anon, 2014). In regards to the police force, their role within this function is to enforce the laws and statutes that are currently a part of our legal system, in a professional manner. The police have a wide range of responsibilities when enforcing laws. These range from enforcing local laws as well as nationals laws, which broaden their roles and responsibilities within this enforcement function. Additionally they have to maintain and manage the process for imprisonment, from charging an offender to that said offender being convicted, this therefore displays that the police have many roles under law enforcement in order to achieve their final goal of successfully enforcing the law within society. Within this function of the police they typically have to roles to play. One of which is prevention of a crime...

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