The Role Of The Police Officer (PO) In Terms Of Implementing Public Safety School

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The Role Of The Police Officer (PO) In Terms Of Implementing Public Safety School

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the study was on the role of the police officer in terms of implementing public safety, the research will investigate the effect of public perception on police forces actions and duties on implementation of public safety. Police’s perceptions on their actions and duties when implementing public safety will also be looked at. The researcher will conduct a survey based on simple random sampling. The study will be asking 120 respondents to participate in the survey of which will primarily come from; 60 members of the general public, 40 police representative and 20 relevant stakeholders.

The research will use Primary and secondary sources for gathering data, primary data will be collected using questionnaires and interview while internet, journals and books will act as source for secondary data. The data will be analysed using tables, graphs and pie charts. These methods will help in analysing the data collected towards compiling information for the study, which will facilitate in coming up with reliable findings and recommendation.

 

The Research Proposal on the Role of the Police Officer (PO) In Terms of Implementing Public Safety

Question

Police officers work in partnership with the public and are in the front line in the fight against crime and the fear of crime. They are citizen-focused, responding to the needs of individuals and communities. Using the latest technology, police officers are trained to manage information and intelligence in order to secure successful court prosecutions (Flanagan and Longmire, 2001). Major priorities include tackling antisocial behavior, reducing theft, robbery and street-related crime, combating organized crime, countering terrorism, supporting victims and providing a reassuring presence in the community.

A police officer (also known as a policeman or policewoman) is referred by Chackerian (1974), as a warranted employee of a police force. Police officers are generally responsible for apprehending criminals, maintaining public order, and preventing and detecting crimes. Police officers are sworn to an oath, and are granted the power to arrest and imprison suspects, along with other practices (Chackerian, 1974).

Responsibilities of a police officer are broad, changing from country to country. Common responsibilities include keeping of the peace, enforcement of the law, protection of the public and property, and the investigation of crimes. Officers are expected to be able to respond to a variety of situations that may arise while they are on duty. Rules and guidelines dictate how an officer should act towards the public and in the community, and some countries have restrictions placed on what the uniform officer wears.

In some countries, rules and procedure dictate that a police officer is obliged to intervene in a criminal incident, even if they are off-duty. Police officers in most countries retain their lawful powers, while off duty (Thurman & Reisig 1996).

Function in the community, in the majority of Western legal systems, the major role of the police is to maintain order, keeping the peace through the enforcement of the law (Skogan, 1975). They also function to discourage crimes through high-visibility policing, and most police forces have an investigative capability. Police have the legal authority of arrest, usually granted to them by magistrates. Police officers also respond to emergency calls, along with routine community policing (Bayley, 1976).

Problems

In recent years there has been a move within police services towards a proactive and intelligence-led style of policing. This has coincided with recognition of the value of local policing solutions and the importance of the intelligence function at the local area command level. In today’s politically correct world, police are often accused of profiling, selective enforcement, excessive force, racial insensitivity, along with a multitude of other complaints. We will never satisfy all of the naysayers, but we can improve police image by changing our perception and the perception of others. One of the most difficult problems that a police executive faces is the changing and sometimes negative attitude of the people we are sworn to protect (Wirths, 1958).

The public’s perception of law enforcement is critical to maintaining an efficiently operating organization and, without the support of that public; we will not have the full ability to complete their tasks.

Currently, in many jurisdictions, police organizations and community members have an almost adversarial relationship (Jesilow, Meyer & Namazzi, 1995). “Attitude” can be defined as posture, relative position, feeling, opinion, or mood.  When a member of the public describes the police as having a poor attitude, he or she could be referring to the officers’ physical demeanor, tone of voice, mannerisms, or his uniform and appearance (Albrecht & Green, 1977).

The perceived bad attitude of one officer to one member of the public will have ramifications many times over and could affect the entire department. An officer who approaches a citizen with his hat pushed back on his head or with a cigarette, dangling from his lips does not exactly inspire confidence. A simple thing like wrinkled uniform and dirty shoes can do a lot to exacerbate a negative image (Albrecht & Green, 1977).

 

Figure 1: Conceptual Relationship between police perception and public perception

Dependent Variable

Independent Variables

Dependent Variable

Police perception on public

Public perception on police

Relation

Aff     Affects                                                    Affects

Communication

Source; Author (2009)

 

 

Gap in Research

An intensive three-year survey on the Rajasthan Police has reaffirmed grave fears that a large majority of citizens has little trust in the local constabulary and most found police officers to be lazy. Though there’s no comparable study on the police forces in other Indian states, Abhijit Banerjee, professor of economics at Poverty Action Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author of the study, said the results could be extrapolated to other states and in world (Cox, 1996). The survey aimed to understand public perception of the police, how police officers view their jobs and the success rate of reforms initiated by the Rajasthan Police (Reisig & Correia, 1997).

A number of police officers, citizens and experts who have participated or conducted similar studies all concurred that though the studies were rigorously carried out; its recommendations were not new. Police citizens’ academies are perhaps one of the most effective means of educating the public by helping change and improve the perception of the police department (Huang & Vaughn, 1996). As a presenter at similar studies, I have always been impressed by the diversity of the volunteers: the volunteers were extremely interested in police work, and included businessmen, laborers, factory workers and college students, to name but a few (Bordua and Tifft, 1971). Though all these were not the ultimate solution, but it’s a beginning. With the whole distinction of the police perception on public and visa-vie of their both actions and duties,  it will be the study’s contrast to unfold more light on understanding of difference between the public’s perception of the police actions and duties and the perception of the police of their actions and duties (Reisig & Correia, 1997).

The reforms on enhancing police and public positive perception can be extended to four areas: freezing personnel transfers to reduce external interference in police work and provide security of tenure; inviting the public to sit in police stations for three hours a day to help bridge the communication gap between the public and police; rotating personnel in police duties to increase efficiency and manpower flexibility and a weekly day off; and providing training in both technical and investigative skills (Bercal, 1970).

Deficiency

Most research studies have just contributed more on how police duties and protocols should be adhered to when implementing public safety in the society, leaving the general public with negative perception on police action and duties in provision of public safety. On the other hand, significant role and contribution of the general public on implementation of the public safety to police not attributed by most researches (Murphy & Worrall, 1998).

Purpose

The study is vital in bringing out the distinction between perception of the police and the general public on each to a positive outlook than as a suspicious one, where police and public view each other as enemies instead as a one community.  More importantly, the research will be strengthening subtle factors that might have influenced the distinction of these perceptions. This will assist in coming up with informed strategies and policies that will highly contribute to bridging of these negative perceptions of the police and the public in provision of public safety.

The research study will be evaluating on the effect of these perceptions from the community level, as well as policy makers and all relevant stakeholders on the both ends towards provision of public safety.  As such, it is with this respect that the research seeks to significantly contribute to the scholarly studies devoted in order to analyze such dynamics.

Literature Review

The role of the police in the society is of paramount importance in ensuring public safety. Protection of property, enforcing laws and bringing order and sanity during chaotic situations are just a few examples of their role. The police work alongside with other stakeholders such as the firefighters, municipal council and detectives and more importantly the public in executing their responsibilities and service to the citizens. Michael (2008) argues that the work of the police is intrinsically reactive, as the police are only needed when there is a crisis or a problem, which differentiates their work from other jobs. Bringing back order is a difficult task, which may contribute to the reason why police are perceived negatively. The public who are the main recipients of police services hold various reasons for perceiving the police in a negative picture.

According to a research by Maria (2004), it was discovered that police fail to execute their duties as the public expects of them. First the public believes that the police should be visible; patrolling on foot rather than in cars. When police patrol in cars, people tend to think that they are chasing after a reckless driver or attending an important call, which distances them from the ground public needs of solving small but pinching issues. The absence of police on foot was highly attributed to an increase in crime including burglary, sexual assault as well as drug use (Maria, 2004). In addition, Maria revealed that the public believes that the police are not accessible as they concentrate on (which they consider) major issues, hence neglecting the basic needs of the public.

Another aspect that the public hold against the police is their attitude, discrimination and lack of integrity. From the study, many participants agreed that the police had a negative attitude that often left a person frustrated or felt ill treated. The mode of communication and asking questions is selective, not taking into account the victim’s details as expected.

Thus, the public feels underserved and that the police are not doing their work. A significant group of respondents in Maria’s study also pointed out the tendency of discrimination by the police. Police were reportedly negligent of minority populations or immigrants call to crime while they also stressed on impromptu searches on this group (John, Deborah and Sarah, 2003).

Besides, the police appear not to trust this group of people, which creates a bad impression. The younger generation seems to bear a general negative perception of the police. They believe that the police intimidate them and are unfriendly. In addition, various researches concludes that the police do not communicate effectively or liaison with the public in fighting crime. This makes the people to feel unsafe and insecure despite the presence of the police.

Misconduct in the police force is also an issue of concern for the public. The highly publicized police misconduct of a few officers by the media such as corruption, violence, involvement in crime and negligence of their duties make the public to mistrust the police. However, there are those who believe in the police for their safety and hold high respect for the police.

Michael (2008) is in defense of police negative perception. He supports police work but argues that the public is largely influenced by the media who concentrate on a few irresponsible police officers and fail to report the numerous good works that the police do every day. He observes that the conventional liberal media thinks that the work of police is not entertaining without being quandary. Beside, he blames politics in invading the work of the police by placing demonstrations against them and filing lawsuits for their own political and financial gain.

Research Questions

Main Question

For the purpose of this research, the study wanted to know: What is the role of the Police Officer in terms of promoting the Public Safety .............


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