Jan 12, 2018 in Law

Dilemma in Dealing with Criminal Behavior in the Police Sector

A democratic society safeguards the right of individual regardless of the crime they committed till determined by the law. The police operate under the rule of law to protect the democratic rights of the people and they should work by their example of respect of the law and by suppressing crimes. They are considered as moral and legal actors of the law. However, there has been some tension arising between human rights and policing, and the way police conduct themselves while practicing policing. Societies face challenges due to the experience of continual tension between the desires for order and liberty.

The police must present honesty and ethical character to earn public confidence and trust in protecting the rights of the people even from the government authorities. Deviance behavior inconsistent with the police culture’s norms or values will negatively derail the quality of service to the people and affect the criminal behavior. The habit of immorality and behavior involving misuse of office for self interest is tantamount to denying the rights of an individual and going against the rule of law.

The issue of legitimacy and trust of the police officers in their authorities brings a lot of impact in solving criminal behaviors. In protecting the rights of individual, fairness and faith in policing brings a better judgment (Stoutland, 2001).

However, there is a conflict between the role of service-oriented public servant and the role of action oriented crime fighter that causes the existence of police subculture. Police possess a culture called group think, which results in everyone with the group thinking and acting the same (Packer, 1968). The citizens love the police fighting an enemy and also ironically hate the police when they engage in service activity in attempt to serve the people and terming them as oppression for the powerful.

The duty consists of responsibility attached to a role. Discretion is the ability to choose between two or more courses of action, and discrimination is the act of treating an individual differently for no substantial reason (Pollock, 2004).  There is always over-involvement by the police officers, who like to take seriously their duty to protect, while acting upon their personal ethics rather than the police ethics. Dilemma would arise in choosing the kind of personal ethics that would help the officer survive the emotional turmoil that an attitude other than callousness provides. Police discretion is another form of involving personal ethics while serving and undermining the enforcement of the law to protect the rights of the people. The appropriate measures to control this form of deviance are to coincide police ethics with the societal ethics base on the principal of reciprocity. Discrimination occurs in a situation where ethical values are given little attention or not strictly observed. The barriers of the societal diversity in terms of ethnicity, political differences, race and culture need to be diminished and not to be used as criteria of discharging duties to the people, as this will result in violation of the human rights.

In conclusion, various forms of deviance need to be controlled to allow service delivery to the people that aimed at protecting individual rights without any form of oppression from the governing authorities. 

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