The Main Features of the Development of Modern Policing

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Policing is essential in all society’s from maintaining law and order to protecting human rights and fundamental freedom. Historically policing has evolved to shape the contemporary modern policing model through the political, reform and community era. With its diverse workplace consisting of males, females and LGTBQ members, the effort of the police force adapts to the community’s needs, whilst both strengthening security and stability.

Colonial policing began in Australia by the British settlement in 1778 seeking to establish a penal colony governed by a captain of the Royal Navy, bringing with it disease, conflict and civilization. This civilization included the reproduction of British law and policing, ultimately subjugating the Aboriginal population and influencing the development of the country. About 20,000 Aboriginal inhabitants are said to have been killed in the wars of the border, while thousands more perished from disease. While Australia eventually obtained its independence under the Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865, it still operates as one of the members of the common wealth. After colonial policing came modern policing, established in 1829 in the United Kingdom, by Robert Peel, after ‘The Metropolitan Police Act’. The Act established a revolution in customary methods of law enforcement (Lyman 1964). Policemen were known as Peelers and they were lightly armed with a wooden truncheon, handcuffs and a wooden rattle. They were dressed in blue tail-coats and top hats to make the Peelers look like ordinary citizens (Lyman1964).

Robert Peel is also the founder of the ‘Peelian Principles’ which insists that the purpose of the police force is to prevent crime and maintain order (Torrens 1857). Police depend on the approval and trust of the public to effectively do their jobs. These principles are prevention, public approval, public cooperation, low cooperation = ‘high force’, impartiality to the law, force = last resort, police are public, and public are the police, direct their action strictly towards functions and the ultimate test (Torrens 1857). These principles are still widely studied and referenced in police literature today.

There are three eras that shaped modern policing, the political, reform and community era. During the political era from 1840 to 1930 policing was extremely corrupt (Newburn 2012). Prohibition gave rise to organised crime and this caused widespread police corruption. The 1929 Wickersham Commission established by President Herbert Hoover, led to the reform era and evolution of modern policing (Newburn 2012). Consequently, police reform was geared toward making the police more professional. The reform era began in 1930 to 1980 when a crime control model was established, and the police departments became centralized (Newburn 2012). The police relationship with the community became and businesses became distant. During this era of policing, corruption was targeted by establishing law enforcement ethical codes of conduct. The community era begun in the 1980’s to the present (Newburn 2012). It aims to develop closer relationships with the community to help solve social problems associated with the development of disorder and crime. The main impetus for community policing derives from a sense that police-community relations are unsatisfactory. John Alderson argued in the 1970’s that the traditional authoritarian policing was inadequate, liberation society was increasing levels of crime and that different community model was needed (Newburn 2012). Alderson stated the means of crime control envisaged by peel did not engage the community (Newburn 2012). The Scarman Report on riots in Brixton in 1981 prompted change and went on to highlight the need for police to engage more closely with communities served (Newburn 2012).

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Policing started to evolve in 1915 when women started policing but weren’t officially sworn in until 1965 (Australian Federal Police 2018). The ability to vote in 1921 also came with the ability for change, women found their way into law enforcement first in support roles, such as police telephone operators and secretaries to later being on the front lines, walking and riding in patrols (Australian Federal Police 2018). Prior to these elections, contributions to policing by women were negligible. There were certain practices of discrimination experienced by early Australian law enforcement, however, through reformist movements changes occurred. With a 38% female and 62% male ratio in the AFP, Commissioner Andrew Colvin said he aims to introduce gender targets to the force, to increase the proportion of female officers to 50 per cent over the next 10 years (Anderson 2016). Furthermore, the movement to recruit LGBTQ officers has evolved, with laws which made homosexuality a crime punishable by jail repealed in the 1980s. A specific network in law enforcement called the “Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer role” consists of assisting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Australian community who have concerns or issues (Australian Federal Police 2018). This transformation will increase the efficiency of resolving cases and will embrace gender equality by forming greater community trust and create a greater diverse workplace.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has proven that it is highly successful in policing in international, national and community environments to protect the common wealth from criminal activity. It began operations on October 19th, 1979, however federal policing in Australia can be traced back to November 29th, 1917 (Australian Federal Police 2018). When campaigning, Prime Minister William Hughes was egged by protestors whilst introducing military conscription. He was enraged that the appearing Queensland Police wouldn’t arrest the offenders under federal law. He returned to Parliament drafted legislation to create the Commonwealth Police Force. Whilst it only functioned for two years, it was the first time the Australian Government recognised it needed a law enforcement agency at federal level (Australian Federal Police 2018). In 1927 the Commonwealth Police was formed and in 1960 the creation of a third Commonwealth occurred by combining the Commonwealth Investigation Service and the Peace Officer Guard (Australian Federal Police 2018). In 1978 the bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney led to the consolidation of the Commonwealth Police, ACT Police and the Narcotics Bureau to form (Australian Federal Police 2018).

In modern policing police work can be divided into two types, reactive and proactive. Reactive policing activities are initiated by members of the public, such as calls for service, reports of crimes in progress or having occurred, and other requests for action. Proactive activities are those that are initiated by the police themselves, the stopping of people who appear to be behaving suspiciously, patrols of crime hotspots and operations against suspected drug dealers or prostitutes. Both methods of policing are most valuable if they are practised alongside one another.

Modern policing consists of maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. They achieve this through policing strategies such as; problem orientated, and intelligence led policing, which is concerned with reforming policing in ways that will give it greater direction. Problem orientated policing originated from the work of Herman Goldstein, however when Sir Kenneth Newman experimented with it in the 1980’s is what prompted change (Neburn 2012). The main stimulus for problem orientated policing springs from a sense that the demand on police has become overwhelming. Police are called to deal with a wide variety of emergency’s, with few resources per call the police often can’t do much more than log individual incidents, thereby failing to address the issue (Newburn 2012). Problem-orientated policing involves adopting an analytical approach that takes community concerns seriously. It develops strategic responses that aim to deal effectively with issues underlying police-relevant community problems (Newburn 2012). The main incentive for intelligence-led policing that prompted change is the supposed failure of the police to address the systematic sources of crime and crime patterns. Crime detection was predominantly responsive and opportunistic. Intelligence led policing draws on the notion that police can and do know about reoffending patterns. Which involves effectively sourcing, assembling and analysing intelligence about criminals and their activities. Thus, better disrupting them by targeting enforcement and patrol where it can be expected to yield the highest dividends (Newburn 2012).

Every day the police force is facing new challenges, these main challenges arguably are to, maintain an adequate first response service yet move beyond reactive crime containment to scientific crime prevention, optimise comprehensive integrity management and use meaningful performance indicators (Hayes & Prenzler 2015). Overall, it can be observed that, with the evolution of policing came with modernisation strategies. Law enforcement has adapted over years to become more efficient by using a proactive and reactive focus. They have formed a stronger bond with the community through countless policing methods and they have expanded their workplace diversity to include males, females and LGTBQ members.

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