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NCJ Number: 203674 Find in a Library
Title: Police Powers (From Handbook of Policing, P 228-258, 2003, Tim Newburn, ed. -- See NCJ-203671)
Author(s): Andrew Sanders; Richard Young
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter focuses on problems created by police power in England and Wales from the perspective of the minority who suffer abuses and questionable uses of police power.
Abstract: Although the authors rely on empirical evidence to support their arguments, they acknowledge that research on police practices, particularly in the area of discretionary action, is sparse. Before discussing the most prominent police powers, the chapter first examines the applicability to the police of "models" of criminal justice. From the perspective of the "freedom" model, police should only intervene in an individual's life when there is sufficient cause to believe the individual has violated the law or is about to harm another person in some significant way. The authors conclude that from the perspective of this model, police powers on the street are drawn too wide and are used too indiscriminately. Every arrest that fails to prevent or solve a crime creates a twofold loss of freedom; i.e., the arrestee loses some liberty and privacy; and the time, money, and resources wasted in the arrest will not have been used to protect potential victims or to provide police-related public services. In discussing the detention and questioning of suspects who have been arrested, the chapter notes that the capacity of the police to make a discretionary decision with such intrusive consequences gives them generalized power that goes far beyond the specific bail powers written into the law. These powers will be further extended by clause three of the British Criminal Justice Bill, which allows bail to be granted on the street by an arresting officer. This chapter also discusses issues of police power related to a suspect's access to legal advice and to police interrogation, as well as how the police powers of detention and questioning are regulated. Other topics discussed are various police evidence-gathering powers, police powers of prosecution, and the misuse of police powers. Overall, the chapter concludes that law-breaking by the police in England and Wales and lesser failures of due process are tolerated within a system that generally fails to punish and deter the police or compensate most victims of abusive police practices. The casting of wide nets of intervention that include large volumes of stop and search accompanied by arrest and detention for questioning can only alienate the targeted communities. The police would be more effective in gaining the respect and cooperation of the communities they serve if they used cautioning schemes and more extensive restorative initiatives under which offenders, victims, and their respective support networks come together to discuss the harm caused by an offense and how this might be addressed. 123 references
Main Term(s): Foreign police
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; England; Interview and interrogation; Police discretion; Police-minority relations; Pretrial detention; Prosecution by police; Wales
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