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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51232 Find in a Library
Title: COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE POLICE, PART 1 - THE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE CONSEQUENCES
Journal: POLICE REVIEW  Volume:85  Issue:4468  Dated:(SEPTEMBER 1978)  Pages:1294-1302
Author(s): H TEMPLETON
Corporate Author: Police Review Publishing Co
Publications Coordinator
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Police Review Publishing Co
London, WC1V 7HU, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: A CRITIQUE OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE AND ITS EFFECT ON THE POLICE SERVICE IN ENGLAND AND WALES AND ON POLICY-COMMUNITY RELATIONS IS PRESENTED.
Abstract: CIVIL PROCEEDINGS ARE OPEN TO ANY MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC WHO FEELS THAT A POLICE OFFICER HAS TREATED HIM OR HER UNFAIRLY. CONSTABLES CARRY A VICARIOUS RESPONSIBILITY FOR WRONGFUL ACTS OF THEIR SUBORDINATES, AND EVERY POLICE OFFICER IS SUBJECT TO A COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE. THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE IS SEEN AS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE, COSTLY, WASTEFUL, AND INJURIOUS TO POLICE AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS. IT INHIBITS THE OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY OF THE POLICE AS A COHESIVE GROUP AND OF INDIVIDUAL POLICE OFFICERS ON THE BEAT. POLICE OFFICERS ARE INDUCTED INTO SERVICE THROUGH TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD. THEY ARE ALSO INFLUENCED, THROUGH THE EFFECTS OF INGROUP DYNAMICS, TO ADOPT AN IDEOLOGY OF THEMSELVES AS BEING LEADERS IN SOCIETY'S FIGHT AGAINST CRIME. THEY ARE EXPECTED TO OPERATE WITHIN A FRAMEWORK OF RIGOROUS LEGAL CONSTRAINTS AND MUST DEVELOP AN EXPERTISE OF EXACTNESS AND OBJECTIVITY IN THEIR INTERPRETATION OF EVENTS. ALTHOUGH THE PUBLIC TENDS TO RATE POLICE OFFICERS HIGHLY, SOME COMPLAINTS ARE MADE. MANY OFFICERS FEEL THEIR INTEGRITY IS THREATENED BY THESE COMPLAINTS. IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TERMS, OFFICERS REACT TO ACCUSATIONS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. FOR EXAMPLE, AN INDIVIDUAL OFFICER CAN BECOME MORE AGGRESSIVELY ENTRENCHED AND IRRATIONAL AND LOSE HIS SENSE OF PROFESSIONAL OBJECTIVITY AND BALANCE IN ASSESSING A COMPLAINTS SITUATION. FOR OTHER OFFICERS, THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE INDUCES A SENSE OF MISTRUST THAT CAN AND OFTEN DOES LEAD TO ALIENATION BETWEEN OFFICERS AND THE PUBLIC. PUBLIC ORDER BY THE POLICE IS SUBSTANTIALLY ATTAINED BY PUBLIC CONSENT. POLICE OFFICERS MUST BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL AND MUST OPERATE WITHIN A FORMAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK. A BALANCE MUST BE MAINTAINED BETWEEN THE EFFICIENCY OF THE POLICE AND THEIR ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE PUBLIC. THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE PRODUCES A DISCRIMINATORY IMBALANCE AGAINST THE POLICE. AN HISTORICAL REVIEW OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE IS PRESENTED, AND COMPLAINANTS ARE DISCUSSED IN TERMS OF THEIR ROLES AS MANIPULATORS OR INNOVATORS. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Citizen grievances; Complaints against police; England; Police attitudes; Police community relations; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Wales
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51232

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