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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51770 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: EXERCISE OF DISCRETION IN THE PROSECUTION OF OFFENDERS A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY OF POLICE IN THE UK (UNITED KINGDOM), FRANCE AND THE USA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
Author(s): J LAWTON
Corporate Author: Police College
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Police College
Basingstoke, Hampshire, England
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE LARGE AMOUNT OF PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION GIVEN TO POLICE IN ENGLAND AND WALES IS CONTRASTED WITH THE MORE LIMITED DISCRETION IN SCOTLAND AND THE UNITED STATES AND THE FRENCH INQUISITORIAL SYSTEM.
Abstract: THIS SURVEY OF POLICE PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION TRACES THE COMMON LAW EVOLUTION OF THE POLICE FORCE IN ENGLAND AND WALES. TRADITIONALLY, ANY BRITISH CITIZEN HAS THE POWER TO PROSECUTE AN OFFENDER, A POWER STILL EXERCISED IN CASES OF ASSAULT OR SHOPLIFTING. THE POLICE ARE CONSIDERED MERELY AN EXTENSION OF THE CITIZENRY AND HAVE A LARGE AREA OF DECISIONMAKING ATTACHED TO THEIR RESPONSIBILTIES, MORE THAN IS GENERALLY FOUND IN OTHER COUNTRIES. THE POLICE ROLE IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN SCOTLAND, WHICH HAVE PUBLIC PROSECUTORS, IS REVIEWED. THE FRENCH SYSTEM DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN THE PREVENTION OF OFFENSES (A POLICE FUNCTION) AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE CRIMINAL LAW (A DUTY SPECIFICALLY ASSIGNED TO CERTAIN POLICE OFFICERS, MAYORS, AND PUBLIC PROSECUTORS). IN FRENCH COURTS THE GATHERING OF EVIDENCE IS OFTEN THE JOB OF AN EXAMINING MAGISTRATE, ACTING AS AN INQUISITOR, WHOSE POWERS INCLUDE TAPPING TELEPHONES AND FORCING A CONFRONTATION BETWEEN WITNESSES. POLICE DISCRETION IN FRANCE IS LIMITED. ATTITUDES TOWARDS POLICE DISCRETION IN ENGLAND AND WALES ARE REVIEWED. IT IT CONCLUDED THAT ARBITRARY DECISIONS HAVE RESULTED IN LOSS OF PUBLIC CONFIDENCE. THE ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST A PUBLIC PROSECUTOR ARE PRESENTED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE ENGLISH SYSTEM CAN BEST BE IMPROVED BY INSTITUTING GUIDELINES FOR POLICE DISCRETION, NOT BY INSTITUTING A PUBLIC PROSECUTOR. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; England; France; Police discretion; Police responsibilities; Prosecutors; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Scotland; United States of America; Wales
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51770

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