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NCJ Number: 68534 Find in a Library
Title: POLICE AND PUBLIC - IMAGES AND REALITY
Journal: REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE CRIMINOLOGIE ET DE POLICE TECHNIQUE  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL-JUNE 1979)  Pages:143-163
Author(s): D SZABO
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 21
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Switzerland
Annotation: THE POLICE IS CHARACTERIZED AS A SUBCULTURE IN MODERN SOCIETY, AND THE ROLE OF THE POLICE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF VARIOUS FACTORS IS ANALYZED.
Abstract: THE TERM 'SUBCULTURE' IS DEFINED AS 'THE ENTIRETY OF CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS ATTRIBUTED TO A DISTINCT GROUP IN SOCIETY.' IN THIS SENSE, THE POLICE MAY BE DESCRIBED AS A SUBCULTURE CHARACTERIZED BY THE COMMON TRAITS OF DISSIMULATION (I.E., THE OFFICERS RARELY TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES AND COLLEAGUES), SOLIDARITY, SUSPICION, TRICKERY (E.G., FOR OBTAINING INFORMATION), AND POLITICAL/MORAL CONSERVATISM. THE POLICE SUBCULTURE HAS DEVELOPED THESE CHARACTERISTICS, BY NECESSITY, TO DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST THE CONTINUOUS DEMANDS OF THE REST OF SOCIETY (LAW ENFORCEMENT, PUBLIC ORDER, COMMUNITY RELATIONS, RESPECT FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, ETC.) WHICH IT CANNOT FULFILL. THE TASKS OF THE POLICE FORCE AND ITS POSITION AS A SUBCULTURE DEPEND ON THE FOLLOWING SOCIAL VARIABLES: (1) THE TYPE OF SOCIETY (HOMOGENEOUS, PARTIALLY HOMOGENEOUS, OR NONHOMOGENEOUS), (2) THE ORGANIZATION OF THE POLICE FORCE (CENTRALIZED OR LOCAL), AND (3) THE DEGREE TO WHICH A SOCIETY HAS COMMON NORMS. A POLICE SUBCULTURE IS MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP IN THE HOMOGENEOUS SOCIETY, WITH ITS UNIFORM LEGAL NORMS. A LOCAL POLICE FORCE IN A PARTIALLY HOMOGENEOUS SOCIETY MAY DEVELOP A LAW ENFORCEMENT PROBLEM, BUT IT HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF ACTING AS AN INTEGRATING FACTOR THAN A CENTRALIZED POLICE WHICH IS IN DANGER OF DEVELOPING ITS OWN 'POLICE CULTURE.' ALOCALIZED POLICE FORCE IN A SOCIETY SHARING FEW NORMS CAN EASILY BECOME CORRUPT, WHILE A STRONGLY CENTRALIZED ONE IS FREQUENTLY HONEST AND PROFESSIONAL. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE SOCIETY SHAPES THE POLICE RATHER THAN THE POLICE SHAPING SOCIETY. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS INCLUDED. -IN FRENCH.
Index Term(s): Police attitudes; Police community relations; Police organizational structure; Police responsibilities; Subculture theory
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68534

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