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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73325 Find in a Library
Title: Aspects of Comparative Police Functions - How To Define Executive Police Power - Prodrome for an Accelerated European Approach to Police Problems - Towards a New Scientific Police
Journal: Revue science criminelle et de droit penal compare  Issue:3  Dated:(July-September 1979)  Pages:649-667
Author(s): J Susini
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Type: Survey (Cross-Cultural)
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: This comparative study examines ethical, legal, sociological, political, administrative, and functional aspects of police discretion in view of the growing supranational and federalist spirit of Western Europe.
Abstract: The broad discretionary powers of law enforcement officers, who must rely on their judgment and the dictates of their conscience in dealing with emergency and crisis intervention situations, can only be exercised within the limitations of human nature. In the United Kingdom, for example, the police is increasingly called upon to decide when to arrest and initiate prosecution of criminal suspects, based on a conscious or even unconscious criminological evaluation of the suspect's personality, age, socioeconomic background, circumstances in which an offense occurs, and other, often intangible factors. Police discretion is especially broad, and the individual officer's responsibility especially heavy, in juvenile cases. Recent studies and reports published in Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States focus on the nature and implications of police discretion. Outside pressures (e.g., by political and special interest groups) and inner motivations, based on often unconscious psychological and cultural factors, can affect police performance, with the ever-present risk of arbitrariness and corruption. Arbitrariness and corruption in the exercise of police discretion are not a necessary evil, to be tolerated with the metaphysical justification of man's inherently sinful and imperfect nature. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is pointing the way to a scientific, objective, supranational solution to the ethical problems posed by police powers to choose targets and means for its operations. INTERPOL's increasingly automated investigation methods have created a systems-oriented law enforcement model in which data and evidence are programmed into a supercomputer impervious to human corruption and manipulation. The supranational and global view of society must prevail as the conceptual framework in which police officers, freed from metaphysical problems, learn to rationalize, master, and perfect their operation methods.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Computer aided operations; Cross-cultural comparisons; Great Britain/United Kingdom; International Narcotics Control Board; Police decisionmaking; Police discretion; Police juvenile relations; Police responsibilities; United States of America; Western Europe; Worldwide
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