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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73637 Find in a Library
Title: Primary Object To Be Attained
Journal: Police Journal  Volume:53  Issue:4  Dated:October-December 1980  Pages:314-323
Author(s): B. Butcher
Date Published: October 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Traditional British police methods of crime prevention are critiqued by a police constable, and a strategy that emphasizes police-community relations is proposed.
Abstract: The article argues that the concept that crime prevention is the primary duty of a police force should be reexamined. Police crime-prevention action has traditionally been based on deterrence through police presence in the community and a high rate of case clearance that results in sanctions against offenders. Based upon this theory of deterrence through physical presence and a high rate of case clearance, concern for crime prevention could lead to progression toward a police state. The public resists such police activity and is apparently willing to accept a certain level of crime by limiting police intrusions into private and community life. Evidence also indicates the police presence and crime investigation are limited in effecting crime deterrence. The clearance rate for reported crimes, not to mention unreported crimes, is low enough to give criminals and potential criminals some assurance that they can commit crimes without being caught. Further, criminal behavior appears to emerge more from impulse, passion, and character defects, rather than a rational judgment about the possibility of being apprehended and punished. The foundation of crime prevention appears to reside more in the positive molding of individual and community character than in reactive crime-solving police endeavors. While police presence and crime-solving are an important part of structuring a system of justice and sanctions for criminal behavior, the limitations of this approach must be recognized. Police will then increase their cooperation with other community institutions devoted to providing positive community development and character-building influences. Fourteen footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Community involvement; Crime prevention measures; Cultural influences; Deterrence; Deterrence effectiveness; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Police community relations; Police crime-prevention; Police effectiveness; Police responsibilities
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