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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73641 Find in a Library
Title: Police and the Public
Journal: Police Journal  Volume:53  Issue:4  Dated:(October-December 1980)  Pages:357-366
Author(s): S McCabe
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The conflicting views of the police and the public regarding the appropriate area of police intervention in Great Britain are discussed.
Abstract: Most police officers feel that crime and its detection are the only real police work. However, most crimes are domestic crimes, impossible to prevent by the police and usually not reported. Even those offenses which are reported to the police are not always recorded (e.g., family violence), often because the police view these offenses as appropriate objects of social services rather than of police intervention. The particular and general consequences of this process are important for administrators and policymakers. They include disagreement between the public and the police about proper access to the protection of criminal law; the unreliability of published statistics for establishing priorities; and the difficulty of holding accountable lower ranking police officers. In addition, growing specialization in crime detection causes the best talent to enter specialist groups, such as fraud and drug squads, and diminishes the job satisfaction of local police. As a result, police officers resort to 'street cleaning' (e.g., using the 19th century Vagrancy Act to stop suspicious looking persons) to relieve the tedium of paperwork and routine patrols. Hostility between the public and police results. Further police-community misunderstandings have been caused by widespread use and misuse of the free 999 police emergency telephone number. At issue in all of these developments is the order of priority of the following police functions: serious crime prevention, law enforcement and control of the streets, and social assistance. Police provision of social assistance could frustrate examination and criticism of the crime control and law enforcement. Footnotes and statistical data for crime rates in Great Britain, Western Europe, and the United States are included.
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; Nine-one-one (911) emergency telephone number; Police community relations; Police diversion; Police responsibilities; Police social services
Note: Paper presented to a seminar on the Police and Government held at University of Oxford (England).
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