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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 88611 Find in a Library
Title: Explaining Police Pessimism (From Modern Policing, P 110-122, 1981, David Watts Pope and Norman L Weiner, eds - See NCJ-88605)
Author(s): C J Vick
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Croom Helm Ltd
Dover, NH 03820
Sale Source: Croom Helm Ltd
51 Washington Street
81 Adams Drive
Dover, NH 03820
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The British police are pessimistic about the nature and direction of social change and public support because of their exclusive orientation toward social control and order, while failing to appreciate that democratic principles provide opportunity for change that may bring disorder in the process.
Abstract: Although police pessimism about social change is justified when the highest priority is given to social order, control, and respect for authority, police pessimism about public support is not justified, since there is evidence of considerable public support for the police. The deviant elements that put a strain on social order in a democracy may prove to be those creative influences that produce a more just social order in the future. The police, however, tend to be pessimistic about any state of disorder regardless of the reasons for it. Perhaps it is the realization by the police that the resolution of the conflicts in a democracy are beyond their control that has led them to call for more repressive means. On the other hand, an acceptance of the fact that in a democracy the police are not intended to resolve all occasions of social disorder could lessen their demand for more repressive means without increasing their sense of failure and pessimism. Recent calls for the democratization of the police and the extension of democratic control over the police are unlikely to lead to any change in the police perception of the problems of crime and public disorder, primarily because the majority of citizens share the same perceptions of these problems as the police, so the police need not fear becoming an embattled minority. Twenty-nine notes are provided.
Index Term(s): England; Police attitudes; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Social change
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