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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99644 Find in a Library
Title: Acknowledged as Part of Our Constitutional Bedrock, Policing by Consent Is Seen By Some as a Paradox
Journal: Police Journal  Volume:58  Issue:4  Dated:(October-December 1985)  Pages:293-302
Author(s): G Keenoy
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This historical review of policing in Great Britain focuses on how public attitudes toward the police and their exercise of authority are related to public images of the police and the strength of informal social control mechanisms.
Abstract: Although the British people resisted the establishment of a formal police force for centuries due to a fear of intrusion upon their liberties, the 1829 Metropolitan Police Act established such a force during a period of social upheaval and intolerable lawlessness in London. Since that time, public acceptance of the force has been recognized as the basis for its authority. Such public acceptance has traditionally been obtained through policing actions that have emphasized public service and fair law enforcement. During the last 20 years, however, public acceptance of police authority has steadily eroded, largely due to a general reluctance of citizens to accept authority, a reluctance rooted in the breakdown of parental authority in the family. The mass media has also tended to focus on police actions presumed by the media to be abuse of authority, thus contributing to a public image of the police as being brutal and unfair in dealing with the public. Violence has also increased in Britain, requiring that the police, more often than in the past, must meet force with force. Society itself has changed more than have the values and practices of policing. The police must trust that these values will be embraced by the public over the long term.
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; History of policing; Police responsibilities; Police social services; Police-media relations; Public Opinion of the Police
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