Blog entries on policing

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Within this module on the concept of ‘policing and the police’, the author was asked to post entries on various readings that were delivered in the module throughout the weeks. The entries were posted via a blog within groups and the concept was to reflect and analyse fellow colleague’s comments and blog entries throughout the module. The author’s blog entries were varied and analysed the reading lists that were delivered in the lectures. The blog entries that were posted by the author were on ‘police crime commissioners’, police sub-culture, Reiner’s view on the rights of the victims and the accused, Police community special officers role within the police force, and the role of the police organisation within the force.

The author commenced the ‘blog’ by analysing Mawby & Wright (2003) article on ‘The Police Organisation’. It was important to outline the extremely complexity within today’s policing structure and organisation. The author analysed the research paper and found it interesting to analyse the closure of smaller police stations within communities to replace them for larger headquarters that were not necessarily in the same town to some of the general public.

In answering my point on the closure of smaller police station, a fellow colleague wrote in her response on the blog, and agrees that to close the traditional ‘blue lamp’ stations within communities could lead to some members, such as, the elderly, vulnerable and feeling unsafe.

The police organisation Blog entry (1)

Mawby and Wright discuss in their article on ‘the police organisation; the various types of basic descriptions of the governing body of the police today, this is ‘the Home Office’, and its main role is to govern and regulate the many aspects of today’s policing within the UK.

Mawby and Wright analyses and looks at the environment in which the police work and the types of buildings in which police forces are situated within England and Wales. Throughout the decades many smaller police stations have closed, making way for bigger police headquarters within bigger cities. A survey by the (Sunday Telegraph March 2012) states that more than a third of police stations in rural areas are to be closed, this will mean that the general public living in these smaller towns will have to report crimes to police officers miles from where the live, which could be miles away. Police say the closures of the smaller buildings are necessary due the Government having to cut their funding by 20 per cent.

The decision to close these traditional ‘blue lamp’ stations could leave communities vulnerable and leaves the elderly and infirm feeling extremely unsafe in their community in which they live. What do people think about this? And should traditional police stations be closed by the government to save money?

The author then went onto to analyse the role of the ‘Police Community Safety Officer’ role within the police force. Mawby & Wright (2008) highlighted the concept of extended members of the police force within ‘The Police Organisation’. Within the reading list for the role of the PCSO’S within the police force, the government’s white paper ‘Building Communities, Beating Crime (Home Office 2004) highlighted the need for PCSO’S within today’s modern police force to ensure the safety of society’s community. It was interesting to realise how much the role of the PCSO’S have changed within society and as stated by Cooper et al (2006), that although the PCSO’S were once seen as ‘plastic police men’, the PCSO’S have gained credibility within communities. And as stated in The Sentinel (2014), there has been a massive increase in the job applications for the role of the PCSO’S within the local area of Staffordshire. The point that the author made on the roles of the PCSO’S to the blog was, are the PCSO’s within the police force a cheaper alternative within the government and also do the PCSO’S have receive sufficient training to aide the community in today’s society. Fellow colleagues in the blog agreed that PCSO’S are necessary in today’s police force, but only for aiding purposes to police officers who are highly trained.

PCSO’S Blog Entry (2)

In response to KH review on police community safety officer’s role within any community is extremely important for the safety of today’s society we live in. This could give vulnerable people in the community peace of mind, and with the PCSO’S physical presence, the feeling of safety in their own community.

PCSO’S role within today’s society may help the vulnerable population within communities feel safer, and as stated by a fellow blogger’s article outlined by (Cooper 2006), the PCSO’S have gone from being labelled as ‘plastic police men’, to credited members of the police force. According to a report by the ‘Sentinel’ (2014), more than 450 individuals have applied for just 8 PCSO’s positions in Staffordshire area alone; this will make a total of 208 PCSO’s within the Staffordshire police force.

PCSO’s have an extremely pivotal role within today’s police force. They should not be seen as a replacement for police officers, but their main roles help and assist the police officers, who are highly trained. The police officer’s then can concentrate and focus on more appropriate tasks which they are highly trained for.

The government document ‘Building Community, Beating Crime: A Better Police Service for the 21st Century’, is a white paper introduced by the government that includes proposals for modernisation within the police force. By appointing PCSO’s within the police force are they a cheaper resource for the government. My question to the blog is do people feel they have sufficient ability and training to aid the community in today’s society.

Within the reading for ‘ The Politics of the Police’, Reiner (2010) analysis and assesses the ‘Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), which Reiner states as being ‘the most significant landmark in the modern development in police powers’. It sets out to create a balance of the powers of the police and the safeguarding of the individual who commits any criminal activity. Reiner in his research argues that by keeping a fair and balanced distinction towards the rights of the victim of criminal activities and the accused is unsustainable. Reiner (2010) states that communities in society are extremely ill advised due to the fact that the accused has too many rights. The author wrote in his blog entry, that he disagrees with the concept of Reiner’s views on the criminal having to many rights, except ‘Human Rights’, and agrees that the victim’s needs are fully supported and met, and should always play a pivotal role within the justice process. The author addressed the research works of Sykes (1958) and outlined the pains of imprisonment any individual goes through once they have been incarcerated from society

The politics of the police. Blog Entry (3)

In the authors response to a fellow bloggers question to whether Reiner is right or wrong with reference to keeping a fair balanced distinction between the victim and the accused rights. Personally I disagree with Reiner and that for the sake of ‘fairness’, to the accused, a fair balance to each individual must be maintained at all times. With the human rights viewpoint that all individuals within society needs to be treated with humanity at all times.

The author agrees with the concept that the victim needs are fully met, and there needs must play a pivotal role in the justice system. The victims need to protected as much as humanely possible.

If the accused is then found guilty by the courts and law of the lands, this itself is the start of the individual’s punishment from society. Gresham Sykes study on “The Pains of Imprisonment”, outlines the concept of imprisonment, and outlines the several ‘pains’, the accused has to go through whilst being incarcerated for the length of their custodial sentence. So therefore, the author disagrees with Reiner and feels some of the accused in society do not have too many rights, except ‘Human Rights’.

Within the reading for Waddington (1999) “What is policing”, Waddington analysis the concept of police sub-culture and often they can influence the behaviours of police officers in the police force. The author’s blog entry goes on to analysis the police officers role within the force and writes about the varied sub-cultures within the police force. Britz (1997), emphasised the theory that some police officers could develop a ’cop code’ within the police force community.

Police Sub Culture. Blog Entry (4)

In response to a fellow bloggers comment, the author feels that when Waddington writes about the concept of police subculture is right in his conclusion. But the police often face extremely difficult decisions throughout their roles within the police force.

The big question is whether the police officers loyalties lie towards their community they serve or to the loyalties to their fellow police colleagues. Police officers that serve in the police force have to swear an oath that allows then to serve and protect the general public. They are required to do this without allowing for the following-

…..”Personal feelings, prejudices, animosities, or friendships that may influence their actions”…..

But, as policemen work alongside one another in the field of policing, a ‘cop code’ develops and in some cases, the police officers often maintain a code of silence to protect their fellow police officers.

Many police officers instead of practising a professional code of ethics may develop a personal code in which their loyalties to their fellow police officers out way them serving and protecting the community they should be serving.

Police officers therefore can develop a tribal mentality which can consist of, police officers are all visual identifiable in uniform, badges, or firearms they carry. Police officers often also share dangers, setbacks and also rewards that the general public do not see. The dangers could therefore enforce the police officers to develop ‘us against the attitude’ (Britz 1997).

Within police forces throughout a strong police subculture will often produce the concept of a ‘cop code’. If a police officer’s become corrupt and hide evidence or break a law to explore another. Their fellow officers could ignore or assist, and therefore, breaking their own professional code of conduct.

The final blog entry was on Lister (2013) “The New Politics of the Police: Police and Crime Commissioners”. This article points out the appointment of police crime commissioner’s within the police force. The points that were made analysed what powers the PCC have within the 41 police forces within England & Wales. Also analysed in the blogs were the extremely poor turnout of voter on the election of the 41 PCC.

Police Crime Commissioners. Blog Entry (5 & 6)

The article by Lister (2003) on “The New Politics of the Police: Police and Crime Commissioners”, focuses on the government initiation of appointing police crime commissioner’s throughout the police forces within England and Wales.

The main points that Lister (2003) addresses is whether the police crime commissioner indeed have judicial power to interfere with senior police officers within their geographical police force. If they have the power to interfere from a political viewpoint, this must be done in the best interest of the geographical community and not just for political power within the community.

Raine and Keasey (2012) states that the question that the police crime commissioner will seek to interfere in the day to day policing within society, thus, trying to get the general public support when it is time for voting and the next general election.

Within Staffordshire, Conservative candidate, Matthew Ellis won the election for police crime commissioner, but his victory was short lived due to the fact that the elections for the role of police crime commissioner in Staffordshire were the lowest throughout England and Wales 41 police forces geographically.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility (PSSR) ACT 2011, was responsible for developing the concept of the police crime commissioners within the UK. The police crime commissioners are given responsibilities for holding their chief constable accountable for local procedures within their police force. The two key players of the police force work closely and are accountable to an elected committing group within the geographical area.

The authors question to the blog is why to you think Staffordshire had the lowest voting turnout throughout the 41 police forces within England and Wales.

The concept and strategy for appointing police crime commissioners was formed by the Conservative 2010 plan set out by the elective party at the time. Within 41 police forces within England and Wales, there was a drastic turnout of voters to support the election of police crime commissioners. In the authors opinion the lack of knowledge concerning the concept and plans of the role of the police crime commissioner is a major factor to why the general public choose not to vote. The timing of voting in November might not have helped with the election, due to the month of November being a winter month of the year.

The Home Office did put adverts out to publicise the elections of the appointment of the police crime commissioners in the 41 geographical police forces within England and Wales. Unfortunately the government decided not to advertise via the postal service, due to cost and the lack of funding. With only a 20% turnout rate of voters should be a major concern to whether the general public were represented in the voting of the police crime commissioner in the local area of Staffordshire.

With the government appointing police crime commissioners, maybe without the knowledge of the role of the police crime commissioner, the general public could think that policing in today’s society will become more political. If this is the general public’s opinion, they could feel that policing and safeguarding the public could be drastically compromised.

On reflection the author found writing the blog entries extremely interesting, and there was a wide range of reading material on the concept of policing and the police module. The author also found reading fellow colleagues blogs useful and interesting to see their points of view on various reading topics throughout the weeks. Due to timing issues within the group blog, sometimes fellow colleagues did not answer the author’s questions that were put up to analyse. One of the reasons could have been that the questions that were asked in the blogs were actually answered through the various author’s outlined in the reading lists set on the module.

REFERENCES

Britz, M.T. (1997) The Police Subculture and Occupational Socialization: Exploring Individual and Demographic Characteristics. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Vol 21 (2) pp 127-146.

Cooper, C., Anscome, J., Avenall, J, Mclean, F. & Morris, J. (2005). A National Evaluation of Community Support Officers Home Office Research Study 297. London: Home Office.

Home Office (2004) Building Communities, Beating Crime: A better Police Service for the 21st Century.

Lister, S. (2013). The New Politics of the Police: Police and Crime Commissioners and the ‘Operational Independence’ of the Police. Oxford University Press.

Mawby, R.C. & Wright, A (2003). ‘The Police Organisation’ Citied in Newburn. T. (ed). The Handbook of Policing. Pp. 169-195. Cullompton. Willan Publishing.

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. www.legislationgov.uk/id/ukpga/2013.

Reiner, R. (2010). “Cop Cultures” from Reiner, Robert. The Politics of the Police. Pp. 115-118. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Sykes, M,G. (1958). The Society of Captives: A Study of Maximum Security Prison. Princeton University Press.

The Sentinal (2014). www.stokesentinal.co.uk/Cheshire-Police...PCSO.../story.html

Waddington, P.A,J. (1999). What is Policing? London UCL Press.

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