Essay On Police Force

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Juvenile Attitudes Toward the Police Force

Young people and the police have, for many years, experienced a tense and confrontational relationship (Borgquist & Johnson et al., 1995). This has led to a great wealth of literature based upon the notion of police-youth interaction. Much of this literature has tended to focus upon juvenile criminality and the reasons why young people commit such seemingly high levels of crime. Whilst the relationship between young people and the police force has been widely theorised and explained, there is very little literature on juvenile attiudes towards the police. Research that concerns societies attitudes towards the police force tends to focus upon the views and opinions of adults (Hurst and Frank, 2000). In this first section of my literature review I am going to focus upon work that allows us to gain a deeper understanding of why young people are so important when looking at crime. This section will allow us to comprehend the ways in which, literature suggests, young people view the police. This knowledge will provide a basis for my research in which I look more specifically at youth attitudes towards PCSO’s.

Adolescence is a key period in life for attitude formation. In this episode of development individuals are seen to challenge many forms of authority. We see this occurring with parents, teachers and anyone that has authoritative power over these young people. One form of authoritative power that adolescents may encounter is the police. The research of Clark and Wenninger (1964) found that the attitudes young people have towards the law are the same as the attitudes toward schools and other such institutions. This was referred to as an, ‘anti-authority syndrome’ (p. 448). This means th...

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...iew of the police. Hurst and Frank (2000) found that this is not the case. They argued that individuals who had fallen victim to crime were more likely to have negative attitudes toward the police than those who had no interaction at all. This suggests that any form of interaction with the police force is likely to have a negative effect on the attitudes of young people. It is suggested that adults, however, would have more positive views of the police after dealing with them due to crime victimisation (Leiber et al., 1998). The difference here is arguably due to the way the police treat young people (Ti and Wood et al., 2013). Many officers see the behaviour of young people to be more troublesome than that of adults and therefore there is a need to crack down more harshly on juvenile criminality than that of their adult counterparts (Brown and Novak et al., 2009).

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