The Core Function of Police in Reference to Wilson and Keeling's Broken Windows Thesis

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The Core Function of Police in Reference to Wilson and Keeling's Broken Windows Thesis

In considering whether the core function of the Police should be to

maintain order, there are a number of issues, both historic and

current, which need to be taken into consideration. For example, the

maintenance of what constitutes “order” can be interpreted differently

by different communities i.e. urban and rural. The expectations of

police performance and in how they deploy their resources to meet

conflicting demands need to satisfy both nationally set targets and

meet locally driven priorities. These demands also impacts on the

police as they are expected to adopt a more managerialistic approach

to policing and subsequently what this means to ensure meaningful

accountability to the local communities it serves. There are different

styles of policing which can contribute to maintaining order, zero

tolerance style policing which can have an adverse effect on good

community relations or neighbourhood policing which Wilson and Kelling

assess in their thesis “broken windows”. Furthermore, there has

always been difficulties in achieving a balance between the different

functions of policing , i.e crime fighting, detection of crime and

ultimately how this reduces crime.

If you explore these issues historically, when Sir Robert Peel the

Home Secretary first established the Metropolitan Police in London

1829, he stated that the maintenance of order and prevention of crime

was considered to be a core function of routine police work. This was

explained in the new police instructions published in the Times

newspaper in September 1829, (in Muncie and McL...

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... http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hosb1001.pdf accessed 6th June

2005

Muncie J, and McLaughlin E 2002The Problem of Crime The Open

University, Sage publications Ch p.145)

Muncie J, and McLaughlin E 2002 Controlling Crime The Open University,

Sage publications (Chapters 1 and 2)

Police Instructions, printed in Times newspaper September 1829, in

Muncie J, and McLaughlin E 2002 Controlling Crime The Open University,

Sage publications (Chapter 1 p.28)

Wilson, J, Q and Kelling G, 1982 “Broken Windows” The Police and

neighbourhood safety printed in Criminological Perspectives: Essential

Readings 2nd edition 2004 pages 400 410 edited by John Muncie, Eugene

McLaughlin

Personal experience as Hertfordshire County Council representative on

Watford and Three Rivers Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships

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