The Relationship Between Democracy And Policing Essay

The Relationship Between Democracy And Policing Essay

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Chapter 20 starts off describing the relationship between democracy and policing. The author stated that democracy requires widespread participation in public decisions, no matter how much time it takes to reach a conclusion. Whereas policing needs quick and independent decisions by a non-political agent of the law, especially when something must be done immediately (Bittner 1970). It is a tough line to follow as there needs to be an effective means to prevent crime and disorder quickly while maintaining the fairness of the democratic deliberation over how policing should be accomplished. These two demands have been referred to as the democratic policing dilemma. There have been two solutions to this dilemma that democracies have used, one of which is the reshuffling of the external oversight of police agencies and the other is enhancing the internal technical knowledge of police practices.
The author states that democracy will always debate the morals in policing. What we know about how police can help reduce crime is sometimes portrayed as dangerous knowledge that threatens the many other functions that police must perform, such as traffic stops to public safety (Skogan 2009). Bittner’s definition of the role of police is to provide “… a mechanism for the distribution of non-negotiably coercive force employed in accordance with the dictates of an intuitive grasp of situational exigencies” and specifically in situations in which there is “… something that ought not be to happening and about which someone had better do something NOW!” (Bittner 1990, 249).
There are definitions used within policing to help describe the different types of methods used. One such method is Predictive Policing, where a prediction is made of where,...


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...re at odds with the evidence that has been researched. There is unlikely to be any easy or early resolution of this tension. The author states that democracy needs to be moderately distrustful of police if only as a matter of checks and balances. It is not necessary to trust police blindly when the evidence on policing is transparent. Police themselves can contribute to their own evidence-based independence by accepting this point. If police repeatedly base their expert authority on objective evidence rather than on subjective opinions, they can challenge their critics to show how the objective evidence is wrong. There are quite a few missed opportunities for citizens to vote on objective based evidence that some observers conclude that democracy has met its limits. In the discovery of new knowledge about democratic police practices, the possibilities are limitless.

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