Recruit Trainning Program | Fighting
Crime| The Birth Of Human Resource| The
Shift to Community Policing| The
Police And The Public Uniting| Technology
and Common sense| The Police Marine
Unit|The Question Of Ethics
The Police and the Public Uniting to Combat Increasing Crime
|By Sergeant Peter Mc Combie
Community Relations Branch
Society has no doubt separated itself into parts and distinct
groups. This separation has led to the formation of institutions
that are responsible for the various structures needed in maintaining
the society. In general, society should not be perceived as distinct
institutions but as one great organizational component consisting
of every member of society, with each individual concerned and
responsible for the upkeep and welfare of each other. Nevertheless,
society has adopted different institutions to organize, promote
and protect itself with one of the most important, being the police.
Counteracting the effectiveness of the police is crime, an ill
that continues to harm and destroy society. There are several
causes of crime, particularly in societies of developing countries
and it has increased drastically in this modern age. This has
created considerable concern to members of society and ways and
means must be found if it is to be combated. Hence, as a constant
aim to counter increasing crime, the police and the public must
have and maintain good relations between them.
The police have a vast and multi-faceted role in society and
do not necessarily act as crime-fighters, but also provide a range
of services to the public. However, its principle role is one
of responsibility towards law and order. This has resulted in
the police having great powers in enforcing laws but at the same
time safeguarding the rights of the public. Thus, the police have
definitely become an identifiable symbol of law, which is clearly
seen in its functions and objectives in the protection of life
and property, the prevention and detection of crime, the detection,
pursuit and arrest of offenders and the preservation of the peace.
By its great power and constant contact with the public, the
manner in which the police operate can tremendously affect its
image. This is most evident in the complex way it carries out
its functions and objectives, which leads to a target of suspicion
and scorn from the public. Animosity and resentment then set in
and create a collapse in public relations. It is imperative that
the police take the first step to initiate, develop and put into
practice, tenets that will foster good relations with the public.
In this light, the police with an attitude of loyalty, pride and
respect can command a substantial part in educating the public
in national, cultural and social interests.
Nationally, the police can be of service by providing a patriotic
role in representing and giving the public a sense of pride by
means of parades, reviews and participation in national ceremonies.
Such involvements will go a long way in creating and preserving
customs and values that will instill into members of society a
sense of purpose and belonging in their lives, which can in turn
prevent criminal tendencies.
Society no doubt has a cultural heritage adopted from its past.
With this in mind, the police can create avenues that perpetuate
respectful culture and can contribute by having members of the
service take part in cultural festivals and activities. In so
doing, the police can be openly seen as a versatile body in the
belief of the society, thus, causing the public to see them not
only as law enforcers but as mutual partners in public activities.
On the social aspect, relations between the police and the public
cannot be said to be favourable. In fact, one of the most essential
causes of breakdown in relations between the police and the public
lies in social disintegration. The media and the public at large
constantly accuse the police of brutality and misuse of authority.
The average member of the public often dislikes the police and
sees them as being unfriendly, unsympathetic and untrustworthy.
There are numerous other complaints and accusations that have
reached superlative proportions and serious steps must be taken
to remove these social barriers, in order to integrate and maintain
harmonious relations between the police and the public.
It is time that the police come to the important realization
that they are indeed social workers, as they get involved in the
very serious social and psychological issues of the society. The
service can begin to initiate the role of social worker by getting
more involved in social development programmes. This will enable
the fostering of relations between police and public, aimed at
getting solutions to the ever increasing problems of crime and
other social ills. The police can begin by using the powerful
medium of television, radio and the press, to acquaint the public
about the police and their various functions. Sponsorship of annual
‘Police Week’ with stations opened to the public,
sports and other activities aimed at encouraging and enhancing
public participation. By conducting charitable exercises, the
police can visit the elderly, sick, handicapped and others in
the community that are dispossessed.
Still on the social aspect, the police can attack crime by providing
particular attention to crime infested areas. Regular advice should
be given to individuals and businesses on security measures in
the form of neighbourhood watches, discussion and various other
means. Great emphasis can be placed on devising and delivering
methods on crime prevention including other strategies that will
curtail increasing crime.
It must be borne in mind, that crime is not only increasing but
it is becoming even more violent, particularly in a society where
community spirit and effort, have been replaced by individual
self-interest. The fight against crime has been extremely difficult
for the police to control and the police and the public must understand
that the responsibility does not rest solely on the police.
The fight is the concern of each and every member of the society
who must be committed to oppose crime’s evil tendencies
and this can only come about by adhering to firm principles of
national, cultural and social commitment. Crime may not be eliminated
but can be conveniently controlled, thus the police and the public
must build a positive relationship if the fight is to be won.
Ultimately, this aim may even educate the criminal to abandon
his criminal inclinations.