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The Policing Role in Modern Society Case Study


Policing involves a number of purposes, the most important of which is to ensure public safety and order. In addition, it implies the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of people, the prevention and detection of crime, assistance, and services to the public in order to reduce the level of fear of crime, eliminating the possibility of injury and the emergence of social violence. At the same time, police-public partnerships do provide a more efficient and effective strategy for achieving these goals. It is crucial to analyze both community-based policing and intelligence-led policing to assess which of the two approaches is more effective and, in general, what their implications are.


The similarity of the two approaches lies in the fact that both of them were determined as the most crucial strategic complementary branches to traditional policing practices. In this regard, the police work has changed in terms of practices, but the main objectives of policing remain the same (Ratcliffe 200). Regardless of the differentiation of these two concepts, they have the same fundamental platform as they are based on the understanding that the current situation in the society requires flexible police work aimed at the specific needs of the citizens and society as a whole.

Nevertheless, the differences lie in the approach to practical activities, which are not similar. The community-based policing is based on the assumption that the police cannot control crime and keep order alone, but they need the support of society in ensuring security. The policing objectives for community service include the prevention and detection of crime, reducing the fear of crime, and strengthening police-public relations (Dunham and Alpert 459).

These objectives are achieved through the three measures. First, it is the interaction with the communities to discuss the priorities and strategic directions of the work and to mobilize efforts to provide active assistance to the population. Second, it is solving the problems with the emphasis on the prevention of crimes but not on their disclosure (which is the key difference from the second approach) and the need to eliminate the factors that cause these problems and not their appearance (Dunham and Alpert 459).

Third, it is the transformation of the organizational structure, in particular, the decentralization of the structures of subordination and decision-making, including decisions on the use of resources and the development of close cooperation with the other parties involved in ensuring public safety.

However, in contrast to the first approach, the intelligence-led policing is more often recognized as a means of early detection of threats and an assisting method of help to the law enforcement agencies (Pieters par. 1). As stated earlier, the aim of this approach is different; it is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the situations of violation of the law (for instance, corruption). In this approach, the orientation of police work is all kinds of information (James 121).

The police receive and gather information from both open and hidden sources and through contacts with the population as in the case of the first approach. Over time, the activities of the intelligence-led policing have started to encompass all kinds of police work. It is crucial to note that this category of policing emerged from the community-based approach, as the establishment of closer ties with the local population helps to identify the vast reservoir of information (James 159). The result of the strengthening of relations with the population is better access to information, which, in essence, is a vital condition for the quality of police work in all its aspects.


Human rights defenders refer to the community-based policing as to more effective one because it enables responding to the needs of the civil society better (Ratcliffe 52). The measures to promote effective crime obviation emphasize community involvement in crime prevention (Wetzel par. 8). Meanwhile, there are some issues and difficulties in this policing category, which implies that its effectiveness should be questioned. In the United States, the community-based policing strategy can lead to the establishment of constructive partnerships between the police and the public, but if it becomes more of an authoritarian concept, it can be used for the purpose of co-optation and regimentation.

The idea of the police working for the service of society requires a clearly delineated community having a clear and consistent understanding of their needs as well as the one that is willing to cooperate with the police (Ratcliffe 109). However, this notion facilitates and implies such problems as discrimination, the appearance of conflicting parties, and so on. The police will have to find a balance between operational independence, professional opinion, the need for a certain level of trust from the public, and take into account the needs of the population.

Eventually, the police, and sometimes even individual employees, will have to decide how best to proceed. In fact, the main question for the police in the service of society is how to balance the neutral (fair and impartial) approach, feelings, and attitudes of the population. Meanwhile, such questions would not be raised if the intelligence-based approach was utilized as it has other means and aims. Nevertheless, the community-based policing requires the widest possible coverage of the activity with the police playing a key role in the cohesion and public support. Although, because of this increasing role, the police can take over the functions of other government departments; thus, blurring the distinction between them.


As discussed in the previous section, many people believe that community-based policing is more effective, but the arguments indicate that this approach has significant drawbacks. Although, it is regarded as a universal type that adapts to the needs of any society and operates under the current circumstances. However, intelligence-based policing also takes into account the circumstances in which the police have to operate, encouraging the police to choose the methods of work that will help to gain information and catch criminals in the most effective way (James 210). Nevertheless, none of the strategies can be applied universally to any society, but a combination of the two approaches can be seen as the most applicable one.

If the two approaches are combined, the police will be able to act as the main agency that performs the task of ensuring security and maintaining order (Alarid 227). It will be able to prevent and investigate crimes, to maintain public order, to provide the necessary assistance to the population depending on the situation. The policing focused on human rights should be capable of providing any population with all three functions.

In conclusion, the resources should be allocated to the police so that it is able to perform its functions. It needs a sufficient number of the well-trained personnel that will reflect the composition of the communities they serve. There are several conceptual approaches to police work, and their applicability has its drawbacks. The approaches reflect the two positions in which the police either is an instrument of state control or provides services to the public.

Regardless of the approach to the work, the human rights defenders should focus on such principles as the sensitivity to the needs of the population to which it is accountable for as well as to execute the principle of the rule of law.

Works Cited

Alarid, Leanne. Community-Based Corrections, Boston: Cengage, 2014. Print.

Dunham, Roger, and Geoffrey Alpert. Critical Issues in Policing, Long Grove: Waveland Press, 2015. Print.

James, Adrian. Examining Intelligence-Led Policing, Philadelphia: Springer, 2013. Print.

Pieters, Jeffrey. 2010. Web.

Ratcliffe, Jerry. Intelligence-Led Policing, New York: Routledge, 2016. Print.

Wetzel, Tom. Community Policing Revisited 2012. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Policing Role in Modern Society." October 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-policing-role-in-modern-society/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Policing Role in Modern Society'. 16 October.

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