Is There a Policing Standard?

PolicePolicing has been around for a couple centuries now.  In England and the United States, policing originated somewhere between 1825-1855 (Whitehouse) From its origins then to where policing is now there have been large changes to what police officers can and can’t do on the force.  Police forces originally arose due to the concerns of there being riots, strikes, and the fear of slave revolts in the southern United States.

Prior to a police force the army and militia of a country had always acted as the police of an area.  The military oversaw keeping the peace prior to the creation of a police force.  During Greek and Roman ages the overseers of the cites were the military.  There was no police force at this time and the military was responsible for keeping everything in check.

Using the military as the police force worked fine for many countries across the globe up until the industrial revolution.  The initial problem in England was when soldiers were sent charging through a crowd and killed between 10 and 20 people.  The Peterloo Massacre was the spark that many British people used to rally around when rioting against the political leaders.

Due to the military’s blunder during the Peterloo Massacre, the ruling class set up many new institutions to be implemented to keep the lower classes in order.  Ten years after the massacre the ruling class created the London Police.  This first form of police is extremely different from what is seen in today’s world.  The sole purpose of the London police was to break up large gatherings of people.  The goal was to peacefully prevent people from gathering and rioting in the streets of London.  There was a non-violence policy put in to keep there form being martyrs.

From this beginning the police has slowly evolved into what it has become today.  Policies and practices by polices have been changing overtime but there was a major change that was made by the New York City department in the 1930’s.  Since New York was a major leading city at this time it became too common standard for all other places around the world to soon follow their example.

The standard model that was set up by New York had 5 major aspects of it.  The first part of the model was the call for an increase in the number of officers on the force.  Secondly, they implemented random patrolling of all areas of the community.  Third was the need for rapid responses to crime that is being reported by the community.  Fourth was generalized improvements to criminal investigation techniques.  Fifth called for a more intensive police force with a higher percentage of arrests.

These were revolutionary ideas for the times they were implemented in New York.  Soon all stations in major cities started implementing these ideas into their stations as well.  There was a major belief that with more interaction between police and the community that the fear of officers would decrease which was true for the beginning of these policies.

However, with these ideas being strong in the beginning there were counter ideas that were brought up.  The counter ideas were discussed by many stations and were soon agreed upon to be much better than what New York had implemented.  The counter ideas took the standard model and tore it apart.

One of the key focuses of the counter arguments was focusing on hotspots.  Instead of focusing on patrolling all areas of a city the counter idea said that police should focus on having a higher number of officers in areas where more crimes are committed.  Another idea came from statistics gathered on 911 calls.  From the stats gathered it showed that most people waited too long from a crime happening to then calling the police to report the crime.  This hurt the immediate response of police to a crime since most of the time the culprits had already left the crime scene.

Policing practices are constantly changing in today’s world.  New ideas and practices are constantly being formed and implemented by officers around the states.  These practices do not always help to stop crime and can be dismantled as soon as they are implemented.

In the end, there is no one way to police.  Practices are constantly changing and being improved.  There are some practices that work in some areas that do not go as well in other areas of the states.  That brings up the question as to if there is a standard policing practice at all or if it all depends on the area a station is at on what practices are implemented.

-Christian Trayer



3 thoughts on “Is There a Policing Standard?

  1. I find it to be quite ironic that nearly ninety years later some police forces are resorting back to the policies that the New York department had first implemented an saying they are more effective. The area that i am from is now going back to the policies of community policing with, well of course having the officers become closer with the community’s. It is interesting to see that for the longest time the military acted as the police and nobody had a problem. However, it seems as though a reoccurring event, even back then, that one little thing happens and we have to rewrite the whole system to make the people happy; though maybe it was for the better. It is also quite interesting to see that the police was originally created to take down protest. seconding that, it was also quite ironic to see that they had protest and such outlawed. This to me is quite chuckle worthy because as Americans it seems as though all we do is protest and don’t want the police to get involved.
    -Samuel Good lll


  2. I was not aware that policing started around that time. It is interesting to see what will insinuate a riot whenever the people feel pressed such as the Peterloo Massacre that you mentioned. I wonder who the London Police reported to and how much control they actually had over which areas and which crowds they responded too. I had no idea that New York was the leader in the changing of the policing movement. I agree that if the police were to interact more with the community it would make them a more approachable character, then what they are today. The counter idea of hotspots is good in the beginning of the implementation, yet what happens now is that people are aware of which areas are policed so crime just moves. Your blog in general brings a good point to light; I think in some ways the policing standard can be argued for certain areas but not for others, just as you mentioned.
    -syd bryan


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