Rise and Fall of Police Legitiamacy
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Who are the police?
- An institution empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder.
- Their powers include the legitimized use of force
- great fragility between police and public
- Eric Garner, Michael Brown
- Obama "oppressive, abusive and racially bias"
- BEETHAM (1991)
- "moral or normative aspects of power"
- Power is seen a legitimate if it can be justified in terms of shared beliefs
Importance of Police Legitimacy
- Policing can only be effective with consent
- Needs public to co-operate
- BUT BITTNER (1974) Policing is about conflict and potential use of state sanctioned force
- Thus, legitimacy important as trust must be maintained
- in order for piblic to accept it is a legitimate institution
- we consent to be controlled but only if power is legitimate
Rise of police legitimacy (4 points)
- Bureaucratisation - skilled, professional workforce
- Rule of law - use of minimum force
- Political impartiality - public acceptance, insulated from direct political control, independent agency
- Preventative policing - security and property protected
- 1950s "golden age"
Police is about conflict and potential use of state sanctioned force
"moral or normative aspects of power"
Fall of police legitimacy - no longer seen as disciplined, impartial bureaucracy
- complex social changes - widening inequality (Thatcher Admin 1979) - fragility increases as society becomes more divided
- less bureaucratic - corruption scandals in the Metropolitan police
- Malpractice - use of physical force Blair Peach 1979 death at a protest, unauthorized police weapon
- Political Impatriality
- Service Role
- Role of media - challenging police legitimacy
use of physical force Blair Peach 1979 death at a protest, unauthorized police weapon
- concerns affiliated with politics of the Right
- 1980s - tool of social control by Thatcher
- Miners Strikes of 1984/5
- riots and social unrest
- Police as instruments of the Right wing govenment
- use of brutal force
- mass arrests
- Denigration of service role
- "firebrigade policing" - forced to drive
- Removal of bobbies on beat (foot patrol)
- losing community RS
- transforming preventative role - profiling of potential offenders (fosters mistrust)
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