The CID (Criminal Investigation Department) began in 1844, when Sir James Graham, successor to Sir Robert Peel, gave a dozen police sergeants the right to work in plain clothes3. The CID is concerned with detecting crime, investigating and solving some of the more serious crimes reported. They deal with different aspects of crime and function as a national force supplying specialised units including the Drug Squad, Crime Squad, and the Financial Investigation Unit.
The CID take on a different approach to that of uniformed police, many of them specialist in certain crimes for example drug crimes or fraud crimes and unlike the traditional uniformed police which is thought of as being a 'learned craft' Repetto (1978)4. The CID use technological and scientific developments in their crime investigation such as using forensic science. The CID officers are not uniformed therefore carry out some of their investigation work undercover in many cases working alongside the criminals to gain evidence of the criminal act.
Previous paragraphs have discussed the different roles of the police officers and what they do; however, many may argue that the role of a female police officer is different from the general overall role of a male police officer. Various studies analysing women employed in the police force have portrayed them as 'occupationally segregated and marginalized'5. Many research such as those carried out by Young (1991)6 and Walklate (2001) suggest that female officers are 'relegated' to 'low status' departments dealing with women and children7.
Therefore when questioning what the police do, the answer will be different when the question is what do the female police do? Martin (1996) conducted a study in which she found four out of the nine women she interviewed working in departments dealing with sexual and child abuse8. Research carried out by Brown (1998) showed that women were over-represented in certain types of policing such as community work and training departments, compared to the male colleagues who were often involved in more violent crimes, such as 'call outs' to violent offenders9.
These research and studies show that a high percentage of female police officers case load mainly consist of crimes against women such as rape, domestic violence etc. The research highlighted above also emphasise the large amount of women in the non- crime aspects of policing, for example working with community and youth centres. One can argue that the main reason this has occurred is the publicity surrounding the unsympathetic treatment of women as victims, therefore police forces believed the best way of tackling this is by employing female officers, hence throughout the 1900s women were recruited into domestic violence units.
Earlier paragraphs have discussed the work of the police and their duties to society, however, how effective the police are in enforcing the law and preventing crime is a subject of great controversy. The public may greatly believe that more police equals less crime, however research in the 1970s and 1980s exploring the methods police use to reduce crime suggest that 'the police might not be as central to crime prevention and control as might instinctively been thought'10, Clarke and Hough (1984).
Looking at crime statistics one can argue the police are doing their job well because according to statistics crime rate overall has fallen. However, to see whether the police are effective in doing their job one can look how the police handle certain crimes and in what ways the public response to the police forces way of tackling crime. Firstly, when looking at community policing (soft policing) the previous paragraphs discuss how the police officers work to involve the community, to create a good police – public relationship, and in turn reducing and preventing crime.
However, research shows that there are significant problems with community policing11, Bennett (1994). The fundamental problem with community policing is that it mainly concentrates on medium and longer term problem solving, consequently, this leads to many cities not having the 'patience' for this tactic,12 Skogan and Harnett (1997). The ultimate aim of community policing is to help prevent crime and to work with the public, however, some studies show that community policing is not that effective in neighbourhoods where there is high levels of crime13.
Skogan and Harnett (1997) study shows that officers believe that in these types of neighbourhood harder policing is needed. This shows although community policing is a police method of cracking down and preventing certain crimes, this only works in area that are less problematic and less needy. However, community policing is effective in some aspects, (Bayley and Shearing 1996) some police officers believe that it reassures the public, demonstrating the limits for unacceptable behaviour, it is also believed to reduced the incidence of more serious crime.
Hard policing suggest that the police officers involve are there to maintain order and keep the peace, however many research argue that this is not true therefore stressing that these forms of policing in practice is not effective. Waddington argues that in certain situations where the police is ordered to 'keep the peace' or 'maintain order' for example in riots or demonstration. This is not the case he stresses that in many occasion the police are serving the government and in some occasions causing a riot to become 'characterised as a battle between two groups (rioters and the police)'14.
For example, in 1984 the most militant section of the working class, the miners, fought back in a strike Tory government who were trying to close the pits. Thousands of police from London were 'poured' into the pit villages. Pitched battles were fought as the police tried to smash picket lines, so they could get others in to work and break the strike. Here this shows to a certain extent how the state used the police force to help them.
This example does not demonstrates what the police is 'supposedly' meant to do, such as maintain peace and order, this example shows police simply following orders, the police covered up in uniform and faces hidden behind helmets. Goldstein point out that the police are here to resolve conflict, whether it is between individuals, groups of individuals, or individuals and their government, using the miner dispute as an example ' how can people negotiate and engage in conflict resolution when you cannot see another persons face? '