Ethical Issues In Policing

Policing refers to the set of activities directed at preserving the security of a particular social order.

It does not incorporate all activities that are intended to produce order.

It excludes post hoc punishment, as well as activities intended to create the conditions of social order (for example socialization, measures to secure family stability, encouragement of religion, or other forms of internalized ethical controls.)(Rawlings, 2002)

Policing in its advent in England was similar to that in colonial America in its evolution during the early Anglo Saxon civilization. It was characterized by blood feuds that resulted in physical assault upon direct confrontation between the offender and the victim who often was in the support of his/her kins or the community.

Policing then started evolving and leaped to a second stage with reference to the book by Rawlings (2002, pp. 231-233), ‘The History of Policing’ where institutions or processes were set up by the community with the aim of ending the bloody feuds and/or lengthy deliberations of compensation between the victim(s) and the offender(s).

From the village level, it became inevitable for policing to reach the national scale. Offenders were now being subjected to prosecution in courts; however the community was still mandated to act as detectors of offenders. Reluctance by the community to undertake policing duties began to emerge as victims felt they were not getting a fair deal and would get involved in direct confrontations outside the policing structure.

This situation led to the third stage in the history of policing where by roles became professionalized and by the 17th and 18th centaury, many places had adopted this practice of substituting the free will of the community for employees of the police force as an incentive to curbing crime.

In the 1800s, law enforcement changes in America due to changes in the society cropped up. Migration into the cities from the rural areas saw the deterioration in sanitary conditions and consequently riots and a spark in crime trends. In order to cope, the police system had to evolve and blend in with the diversified community. This resulted in the present modern police organization that was influenced by the modernizing policing system of England.