Discretion can be used to mean different things at different contexts. It may be used to mean once choice, own judgment, discernment, liberty or even license to do or to act on something. Therefore, police discretion can be used to refer to the police power. It can be used to describe to the individuals use of own choice and opinion in executing operations in a criminal justice operation. This means that police discretion will definitely have an impact on the law enforcement in the society.
This is because police officers will have very different views. Intensity of law enforcement will vary from place to place and from one police to the other because of their different attitudes to different people. If police discretion is increased in the society, more freedom will be given to the police, that also mean more freedom on judgment, choice making, own discernment. They might end up mistreating the disadvantaged in the society and this may end up bringing conflict in the society.
However increase in the police discretion may have benefits in that the police will be able to do their work well. On the other hand if police discretion is decreased, that means that the police will not have much freedom. This lowers them to the level of the other citizens in the society. This means that there will be no law in such a society. Some hooligans may take advantage of this situation and loot in the society. They will not be able to do their work properly.
Police are supposed to be slightly higher in terms of force than the other members of the society to accomplish their duties. Also some situations require one as a law enforces to have a stand on some background law. Thus the police in such case where they are not free to make choices may not be able to enforce the law. Citizen and Police Behavior What are the four categories of citizen behavior in relation to Alpert's "force factor? " How do the characteristics of the individual officer influence police behavior?
This classification is based on the citizen’s compliance to the law. It is also dependent on the force factor that is used by the officers. Different people are found to behave differently during arrest and this brings about the issue of different types of citizens. Some citizens are found to be resistance to the police for example during arrest. Others will react verbally to the police officers for example insulting or threaten the officer. Thus the classification as peaceful citizens who will accept their offences without too much resistance.
Such an example is when one is stopped by the police for over speeding. Such citizen is expected to cooperate since they know they have gone against the law. Police is not likely to use too much force on them. Another category is the citizens who are protesting on streets over a certain issue. Police will not likely use too much force compared to the force used to the criminals. But at the same time, an officer has to consider or rather balance the force to the protestor’s response.
Another category is those citizens that may be viewed as the peaceful one but angry. For example when an officer is setting a dispute in the family. In such a case an officer is not likely to use lethal force but should act as a mediator in the dispute since there is no offense against the parties involved and the state. Then comes the fourth category of citizens where an officer is supposed to deal with lethal force for example when an officer is dealing with Bank robbers who may be having guns.
If the robbers decide to cooperate there is no much force required but in most cases, they will not cooperate and thus force has to be used. (Walker, 2004)) Individual officer characteristic affect the behavior that is reported by the citizen to the department. This mostly involves the arrest activity, the age of the police officer involves and the officer gender. For example if a young man is arrested by a young lady police officer, they may probably not complain much compared if they were arrested by an older male police officer. (Walker, 2004),