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Contemporary Police Practice

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The Standard Model of Policing

Strategic shifts in operational police practice have seen significant shifts strategically over the last two hundred years. The standardised traditional police approach to law enforcement needed to be expanded in response to deficiencies. The 1970s and 1980s was the catalyst in the development of proactive policing (Drew & Prenzler 2015). Weisburd & Eck (2004) in their typology that the standard traditional model of police practice lacked in empirical support and the response based operational policing practice before the 1990s was mostly ineffective.

The evolution from traditional policing has seen police numbers increase in patrol operations and rapid response calls to service. The standard model of policing is based on reactive strategies. It is assumed that jurisdiction crime reduction does not take into regard the nature or level of the crime (Drew & Prenzler 2015). Specific strategies to improve the standard model of policing is the increase of police, more random patrols, and advancements in rapid response calls for police services.

The call for an increase in police numbers comes from the general public and politicians. The premise is that offender rates will be less with an increase in police numbers. The more police on operational duties will increase crime detection and arrests. Empirical evidence supports that by increasing even one police officer per 250,000 in the city that crime rates reduce by 24 fewer crimes (Sherman 1997). General duties officers in Australia account for 60 per cent of the police. Patrol officers core functions include rapid response to emergency service calls and patrol. Hot spot policing and foot patrols give a sense of omnipresence.

Rapid response to calls for service is assumed that the quicker police can get to the crime scene, the higher chance of arrest and community satisfaction is increased. However, research conducted by the Kansas City preventive patrol members Pate, Ferrara, Bowers & Lorence (1976) failed to show that predicting the response time would change the outcome of the encounter. In Spelman & Browns (1984) study of differential police response in only 29 rapid response cases out of 1,000 an on-scene arrest occurred, showing that not all calls for service need a rapid response by police, only crimes in progress and serious crimes.

Community Policing and Problem-Oriented Policing

The 1990s saw the emergence of innovative police practices which including problem-orientated policing and community policing. One of the main failures of the traditional, standard model of policing was the relationship between the community and police. The three core elements of community policing are community involvement; Community policing includes foot patrols, education through community programs and door to door police visits. The broken windows policing approach is based on Wilson & Kellings (2006) research which concluded that if police and the community work together to manage minor signs or disorders that this collectively could make a positive impact in the reduction of serious crime beginning. Community involvement can be information relayed to police through programs such as Neighbourhood Watch.

Problem-oriented policing POP provides police agencies with a framework to guide and facilitate problem-solving and analysis better responses to crime. Analysis of problem solutions, tactics, designing response solutions is addressed with community-oriented policing services COPS. Another core element of community policing is decentralisation, the restructuring of police organisations to implement the most effective community policing approach.

Beat policing in Queensland is police officers assigned to specific areas in a geographic location. Focus on beat policing is problem-solving and crime prevention. Queensland police service has a neighbourhood police beat and shopfront model of beat policing. Procedural justice and police legitimacy outcomes are influenced by police behaviour and their interaction with the community.

Hot Spots Policing and Third Party Policing

Hot spots policing provides effective use of police resources in high crime level areas and crime cluster locations. Situational strategies within POP result in reducing crime and disorder. Hot spot policing still receives criticism due to spatial displacement, which needs further research.

Research from criminologists Cohen & Felson (1979) highlighted criminal behaviour through routine activity theory explaining that crime events occur as a result of time, space, a suitable target and in the absence of a suitable guardian. Rational choice theory interoperation of criminal offending is that crime is committed by choice with the function of opportunity and motivation in decision making. This criminology research gives an insight that criminal behaviour can be reduced from hot spot policing by reduction of opportunity to commit crime.

Third-party policing is the development of practice and the adoption of partnerships. The expansion of the regulatory environment through legal and civil regulators bring together third parties to enact in crime control functions. This form of policing is demonstrating effectiveness in crime outcomes such as controlling drugs and youth violence problems (Mazerolle & Ransley 2006). Third-party strategies such as ‘Project Stop’ have seen a move away from traditional reactive policing to focusing on crime prevention. An example of third party crime prevention is Pharmacists now participate in pseudoephedrine data collection; pseudoephedrine is used to make methamphetamines.


The background of non-democratic states investigative practices was to identify and arrest criminals and to solve crimes. The detective units form a significant formal role in investigating crimes. Investigating and prosecuting is the defining feature of modern criminal law Investigation basics occur after the patrol officers identify a crime, the patrol officer returns to patrol, and the detectives will take over if required. Investigation basics are also carried out by private detectives who work for criminal defence lawyers. Insurance firms employ investigators, and human resource complaints of harassment are responded by investigations.

The value of investigations is the mainstay of policing. Investigation detail is critically important, crime scene preservation, legal evidence collecting, fingerprint collecting and specialist policing to solve the crime and have adequate legal evidence that will hold up in court, such as DNA. 2.

Criminology theories, according to deterrence and rational choice theory perceive that criminals or potential offenders desist that the benefit from committing the crime outweighs the cost or risk of getting caught (Clarke 1997).

Investigations and miscarriages of Justice can have significant adverse effects such as wrongful convictions. Loss of faith in the justice system comes from the acquittal of a guilty person, excessively light or heavy penalties and the failure to prosecute (Prenzler 2013). Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully convicted for murdering her baby, which was a miscarriage of justice.

Unfortunately, corrupt detectives are investigated by corruption commissions due to inappropriate associations with criminals, disregard for the law, drinking on the job, long lunches and work avoidance, acceptance of bribes to loose evidence within investigations or faulty recall. Designing the ‘effective detective’ requires strict protocols and regulations.

Detectives are crucial in investigating crimes such as the Australian backpacker murders in 1992-1993, which Ivan Milat was found guilty.

Policing Diverse Communities

Egalitarian and independent impartial policing is challenged by gender, race, class, ethnicity, location and beliefs. Minority groups constituting a numerical minority are young people, homosexuals, religious groups, people with mental issues or disabilities, homeless and welfare-dependent people. Women have a subordinate status due to a generalised lack of power and wealth compared to men.

Indigenous people in Australia are 7.5 times more likely to be charged by police than non-indigenous (Allard 2010). Police response to racial taunts by explaining that certain groups of people commit m.ore offences. Indigenous imprisonment rates are disproportionately higher than non-indigenous Australians.

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Police failure or neglect to protect women from domestic violence can be traumatic and even deadly. On the defence of the police, if the women do not want to press charges, are then the only option the police has is to calm the situation or lock up the offender overnight. Women are scared of retribution from the offender, so the violence often continues.

Police standard model of policing when responding to persons with mental illnesses was ineffective and inappropriate. The ineffective and inappropriate policing was unintentionally due to limited training dealing with mental illness. Sadly fatal shootings have occurred of emotionally disturbed people. Operational officers now undergo training programs to deescalate incidents with peaceful resolutions when possible.

Better policing of diverse communities is a continuous reform process. Cross-cultural police training and community policing engage with different community groups to focus and reduce crime.

Recruitment, Management and Leadership

Recruitment and selection of police are vital to upholding quality, effectiveness, efficiency and the reputation of the police force. Selection tools involve job analyses, functions and activities officers duties will involve. Physical skills tests, education and personality, are all taken into consideration when recruiting after recruitment candidates undergo extensive police training at the academy.

After the academy police constables are sworn in, they continue on the job training and mentoring with further academy training for 12 months; this is a probation period.

Traditional criteria used in police organisations, weight, height, gender, strength are not essential requirements in police general duties officer selection in today’s recruiting selection process. General duties officers duties involve patrol, administrative tasks, traffic maintenance, reactive policing court attendance and crime prevention.

Selection tools used by police agencies focus on background information, medical exam, psychological assessment, drug testing, physical fitness, civil service exam, recommendation letters (Cochrane, Tett & Vandecreek 2003). Higher education job requirements for general duties officers is favoured due to research showing that college-educated police are involved in fewer shootings (McElvain & Kposowa 2008). Personality factors taken into consideration in the selection process are neuroticism, extraversion, experience, openness, agreeable ability and conscientiousness. Personality factors are accessed to conclude emotional stability and consciousness. Physical capability is accessed to determine ability to perform physical requirements of police, such as chasing offenders.

The organisation and leadership of police organisations is a ranked system. The Australian Police organisation rank system starts at constable raising to the senior constable, sergeant, senior sergeant, inspector, superintendent, assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner to the highest rank of commissioner.

Accountability and Regulation

Police are subject to democratic framework and accountability when performing their duties ethically and ensure that the code of conduct is followed.

The old accountabilities of the professional policing model in the 19th century developed into the standard form of policing in Australia and most democratic countries. Political accountability became a ministerial responsibility.

New accountability models adopted new systems and performance measures within police departments focusing on Pelican principle of prevention of crime. Crime and safety are reported annually in Australia; a federal productivity commission report on police services is conducted. The new accountabilities such as integrity evaluations are in place to decide if a mistake was made or if accountability needs to be dealt with criminal charges. Breaches can include perjury, assault, false arrest and exclusion of evidence. Failed accountability comes at a considerable cost financially to the government and the time taken up by police actively investigating crimes is frustrating.

Performance indicators to develop and demonstrate improved policing have been implemented. Police organisations achieve outstanding results in improving policing by using quantitative measures of performance. Case study’s such as ‘Strike Force Piccadilly’ measures problem diagnostic and testing solutions to identify integrity and safety issues.

The Future of Police Practice and Policy

Key developments and innovations in the police context have occurred in previous decades. Innovation for policing has seen enormous changes since the 1970s through programs, administration, strategic direction and advancements in technology.

Policing innovation analytic framework consists of four categories, programmatic, administrative, technological and strategic (Braga & Weisburd 2006).

Policing innovations for effective policing to control and prevent crime and disorder see innovations and strategic innovational changes. Technological innovations such as crime analysis, OC capsicum spray, CEDs tasers and crime mapping have been embraced by police organisation. COMPSTAT performance management system has reduced misconduct by identification and management.

Technological advancements in police practice have seen developments due to technology such as the internet. Criminal opportunities have developed in cyber-based crimes such as fraud. Crime analysis and crime mapping technological developments provide advancements in crime analysis. Hot spot policing relies on identification crime levels in geographic locations. Computerised aid dispatch CAD system for emergency calls for service and crime mapping software has widely influenced policing. Technology provides police with more effective crime prevention and control solutions such as POP and hot spots policing.

OC spray and CEDs have given officers a non-lethal use of force in defensive situations. Fewer injuries occur for police and citizens when OC spray and CEDs are used instead of physical force control.

Administrative innovations focus on police agencies recruiting, police leadership development, performance organisations for integrity and warning intervention systems. COMPSTAT is significant in administrative innovations; the process is driven by the analysis of crime data and police management accountability.

Facing new challenges in the future of policing will constitute solidification. Future tactical, organisational decisions and strategic innovations will see progress in future police effectiveness.

Reference List

  1. Allard, T 2010, Understanding and preventing Indigenous offending, research brief 9, Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Sydney.
  2. Braga, AA & Weisburd, D 2006, Policing innovation: contrasting perspectives, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  3. Clarke, R 1997, Situational crime prevention: Successful case studies 2nd edn, Harrow and Heston, Albany, NY.
  4. Cochrane, RE, Tett, RP & Vandecreek, L 2003, Psychological testing and selection of police officers: A national survey. Criminal Justice and Behaviour, vol 30, pp. 511-537.
  5. Drew, J & Prenzler, T 2015, Contemporary Police Practice, Oxford University Press, Australia.
  6. Mazerolle, L & Ransley, J 2006, The case for third party policing, In D.Weisburd & A.A Braga edn, Police innovation: Contrasting Perspectives, Cambridge University Express.
  7. McElvain, JP & Kposowa, AJ 2008, Police officer characteristics and the likelihood of using deadly force, Criminal Justice and Behaviour, vol 35, pp. 505-521.
  8. Pate, T, Ferrara, A, Bowers, RA & Lorence, J 1976, Police response time: It’s determinants and effects, Police Foundation, Washington, DC.
  9. Prenzler, T 2013, Ethics and accountability in criminal justice, Australian Academic Press, Brisbane.
  10. Sherman, LW 1997, Policing for crime prevention, viewed 8 December 2019, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC,
  11. Weisburd, D & Eck, JE 2004, What can police do to reduce crime, disorder, and fear? annals of the American academy of political and social science, viewed 6 December 2019,
  12. Wilson, JQ & Kelling, GL 1982, Broken Windows: The police and neighbourhood safety. The Atlantic Monthly, March, 29-38. 6.

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Contemporary Police Practice. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
“Contemporary Police Practice.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Contemporary Police Practice. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Mar. 2023].
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