The dictionary definition of the police is “the organized civil force of a state, concerned with maintenance of law and order, the detection and prevention of crime, etc,” (Collins English Dictionary, 2002). This definition states the minimum of what the police actually do. Providing support for families, protecting society from criminals and responding to calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week are just some of the other roles that police have to deal with. This final product of the police are continuously developing and have been ever since a protection service was introduced. The evolution of policing first first began in Anglo Saxon times in which introduced a tything. A tything were a group of 10 families that would discuss concerns and mutual protection (A history of policing, 1998). This led the way for a more centralised system which saw a few modifications in the structure by the Normans. A local court system was introduced into this system.
In later years this system proved to be effective and was still kept during the
Formal policing origins date back to the 18th century, a time in which began with night watchmen overseeing crime. Lewis ref
The metropolitan police were then formed in 1829 due to the industrial revolution which brought about more crime (Fahy, Sir P. 2013)
Modern policing however takes on a different approach to centuries old policing methods. Today, our police use practices
The reason we have the police is to maintain order of society (Fahy, Sir P. 2013).
Development stages of policing
Informal policing – All members of society share equally in the responsibility for providing and keeping order.
Transitional policing – police functions are informally assigned to particular members of society.
Formal policing – Specific members of the community assume formal responsibility for protection and social control.
Legalistic style – emphasis on law enforcement function of policing
Watchmen style – emphasis on maintaining order in the community
Service style – emphasis on delivering service to the community.
There are 3 main policing styles in the UK, the first being legalistic style. The legalistic style focuses more on the law enforcement, arresting and detaining suspects.
Secondly, the watchmen style concentrates on maintaining public order in the community. This style is more of a preventative approach than that of the legalistic style.
The last style that police focus on is the service style. This style emphasizes
Police use these styles according to the situation that is presented to them. For example; using the legalistic style of policing to detain a potential suspect. However, the police need to be careful choosing the styles as the consequences of making the wrong choice can be fatal. For example the case of
in which the police officer pushed over Ian Tomlinson who later died of a heart attack due to the decision the officer took at the time.
Why we have different styles