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Accountability of Police - Essay Example

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Police is the government department that guarantees through the use of force if needed, the peaceful and lawful existence of the citizens of the country. Since this department can use force to get its way through, this gets misused at many an occasion resulting in a large scale anti police sentiments. The responsibility of the police force is clearly spelt out in the law (HMSO, nd) when the force was created. This law has been undergoing rapid changes with the change in the way people worked and the level of civil and human rights that was envisaged for the people. With more relaxation in public laws and increase in the human rights consciousness, it is important for the police force also to modernize (Leigh, A., Mundy, G. and Tuffin, R. 1999). They need to change their perception in line with the needs of the civil society.Police Accountability has increased over a period of time along with the increase in civil rights movements and human rights activism. Police was and continues to be subservient to Judiciary in most of the countries. However, there are specific on site decisions that the police could take not withstanding any directions from the court. For instance, during a riot or arson, police can take a balanced decision to ensure that the peace and the property of law abiding citizens of the country are not damaged and the public property is not ransacked. However, the onus of proving that such an action was needed in order to maintain peace becomes the responsibility of the police. Such similar acts of the police mark their accountability to the public and are answerable in a court of law. It is therefore, important for the police to realise this specific feature set in law. Whether it is shooting down an 'unknown' terrorist on the tube who turns out to be an innocent migrant or when a black woman is arrested after a long drawn midnight struggle when she is repeatedly hit by three or four strong policemen, the accountability of the police come into focus. Without reference to any race or sex, police are accountable for their actions like any other person in the country.

Brixton Riots and Lord Scarman Report
Brixton Riots left a long scar on the police and the administration in general. As the Scarman report pointed out, the 'complex, social and economic factors' created the violent protest that burnt the area. This was more a fight against the police, mostly, rather than the other agencies of the government. Scarman report further went ahead to say that there was a clear racial discrimination. There was a loss of confidence in the police force and in their methods of policing. There was a strong dislike among the black population for discriminatory tendencies in the police force. The report suggests that if there had been more of ethnic minorities in the police force such discriminatory tendencies would not have arisen. The accountability of the police in such an incident was pretty limited.

Internal and External Discipline
The police force is expected to be disciplined both internally and externally. In cases like that of the Brixton Riots where a continuous and ongoing lack of confidence in Police comes out in the form of riots, Police could not build the friendship that is required. The racial orientation of the police in Britain has long been under question. Therefore, it is only right that the police discipline themselves internally and then ensure that there is an external discipline as well. The racial prejudices that the police carry with them are inbuilt and have long significance. This cannot be offset within a matter of years or even centuries. And to set right this ...Show more


Accountability of police has been a point of debate whenever police initiate a drastic action against common men.Police force was created to maintain law and order in the country and to ensure that they are supporting lawful existence of people in the country…
Author : tyrese30
Accountability of Police
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