Several myths, such as an inevitable abuse of power, are unsupported by the research. The main causes of police discretion are offender variables, situational variables, and systemic variables. The exercise of police discretion arises in many situations, such as domestic violence and juvenile delinquency, and can often lead to positive resolutions. Discretion is a valuable part of police work.
The issue of police discretion, while a seemingly natural aspect of the duties of a law enforcement officer, is a topic which generates much debate. Historically, the concept of police discretion was thought to be associated with police corruption and with an "extralegal" use of police power (O'Connor, 2005: np). Indeed, the recognition of police discretion as a legitimate aspect of police duties was not formally recognized until 1956 when it was formally identified and discussed by an American Bar Association study. ...Show more