They are accountable to a regional or national government and are given a “general right to use coercive force by the state within the state’s domestic territory” (Klockars, 1985). They are a visible show of state power and a body with which civil society interacts with extensively on a day-to-day basis. Police officers are the specialist carriers of the state’s bedrock power: they hold the monopoly on the state-sanctioned use of violence against its own citizens. They are authorized to bear arms and, in certain circumstances, to shoot to kill.
The overall objective of the police force is to keep peace - sovereign peace - and prevent crime by acting as a visible deterrent to any potential law-breakers. Police officers are allowed to detain by force, conduct searches of people, their homes and possessions, and conduct covert surveillance on the private lives of people suspected of criminal involvement or intent. The general behaviour of the police force is a critical indicator of the essential character of a state and speaks the very heart of the condition of a political order.
The colonial or paramilitary model grows out of the direct relationship between the government, the army and the police, and emphasizes the use of force to control or subjugate specific sections of the population. The military model promotes the idea that police officers are a close-knit, special group while the citizens as outsiders and enemies. The police officers are under direct control of governments and they are partisan in enforcing the rule of a specific political regime, including those with entrenched discrimination policies.