Formal And Informal Rules And Police Discretion Essay

1065 Words May 22nd, 2016 null Page
1. In policing, what is meant by the ‘gap between how things must be done and how they should be done’? Explain and discuss formal and informal rules and police discretion.
 Law enforcement possess a considerable amount of discretion in day-to-day police actions. How discretion is imposed solely depends on each individual officer, their personalities, and their influences. Police discretion can sometimes benefit individuals, for example when the officer decided to let someone go with a warning instead of a ticket for speeding. However, police discretion can also lead to major problems such as unequal treatment of individuals, racial profiling. For example, even though the distinction between a “frisk” and a “search” is clear, as Moskos states, once officers are in the streets, the line between frisk and a search is not as clear cut. Formal and informal rules are also a large part of police culture. Formal rules are also known as how things must be done and informal rules are known as how they should be done. As one of the instructors said to Moskos, “There is a lot of gray in policing” (26). Life in general has a vast quantity of gray areas. Since police possess a wide range of discretion, when enforcing certain complicated laws and regulations that grey area becomes difficult to ignore.

2. What is proactive policing? How does it impact policing and societal perceptions of policing?
 Proactive policing is deterring and preventing criminal activity with police presence…

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