New Generation Policing

The modern police force in the United States and the world has changed significantly since it was established. The changes have been necessitated by the need to have a more effective police force to deal with the emerging security challenges as the community changes. The advancement in technology among other changes that have come up with the new generation has resulted in a complete overhaul of the police force.
Modern police force
    The origin of the policing has been a big controversy among scholars for many years. Some scholars have argued that the high rates of crime in the 19th century led to the development of the modern police which is responsible for ensuring law and order in the modern world. However, the theory that the modern police was created as natural response to the high crime rate in major cities has been challenged by many scholars. They do not rule out the high number of criminal activities in London, Boston and other cities in the 19th century but in most cases, the police force in those cities first appeared almost half a century after the period of high crime rate in those cities had passed (Monkkonen, 1980). For example, there were many cases of drunkenness and criminal activities reported in Boston since 1775 but it was not until late 1830s when a metropolitan police force was established. This is one of the many examples that have been given by scholars to oppose social disorder as the main cause of the development of a police force. Moreover, historians claim that by the time a metropolitan police force was being created in Boston, the rate of crime had reduced significantly which further rules out the theory. In the first three centuries of the 19th century, there were very few cases of crime reported in Boston and other cities (Williams, 2003).

    This indicates clearly that the rise in crime and social disorder was not the main cause of the creation of the modern police force. The introduction of the police force could have developed even without the high rate of crime in the 19th century. There were many cases of arrest immediately after the establishment of the modern form of police service in major cities but majority of these arrests involved criminals who had no victims. The main cases of arrest were as a result of crimes which were related to public order. There were few cases of violence or theft and therefore the police were mainly involved in dealing with drunkenness, loitering, suspicious individuals or disorderly behaviors. Therefore, the police forces main duty was to control the habits and manners of the public and not to protect the public and their properties.

    As the society changed, the police started scrutinizing people who were considered dangerous to the community which have today grown to the modern police orientation of prevention measures. The idea that the police officer could prevent crime was developed from the understanding that a police officer could suspect criminal behaviors in an individual. The police orientation moved from the crime itself to potential crimes and the potential criminal. The result of this trend has been the inherent criminals profiling which is a basic practice in the police service today. Therefore, the police force did not emerge as a result of high rates of criminal activities but the modern changes in the society have transformed the police force to a greater extent. Major changes in the police force today are as a result of emergence of new criminal activities as well as crime tactics.

    Urbanization and industrialization brought a lot of changes in the society which resulted in new forms of crime as well as challenges in controlling the society. Police force was therefore instrumental in this period which caused several changes in the force. The police helped the authority in exercising powers in the cities and aided in the creation of rational public administration and bureaucracies. This led to further industrialization and advancement of government structures in the cities as well as imposing morals in the cities populations (Speer, 2004).

    The modern generation has influenced the police force greatly due to the changes in the threats the society is exposed to and the needs of the modern economy. The modern police force in the American cities was borrowed from the United Kingdom police force which was already established. This was based on the effectiveness of the English police force models in dealing with the challenges faced by the societies. It is therefore noted that although the modern police was not established as a result of crime and social disorder, major changes in the modern police force have been necessitated by the new emerging criminal activities and the new tactics used by criminals. The need for precise detection of criminals and prevention of major crimes such as terrorism has transformed the police force (Speer, 2004).

    Among the most important aspect of the modern generation which has transformed the police force and policing in general is the development in technology in the past few decades. Technology has been one of the most relevant developments in policing practice and security institutions. Technology has played a major role in connecting policing with crime control in the modern world. Technology has brought about more efficient crime detection methods, better communication and transport systems which facilitate the success of the police in fighting crime. There is an increased reliance on information and communication technology by the police in responding to crimes. The use of technology has been effectively used to respond to the accusations of discrimination based on gender, race or religion in the United States policing where the police service is becoming more of a profession having democratic and non partisan policing. The use of technology in policing has been associated with civilization and advancement of the police service. However, there has been criticism on the over reliance of policing on technology. The unbalanced overdependence of scientific technologies by the police where the advantages of these technologies is yet to be proved has been seen to be against basic principles of policing and the constitutional rights of the individuals (Deflem, 2002).

    There is an increased tension on the efficiency of the crime control in the world especially terrorism and drug trafficking due to the development in technology where the rights of suspects has remain a controversial issue. The use of advanced detection methods and sensors in airports and other public places and sophisticated arsenals have transformed policing in the whole world. The use of DNA profiling and improved surveillance systems which are backed with a computerized data processing and analyzing systems have increased the accuracy of the police to identify a suspected criminal. Technological advancement has been instrumental in facilitating international policing which has become essential in the modern world. The increase in international crimes has become a major security concern because of the free movement of persons which makes it necessary for security agencies in different countries to share suspected criminals profiles (Deflem, 2002). 

    The use of technology especially in interviewing of suspects where the VHS recording machines have been replaced with audio visual recording machines have been very reliable, cost saving and streamlined the interrogation process. Many copies of the recorded proceedings can now be produced and provided to other investigatory agencies or the legal personnel. The time required to sort out a particular section of the interrogation has reduced significantly as a result of adoption of technology.

    The advent of forensic science in the 20th century has been one of the most applicable technological advancement in policing. These include the development of fingerprinting which was followed by biometric analysis of the evidence left at the scene of the crime. Today, there are numerous forensic laboratories which support the police in the development of criminal profiles leading to the arrest of suspects with much improved precision (Cole, 2001). However, the influence of the 21st century generation technology in the police department in many parts of the world has been relatively slow compared to our sectors.  Most police departments especially in the developing world have not been able to adopt modern policing practices which are aided by technology and are therefore not able to reap the full benefits of technological advancement. This has been a great challenge since many international criminals have also adopted technology which reduces the ability of security agencies with less technology to deter them from carrying out their criminal activities (Seaskate, INC, 1998).

    Despite the police having adopted technological advancement in their operations, there is still a need for more advanced technology in the police service. Most of the technology used by the police is readily available in the market which calls for a security alarm and a need for special technology if they have to be effective. The development of advanced technologies in policing is however hampered by reluctance of private technology developers to concentrate in developing appropriate police technology. The high number of security agencies especially in the United States scares private developers from developing and selling security technologies due to the fragmentation of the market and the liabilities that may be associated with such development. For example, a developer may be responsible for the misuse or injuries caused to the user or unintended persons which may be very costly. Moreover, crucial information about a sensitive security technology may leak to the wrong hands where the developer may be blamed.

    Due to the need for modern policing practices in the United States, The Presidents Crime Commission proposed the adoption of computer technology by all the security agencies in the United States a while ago. The federal funding was released which led to the implementation of the proposal. This modernization was designed to deal with the increased cases of crime, drug trafficking and assassinations in many parts of the world in the 1970s. There was also increased threat of terrorism attacks towards the end of the 20th century which called for more improved policing strategies.  Despite computerized policing towards the end of 1970s, the police were reluctant to adopt this technology which was blamed for being very complex and cautious. Moreover majority of the police officers in the service were conservatives who did not have the basic technical knowledge to use the technology. The computer manufacturers and distributors in the United States lacked interest in selling their products to the police force. They had no time to develop security software because of the smaller market compared to the health care, hospitality and business software. 

    The police departments have continued to spend more and more resources on adoption of technology towards the end of the 20th century despite the many challenges they were faced with. The entry of fresh officers into the force with basic or advanced computer skills led to an increased reliance of technology by different policing agencies. Today, the computer system in the police department has become more sophisticated and the security agencies are recruiting more computer specialists. The last decade of the 20th century recorded the highest rate of adoption of computer technology in the United States. Use of computer by the police department rose to two thirds in 1993 from just a half in 1990. However, among the police department using computer technology in 1996, 95 percent of their officers were new recruits and had not worked for more than three years. In the 1990s, most security agencies used computers for routine data recording but the trend has changed over the years with the adoption of technology investigation and analysis of crimes, preparation of budgets and work schedules.

    Other technological development which has been instrumental in the 21st century policing practices includes detection of weapons using passive millimeter wave technology and electromagnetic techniques (X rays and infrared among others) which identify the type of weapons a suspect may be carrying. Devices which are hand held or mounted on a vehicle have been developed which can detect weapons up to thirty meters away. Police have also employed technology in the development of non lethal methods of incapacitation and crowd control. They have also developed psychological response stimulus which incapacitate an individual without causing any physical injury. To stop gangsters fleeing using vehicles, police have developed technologies such as retractable barriers which are remote controlled, radio communicators which are used to communicate with drivers in fleeing vehicles and enhanced sirens among others. DNA analysis in forensic science laboratories has transformed crime investigation and criminal profiling. DNA profiling of criminals have improved criminal investigations where a samples from the scene of crime are used to develop a more accurate profile of the criminal suspect. The DNA profiles have been used by police as evidence in court against criminal as well as freeing of innocent people (Seaskate INC, 1998).

    Policing has undergone numerous changes since its establishment in the 19th century. The police force may not have been established as a result of high rate of crime in the 19th century but the current changes in the 20th and 21st generation has been necessitated by new security challenges facing the modern security systems. The largest impact however has been in the technological advancement which has been adopted by the police force since 1970s. Technology has made the new generation more efficient in dealing with modern security issues in the society.       


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