Police officers. Law Enforcement

Police officers are warranted employees of a police force they can also be referred to as policemen or policewomen and sometimes referred to as constables in other countries particularly in Australia. Police officers are generally charged with the apprehension of wrong doers, maintenance of public and social order, prevention and detection of crime in a given society.

Purpose of the police in a democracy
In America, according to Roberts (2004), police officers are categorized differently depending on the State, for instance in Iowa, the officers are categorized in eight groups while in California, the law defines more than thirty roles of the officers. In most countries, police officers are always sworn to an oath, and granted with powers to arrest and imprison suspects. This is well defined in the English Common law and sometimes they are allowed to shoot and kill when faced with a hard choice in dealing with a criminal (Skogan  Hartnett, 1997).

Even though they are trained on different areas such as, surveillance, counter-terrorism, child protection, VIP protection, and investigation techniques into key crime, including murder, fraud, rape, and drug trafficking, they more or less serve the same purpose of maintaining law and order in the society (Pepper, 2005).

Seven principles in the Youngstown Accord
The seven principles of the police force came into existence as a result of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a result, several groups or the interested parties came together to consolidate on the modalities of stopping the conflict and to define the principles that would ensure a harmonious coexistence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting was held in Youngstown in Ohio which led to the implementation of the accord known as the Youngstown Accord (Walker, 2003).

The seven Principles
According to American Bar Association (1980), the police were to operate in a more democratic manner. In most cases, the police officers were acting against the democratic principles when dealing with crime. The principle was formulated to ensure that the fundamental democratic principle such as the opportunity to be defended or to bring a witness was denied to the majority in the society hence violating peoples rights. The second principle was the conduct of the police officers in accordance to the police Ethics and codes to ensure professionalism in dealing with criminals and crime cases.

Most people complained the way the police officers were handling cases especially before the implementation of community policing in Chicago police officers were feared and people never had freedom to relay critical information to them. The main reason why police officers are employed by the government is to ensure that the rights of the citizens including the right to live are not violated by anybody. In the accord, the protection of individual life by the officers was defined as the major role of the police officers so as to ensure that innocent lives are not taken away by the criminals (According to American Bar Association, 1980).

The fourth principle was more to do with the accountability of the officers. They were to be accountable for any form of crime or criminal activity in a given area since they were given the mandate to serve the community without being bias or one sided when fighting crime in the society. This principle was formulated following the public outcry that most of the criminal activities could be prevented easily when the police officers were involved actively in fighting crime in the society. They were to recognize their role of protecting the properties of the government and the community from destruction and sabotage by the criminals. This was well defined in the fifth principle, to ensure that there was no further damage to peoples properties (Bowling, 1999).

Following the war in Bosnia, many people complained of the police officers. They were worried by the fact that the officers were handling crime in a more disorganized way and that the officers never valued the dignity of the people hence the accord under the sixth principle defined the need of the officers to handle people in a more dignified way. By respecting the fundamental rights of the citizens and obeying the rights of the people such as the right of expression and movement that were denied by the officers, the last principle in the Accord was about the manner in which the police officers were to discharge their duties. In the accord, the officers were to act in a more organized, disciplined and in a nondiscriminatory manner to ensure professionalism in discharging their duties (American Bar Association 1980).

Police officers therefore plays an important role of maintaining social order in the society though they are limited in power depending on the type of crime committed, suspect have a right to complain if the aspect of police behavior is not up to the required standards such as demanding for a bribe, beating the suspect or shooting before observing the stipulated procedures or laws. Even though police officers have the powers to seizure, proper evidence or proof must be checked to avoid arresting an innocent fellow.


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