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Models of Policing

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2625 words Published: 18th Jul 2018

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The first police force was created in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel; he created 17 metropolitan police divisions in London. By 1856 the rest of the country was required to establish a police force. Since then, many different models of policing have been developed and experimented with, developments in policing and crime control were fairly rapid during the 1990s, this is due to many reasons such as; changing patterns of crime, changing demands on the police, and changing expectations of the police and their role in communities.

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The two models of policing that will be outlined and discussed in this essay are the Problem-Oriented policing model and the Intelligence-Led policing model. They each differ from one another substantially and across a range of dimensions, they differ in means and ends, methods and priorities, techniques and successes. However, they do also share some common features in their methods despite differing in the reasons for doing so.

The Intelligence-Led policing model is home grown from the United Kingdom, it draws upon the notion that the police can and do know a great deal about offending patterns. It addresses the supposed failure of the police to address the systemic sources of crime and patterns within crime. The main thought is that the police and should actively pursue information about criminals and their organisation (Tilley 2003). The Audit Commission (1993) prescribed a proactive approach, targeting the criminal not the crime and making more use of intelligence. Carrying out this proactive approach involves effectively sourcing, assembling and analysing intelligence about criminals and their activities to disrupt their offending. Done so by targeting enforcement and patrol where the activity is the most common (Tilley 2003). The core emphases of the Intelligence-Led policing model are; the focus on crime alone, the means used are enforcement and the disruption of criminal groups; these measures are aimed at reducing the problem by undermining the ability of criminals to do their business. These activities are informed by the intelligence gained from the analysts about understanding the business of the criminals; all organisations involved are enforcement agencies in order to successfully aid the focus of this method. It is enforcing the practical business of policing more smartly, using information technology and modern methods (Tilley 2003).

The Problem-Oriented policing model however, is more of a global movement with American origins. It embraces an analytic approach which takes community concerns seriously whilst developing strategic responses that aim to deal effectively with issues underlying police-relevant community problems, the origins of this method lie within the work of Goldstein (1979). It incorporates an explicit conception of the nature and role of modern policing, with officer imagination, local discretion and community resources being used where it is relevant to do so (Tilley 2003). The Problem-Oriented policing model also stresses substance and effectiveness over process and style, it is pre-dominantly evidence based. Goldstein outlines several purposes of this method of policing, they are; to prevent and control conduct which threatens life and property, to aid victims and protect those in danger of physical harm, to protect constitutional guarantees, to facilitate the movement of people and vehicles, to assist those who cannot care for themselves, to resolve conflict between individuals, groups or citizens and their government, to identify problems which may escalate for individuals, the police or even the government and to create and maintain a feeling of security in the community (Goldstein 1977, described in Scott 2000). The aim is to achieve these said purposes by systematically addressing relevant problems in the community; the identified problems should then be thoroughly researched and understood. Relevant responses should be identified and targeted on the basis of this analysis (Tilley 2003).

Already it is clear that there are differences in the focus points of both models; however a common factor between these models is the use of analysis, intelligence and computers. Both the Intelligence-Led policing model and the Problem-Oriented policing model use these new methods due to the issue that criminality is becoming more sophisticated and mobile, the identification of patterns is beyond the capability of localised, informal methods of identification (NCIS 2000). Therefore, up to date intelligence allows for speedy well targeted interventions in an ever-changing society of criminals and varying criminal organisation (Tilley 2003). Computers are used as they enable better management of the flow of information that the police receive about criminals, their behaviour and organisation (Tilley 2003). Through this, smarter action can be taken to control them through deterrence, disruption, arrest or incarceration, as the information is organised and easy to access; it is easier and quicker to create an operation to take down criminals. The improved quality of the analysis is due to the improved quality of the intelligence systems. Both of the models of policing heavily rely on analysing data. Analysis converts raw information into actionable intelligence by seeking patterns in crime data, seeing the similarities in criminal events and constructing profiles (Cope 2004). It offers a synthesis of data about crime that is developed out of context (Peterson 1990) and also provides the opportunity to rationalise policing (Manning 2001). The two models of policing require specialist analysts, these analysts make much more systematic use of information and often call for information collection as well as use of information already at hand (Tilley 2003).

Although both policing methods use analysis, the information which they seek is different. The analysis method has sound foundations within the principles of Problem-Oriented policing (Goldstein 1979). The focus on information collection is on problematic patterns of behaviour that produce police-relevant problems for the community and on plausible points of intervention to reduce them, remove them or prevent the harm cause by them (Clarke and Eck 2003). The analysis tends to focus on enduring problems that are not responsive to standard forms of policing, therefore its focus spans relatively long periods and relatively wide spaces so that there is much more data readily available from records (Tilley 2003). It calls for the close specification of problems and the problem along with its analysis comes first.

Analysis is also integral to the theory of the Intelligence-Led policing model. It is on a ‘need to know’ security principle (NCIS 2000). The process of this model exemplifies concerns with identifying, prioritizing and intervening to minimise risk. Intelligence can be understood as information developed to direct police action (Cope 2004). The Intelligence-Led policing model is fed by intelligence products, of which there are four types; firstly strategic assessments, these provide a longer term picture of trends possibly with forecasts for the future, secondly tactical assessments, these are short term and are aligned to the tactical menu, thirdly target profiles, these profiles describe the offenders and their associates to inform operations against them and lastly problem profiles, these profiles identify emerging series of offenders or hotspots for crime (Cope 2004) all the information which is put forward in these products is actively sought. The focus of information collection and analysis in the Intelligence-Led policing model is on offenders and their networking patterns, and to inform smart enforcement focused on serious and prolific offending patterns. It tends to naturally focus on current or very recent offending patterns. The intelligence used is often gained from informants and is done so covertly, whereas the Problem-Oriented policing model rarely needs or uses covertly collected information and information from informants. The Intelligence-Led policing model leaves little if any space for analysis of none-crime problems, the major information task is thus finding and drawing together ways of tracking offender and offending patterns as they emerge, and disrupting them through targeted enforcement (Tilley 2003). Crime analysis is crucial for this method of policing to work effectively because it endeavours to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time (Fletcher 2000).

The Intelligence-Led policing model and the Problem-Oriented policing model both note the association between repeat victimisation and prolific offending. For the Problem-Oriented policing model repeat victimisation comprises a major pattern of problem events requiring systematic attention (Pease 1998). Repeat offenders appear to be largely responsible for repeat offences (Everson and Pease 2001). Therefore focusing proactive enforcement efforts on those already victimised is an efficient way of targeting prolific offenders. This falls in line with the Intelligence-Led policing model which steers attention towards this. However, the Problem-Oriented policing model is also concerned with non-enforcement methods of reducing the vulnerability of those already victimised (Tilley 2003).

The way in which the models of policing are enforced differs on a much larger scale. The Problem-Oriented policing model is carried out by crime prevention officers and crime pattern analysts. It implies attention to problems exploiting available pinch-points in the conditions generating problems (Tilley 2002). This may include targeting prolific offenders, criminal organisations, those recruiting new criminals or stolen goods markets, any or all of which are likely to be focused on in the Intelligence-Led policing model. However, the major difference is that the Problem-Oriented policing model is also interested in finding pinch-points that do require enforcement. These will often include reductions in opportunity of the sort stressed in situational crime prevention (Braga 2002). Situational crime prevention reduces the criminals opportunities to commit crime for example making changes in the environment to make the criminal believe that the crime is not worth committing as it is too risky, this is something which the Problem-Oriented policing model endorses in its methods of policing via the problem analysis triangle, this consists of; the offender or source of complaint, a victim or victims and a location or characteristics of locations (Cohen and Felson 1979). Problems can be removed or ameliorated by altering one or more of the three problem features with the aid of situational crime prevention.

Crackdown and consolidation strategies are plausible candidates for many problems addressed in the Problem-Oriented Policing model (Wright 1994). The crackdown side agrees with the Intelligence-Led policing model, for both it involves efforts to target intensive, well publicised enforcement to incapacitate and/or deter offenders creating problems, this can also have beneficial side-effect beyond the operation of the crackdown (Sherman 1990). The Problem-Oriented policing model however will be equally concerned with consolidation, the introduction of measures to produce sustained falls in crime during the lull created by the crackdown (Tilley 2003).

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In addition to this, the Problem-Oriented policing model embraces concerns that extend beyond law enforcement. It is relevant to all police-relevant problems. Smart enforcement is needed for some but not all issues that are addressed by the police, for example a child going missing from home is more of a problem for policing but not smart enforcement. Various long-term crime problems are more open to non-enforcement preventive interventions than they are smart enforcement. Few enduring crime or non-crime problems are effectively dealt with by enforcement alone (Tilley 2003). This leads to the Problem-Oriented policing model to be seen as more community friendly as it does not ignore their needs; it focuses on all problems in society.

On the other hand, the Intelligence-Led policing model is carried out mainly by intelligence officers and Criminal Investigation Departments (CID). It is the outcome of a desire to professionalise the intelligence discipline within the law enforcement (NCIS 2000). Enforcement can be made smarter by assiduously assembling analysing and acting upon information relating to the activities and organisation of major offenders (Tilley 2003). The Intelligence-Led policing model works at three interconnecting levels; level one covers local issues and volume crime, level two covers cross border issues, where crime issues cross jurisdictional borders and where intelligence needs to be shared, and level three covers serious and organised crime operating on a national or international scale (Tilley 2003). Although it does not cover issues which do not require smart enforcement like the Problem-Oriented policing model does, it covers issues which spread overseas and could be considered a more professional business type method of policing.

Within the Intelligence-Led policing model there is a tasking and co-ordination group which is central to this method. The group has meetings which set the agenda for intelligence gathering, receiving intelligence, making tactical assessments, allocating law enforcement effort and reviewing said efforts, all of which are crucial elements of this model of policing. The meetings are made up of four main elements; the first being targeting offenders, the second is the management of hotspots, the third is the investigation of offences and the fourth is the application of preventative measures such as CCTV (NCIS 2000). The fourth element to this sits well with Problem-Oriented policing as it is essentially a form of situational crime prevention, something which the Problem-Oriented policing model embraces in its method of policing.

It is easy to see that the Intelligence-Led policing model is concerned with traditional police priorities; the detection of crime and the apprehension of serious and prolific offenders (Tilley 2003). Crime is deemed better controllable by better targeting of offenders; therefore the public is better served. The assumption stands that law enforcement is the key function of the police; it shapes what they are concerned with and what they can do.

The two models being discussed both have considerable success in society, however what each model considers to be success proves the real focus point that the model entails. For the Problem-Oriented policing model, success is achieved with the successful amelioration, removal or management of specific police related community problems. For the Intelligence-Led policing model success comes with good arrests and good sentences, the conviction of major, prolific offenders and their severe punishment keeping them away from those they would otherwise have the opportunity to harm (Tilley 2003).

Although the Intelligence-Led policing model comes to play better with traditional grass roots police officers than the other models, it provides no space for the wider conception of police problems and responsibilities which the Problem-Oriented policing model takes on board such as community issues. The Problem-Oriented policing model provides essential space for community models of policing and Intelligent-Led enforcement, which makes it crucially adaptable to changing conditions in society (Tilley 2003).


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