CHAPTER 3: CRIME PREVENTION NOT BEING THE CORE FUNCTION OF THE POLICE
In this chapter, the focus will be on the school of thought which asserts that crime prevention is not the core function of the police. This is based on the viewpoints of various criminologists, scientists and police practitioners who are of the opinion that the police should not be blamed for high levels of crime because most crime emanates from socioeconomic and other factors over which the police have no control. Some police practitioners challenge the doctrine developed by Sir Robert Peel in England almost two centuries ago, which states that the police must prevent crime, as an obsolete and impossible mandate to fulfil.
Grabosky (1988:02) states that productivity with regard to crime prevention refers to the output, or degree of effectiveness, obtained by the police agency in the concept of crime prevention. Unfortunately, productivity in policing is easier to conceptualize than to measure, for the ultimate ends of policing often resist quantification. An ideal measure of crime prevention productivity would entail the number of offences prevented by police activity divided by the cost of police crime prevention operations. Because events that have not occurred are exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to measure, hard indicators of police productivity, at least concerning crime prevention, remain elusive (Grabosky 1988:02).
Grabosky (1988:03) went on to state that crime result from a variety of factors, most of which are entirely beyond the ability of the police to control. Moreover, the processes by which police resources impinge upon the incidence of crime are often overlooked. It is not merely the availability of additional police resources, but how these resources are used, which determine the nature and extent of their impact on crime prevention. Overall strategies, management techniques, and resource allocation decisions may facilitate or inhibit the attainment of crime-related goals.
THE PURPOSE OF POLICING
According to Newburn (2005:142), most police officers who conduct patrol duties are not directly preventing crime, but they are restoring order and providing general assistance. He states the purpose of policing as being to stop something that is contrary to the law from happening. He is of the view that police on patrol interrupts and pacify situations of potential or ongoing conflict, such as young men who are drinking beer on a street corner and making rude remarks, a dog barking persistently late at night and irritating the neighbour, a truculent and inconsiderate neighbour obstructing a driveway with his car, etc.
Newburn (2005:143) states that when the police are called to actual or potential conflicts, they try to produce a truce by sorting out what has happened. Family disputes are the most common and the most difficult encounters that the police have to deal with daily. Sixty five percent of police officials in most police departments are assigned to patrol functions that could be regarded as boring because it involves restoring order as the main purpose of policing. This led to Newburn (2005:143) concluding that the main purpose of policing is the restoration of order and not the prevention of crime.
Burger (2007:140) on the other hand, states that the pronouncement of Sir Robert Peel in 1829 that the core function of the police is to prevent crime might have been understandable at that time, but currently it creates a number of dilemmas for the police. Notable in Burger‘s work is the absence of what has changed in policing that made Sir Robert Peel‘s assertion relevant at that time and irrelevant now. According to Burger (2007:140), the core function of the police is policing, which he describes as what they are realistically capable of doing, which entails law enforcement, crime investigation, visible policing and maintenance of order, but excludes crime prevention.
THE ABILITY OF THE POLICE TO PREVENT CRIME
Based on the fact that the police are least likely to succeed in preventing crime, Burger (2007:42) is of the view that crime prevention is and should not be the core function of the police. Burger‘s assertion is shared by Professor David Bayley, an internationally renowned author and an expert on criminal justice systems. Bayley argues that the police do not and cannot prevent crime because 80% of all criminal incidents are rooted in socioeconomic factors over which the police have no control (Magnus 2003:07). Police inability to prevent crime is also asserted by Smith (2006:14) who is of the view that the rapid growth of the private security industry in South Africa is a clear indication of the inability of the police to prevent crime.
Analyzing the role of the police in relation to serious crimes, Green (2000:310) states that the police have narrow law enforcement focus with regard to crime prevention. He asserts that the police‘s focus is centred on serious crimes, as opposed to maintenance of community social order. Green (2000:310) further states that the police are not preventing crime, they are responding to the crime that was committed. Green‘s analysis is based on what the police are doing and does not really deal with the question of what the police should be doing. It is of paramount importance to establish what the police were created for in order to determine what is it that they should do. According to Hale (1994:12), public perceptions on what the police should do create tensions when these expectations are not met. Burger (2007:01) called the police‘s promise to reduce the incidence of crime a lie. Like Professor David Bayley, Burger argues that the police could not make such a promise because 80 percent of all crime has socioeconomic roots over which the police have no control.
Although Legget (2003:03) questions policy documents issued by the Department for Safety and Security on crime prevention, he quickly disavowed exclusive responsibility for crime prevention. The 1996 National Crime Prevention Strategy and the 1998 White Paper on Safety and Security argue that preventing crime requires the participation of a range of departments at all levels of government, as well as civil society.
Despite this, both the public and the police continue to focus on crime prevention as though it is the primary purpose of the police, and that the police are exclusively accountable for crime levels. Even worse, the method used most often to measure crime prevention performance by the number of crimes recorded by the police is not a very good indicator of the ability of the police to prevent crime (Legget 2003:03).
According to Burger (2007:06), the implementation of the National Crime Combating Strategy is impacted on negatively by the prevailing unfavourable socioeconomic conditions in the country. These socioeconomic conditions such as widespread poverty, lack of access to basic services, etc., contribute to the root causes of crime. Burger also questions the conceptual and terminological correctness of section 205(3) of the Constitution, which stipulates that crime prevention is one of the responsibilities of the South African Police Service.
Standard Model of Policing
Weisburd and Eck (2004:44) state that over the past years, scholars such as Bayley; Goldstein; Visher and Weisburd, have increasingly criticized what has come to be considered the standard model of police practices. They argue that this model relies generally on a ―one-size-fits-all‖ application of reactive strategies to prevent crime and continues to be the dominant form of police practices in the world. The standard model is based on the assumption that generic strategies for crime reduction can be applied throughout a jurisdiction regardless of the level of crime, the nature of crime, or other variations.
Such strategies as increasing the size of police agencies, random patrol across all parts of the community, rapid response to calls for service, generally applied follow-up investigations, and generally applied intensive enforcement and arrest policies are all examples of this standard model of policing. Weisburd and Eck (2004:44) further state that because the standard model seeks to provide a generalized level of police service, it has often been criticized as focused more on the means of policing or the resources that police bring to bear than on the effectiveness of policing in crime prevention, disorder or fear of crime. Accordingly, in the application of preventive patrol in a city, police agencies following the standard model will often measure success in terms of whether a certain number of patrol cars are on the street at certain times. In agencies that seek to reduce police response times to citizen calls for service, improvements in the average time of response often become a primary measure of police agencies‘ success. In this sense, using the standard model can lead police agencies to become more concerned with how police resources are allocated than whether they have an impact on public safety and crime prevention (Weisburd & Eck 2004:44).
This model has also been criticized because of its reliance on the traditional law enforcement powers of the police in preventing crime. Police agencies relying upon the standard model generally employ a limited range of approaches, overwhelmingly oriented toward enforcement, and make relatively little use of institutions outside of policing (with the notable exception of other parts of the criminal justice system). Enforcing the law and not preventing crime is a central element of the standard model of policing, suggesting that the main tools available to the police or legitimate for their use are found in their law enforcement powers (Weisburd & Eck 2004:44).
CHAPTER 1: GENERAL ORIENTATION
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.3 THE OBJECTIVE OF POLICING SOCIETY
1.4 THE ORIGIN OF POLICING
1.5 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.6 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.7 THE RESEARCH QUESTION
1.8 VALUE OF THE RESEARCH
1.9 RESEARCH DEMARCATION
1.10 DEFINITION OF KEY THEORETICAL CONCEPTS
1.11 ORGANISATION OF THE THESIS
CHAPTER 2: CRIME PREVENTION AS THE CORE FUNCTION OF THE POLICE
2.2 POLICE AND CRIME PREVENTION
2.3 CRIME PREVENTION
2.4 POLICE PERFORMANCE
2.5 FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN MEASURING POLICE PERFORMANCE
2.6 THE IMPLICATION OF CRIME PREVENTION AS THE CORE FUNCTION OF THE POLICE IN MODERN POLICING
2.7 POLICE STRATEGIES AND OPERATIONAL METHODS
CHAPTER 3: CRIME PREVENTION NOT BEING THE CORE FUNCTION OF THE POLICE
3.2 THE PURPOSE OF POLICING
3.3 THE ABILITY OF THE POLICE TO PREVENT CRIME
3.4 INTELLIGENCE-LED POLICING
3.5 APPROACHES IN POLICING
3.6 MEASUREMENT OF POLICE PERFORMANCE
3.7 FACTORS THAT ARE CONSIDERED WHEN MEASURING POLICE PERFORMANCE
3.8 THE IMPLICATION OF CRIME PREVENTION IN MODERN POLICING
3.9 POLICE STRATEGIES AND OPERATIONAL METHODS
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.3 RESEARCH SAMPLE
4.4 DATA COLLECTION
4.5 DATA ANALYSIS
4.6 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
4.7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.2 PRESENTATION OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.3 ANALYSIS OF EMPIRICAL FINDINGS
5.4 SPECIFIC FINDINGS
5.5 GENERAL FINDINGS
CHAPTER 6: RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
LIST OF REFERENCES
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AN ANALYSIS OF CRIME PREVENTION AS A CORE FUNCTION OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE