Factors Bearing on the Problem
The use of excessive force by police and other law enforcement agencies remains a pertinent issue in your society. Numerous incidents attract vast public attention and instigate the call for reforming the attitude of law enforcers and the legal framework in which they operate. In order to implement successful changes that would mitigate the risk of excessive forces, it is essential to identify critical factors that are bearing on the problem and focus the policy effort on them.
The lack of community-oriented policing is often put forward as the primary factor contributing to the excessive use of force. The argument is that both management and financial resources thrown at the police are not use to develop partnerships with local communities. Such community orientation is the exact opposite of the aggressive style of policing where the executives distance themselves from fostering relationships with local institutions. (Fyfe, 2014)
The stressful environment of decision-making during the direct application of physical source is another key factor. It should not be ignored that officers are forced to make very quick decisions not just about the use of force as such but about the level and type of force. In many instances, the decision can also entail the application of lethal force. This can be further complicated by the officer’s need to defend himself or herself. It is a challenging and stressful task that does contribute to the excessive use of force. (May, 2008)
The low socioeconomic backgrounds of suspects also contribute to the risk of excessive use of force. The studies have shown that it is related to the lower levels of obedience of these social groups. While the link to ethnicity has proven to be rather weak, the socioeconomic profile of suspects appears to be in indirect correlation with the higher risk of excessive use of force. (Alpert & Dunham, 2004)
- Fyfe, S. (2014). Above the law. [Place of publication not identified]: Free Press.
- May, D. (2008). Reasonable use of force by police. New York: P. Lang.
- Alpert, G., & Dunham, R. (2004). Understanding police use of force. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.