Successful policing and law enforcement can be achieved by building and maintaining trust and respect amongst the citizens (Cordner, 2014). Although the process takes a great deal together with continuous effort, one mistake executed by one officer may render the workforce as mediocre and consequently loose respect amongst citizens. This literary study seeks to establish how law enforcement agencies can be able to account for their actions to the citizens. Mazerolle, Antrobus, Bennett, and Tyler, (2013) determine that there is need for the police to come up with clear and concise citizen involvement models- whether formal, informal or mandated- so as to create a relationship in a proactive manner so as curb the evolvement of tenuous relationships amongst the workforce and the citizens.
The police continually take a personal initiative to preserve and maintain a positive and ethical perspective of the entire law enforcement agency to the citizens that they swore to protect and serve (Mazerolle et al., 2013). However, it is important note that people’s notions, views and their image of the police are based on diverse and dynamic factors. Each and every day, a substantive number of police commit to conscientious and honorable service but as aforementioned, irreparable damage may befall the entire workforce through the mistake of just one person. Each community has a different perspective of how the law enforcement agency works. To this effect, Kääriäinen and Sirén, (2012) emphasize that such a relationship is pre-determined by how the police interact with the citizens, its accessibility to the people they serve and the overall management. For this reason, building respect and trust becomes a hallmark for effective and efficient policing.
To establish respect, police executives should continuously and aggressively reinforce solid, sound and positive ethical policies and procedures both within the enforcement agency and to the public (Kääriäinen and Sirén, 2012). Police take an oath to be of service to the community and being placed at a position of visible authority, the society holds them to a high standard of integrity, professionalism, equity, and honesty. It is due to this that the police ought to be responsible for behaving ethically, promptly and successively informing and reassuring the public of the workforce role in maintaining integrity and honor, and lastly, building and maintaining a trusting and respectful relationship between the public and the police workforce.
To ensure that respect and trust are not lost amongst citizens, the law enforcement agency should incept an internal affairs policies and procedures department. This is paramount in that; the agency will be adequately prepared for comprehensive measures in place to investigate and precisely act on the misconduct that goes on within the workforce (Cordner, 2014). Curbing such instances in a prompt and effective manner is one way of earning trust and respect from the people they serve. This mechanism should be one of the very many systematic approaches that the police should incorporate in order to ensure proper ethical conduct. The management team should take into consideration hiring appropriate and qualified staff. In addition, the staff should be adequately trained, come up with strict and timely intervention strategies, supervise the work that is mandated by the police in order to achieve trust and respect.
Community trust and respect is not only an established relationship between the police and the citizens they serve but also one that is highly honored and regarded. It is fundamental that top management bear the responsibility for the actions of the police and come up with sound policing mechanisms to ensure honesty, legitimacy, competence and integrity within the law enforcement agency.
- Cordner, G. (2014). Community policing. The Oxford Handbook of Police and Policing, 148.
- Kääriäinen, J., & Sirén, R. (2012). Do the police trust in citizens? European comparisons. European Journal of Criminology, 9(3), 276-289.
- Mazerolle, L., Antrobus, E., Bennett, S., & Tyler, T. R. (2013). Shaping citizen perceptions of police legitimacy: A randomized field trial of procedural justice. Criminology, 51(1), 33-63.