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Cultural Considerations Essay

This paper will examine and assesses the cultural concerns and influences of today’s societies with mixed cultures and the effect on the criminal justices system. The paper will address how the cultural concerns and influences affect justice and security administration and practice. The paper will show some contemporary methods by the police and security used in societies of mixed cultures. The paper will address how these influences and considerations relate to and affect nondiscrimination practices within the criminal justice system.

Finally, the paper will address Sir Robert Peel’s nine principles and how they fit into today’s police departments. The military occupation of numerous countries in the Middle East and Europe has brought police practices into question. The local police forces have been trained by the military in which the rules are different. The free people are suffering abuse at the hands of the police in those countries. In those cases where militant law is present and security is more prevalent, the police appear to work more for the current occupying military than for that country’s government or the people.

More than 200 cases of torture have either been investigated or court marshaled by the United States in violation of the United Nations anti-torture body in 2006. This increase in torture may be caused by racial, ethnic, and religious differences in the contemporary War on Terrorism (French &Wailes, 2008). The abuse on that scale does not occur within the United States; however, a problem still exists with the assessment of police and security personnel. These practices are scrutinized by the military, governments, security agencies, and local and foreign police.

Of course, these practices question discrimination and profiling. Profiling is one of the major concerns here in the United States. Some confusion exits between profiling and racial profiling. A person cannot be profiled by a police officer based on color, sex, religion, or culture. However, a person can be profiled if he or she matches the description of a suspect. The measures currently used to assess officers are objective and may disclose intimate aspects of the person tested.

The standard for recognition in the United States is the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) that was established in 1979. Psychological testing is in place, however; standards are not set by CALEA, and each agency conducts their own testing (French & Wailes, 2008). In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals recommended that every police agency follow a formal selection process that includes a written test of mental ability or aptitude, an oral interview, a psychological examination, and a background investigation.

It was believed that introducing greater screening and standardization to the selection process would result in a more qualified police force. International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) developed several guidelines for pre-employment psychological evaluations. These recommendations address such issues as validation of testing instruments, compliance with legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), using qualified psychologists familiar with the relevant research, and content of the written reports (Cochrane, Tett & Vandercreek, 2008).

Compliance with such acts as the ADA indicates the implementation of diversity in the testing process. A few of the most common comprehensive personality tests given to police officers during their psychological testing include the following: Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness (NEO) Personality Inventory, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–2(MMPI-2), and Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI). Traits from the NEO Personality Inventory–Revised, which was based on the five-factor model of personality, have also shown to be predictive of police performance.

The MMPI-2 and the IPI have been shown to be effective in predicting several job criteria for police officers as well (Cochrane, Tett & Vandercreek, 2008). Today’s American policing and justice system is based on English principles and English common law. One such tradition was limited police authority. This gives way to liberties and freedoms and limits governmental authority. Another tradition was the localized police control as opposed to a national, centralized police force as experienced in many other countries. This turned out to be both an advantage and a detriment.

The localization resulted in fragmentation and decentralization of law enforcement. The advantage was acquiring little national control (Walker & Katz, 2011, p. 24). Peel believed that prevention of crime could be accomplished without intruding into the lives of citizens so he developed the nine principles of community policing. His first concept was the basic mission of police was to prevent crime and disorder. The prevention of crime makes the job easier of the police. Police presence is deterrence, therefore prevents crime from occurring.

This is the basis for today’s community policing concept. The public must also approve of the actions of the police in the performance of their duties. The people must work voluntarily with the police in observance of the laws to maintain public order (History, 2002). The public must comply voluntarily with the laws and work with the police. Most people do what is morally correct; in turn the police also must do what is lawfully correct. The police are directed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights to safeguard every citizen’s right from interference from government.

These philosophies are still observed today. If a citizen does not approve of the conduct of the police, a complaint is filed. If the public does not agree with a law, they work to make changes. If the public fails to observe the law, there are consequences, such an arrest or a fine. Another concept concerns the use of physical force to gain compliance. The public is cooperative with the police whereas physical force not need be employed. If compliance is not gained and physical force is required, the force will not be so great as to be considered excessive (History, 2002).

The Constitution provides rights to the people and protects them from the police in this area. Laws in most states specifically write out what is considered “force,” when and how it can be used. Last, the police are specifically trained in the application of force through means of various weapons and hand to hand combat. This force is not to be excessive, not to be used as punishment, or in a punitive manner. The force used is that reasonable force to effect and arrest, to protect oneself or another from death or great bodily harm.

The police serve both the public and the law, they shall not show impartiality, but to the law. The officers are also members of the public. Any interest the public has would also be interest to the police (History, 2002). In this case, the officer may come from any background may be either sex or any race. The officer must show fairness to members of other groups and not discriminate against those members or members of his or her own group. The officer shall treat everyone as equally as possible. The police are hired to uphold the law, at the same time serve the public.

Peel’s theory indicates, when a conflict arises, the service to the law should outweigh the public service. This concept is contradictory to today’s practices. Policing has become “customer service”-oriented, where the customer is always right. The officers are members of the public, when they are in an off duty capacity, they are afforded the same rights as any other citizen. However, they should govern themselves as an upstanding citizen because they do represent the law. The final concept indicates the effectiveness of policing is the lack of crime and disorder.

This concept is known as preventative policing. In today’s society, the crimes are not occurring where there is a high police presence. So, Peel’s principles are still used to some extent. The demographics have changed since his time. People and crimes have evolved. People’s values have changed, whereas they are tolerant of certain crimes. The attitudes toward police have changed. In a location where there is a strong police presence, fewer crimes occur. This is consistent with Peel’s concept.

However, if the demographics of the neighborhood are less desirable, the people of the neighborhood indicate the police are prejudiced and do not want the police in the neighborhood. Thus, more crimes occur in this less protected neighborhood. If fewer police are present, the response time for an officer to an incident is longer because there are fewer officers and more calls. The ratio of officers to calls is higher. In these cases discrimination is blamed for the increased of police presence and the lack of it as well. The affected parties assume they are discriminated against because more police are in their areas, where more crime occurs.

However, when the police are not present, they blame the police for the increase in crime because the police are not present. In conclusion, most of Sir Robert Peel’s principles can be applied to the organization of a police department today. In fact, many departments in England still work by his principles. Some need to be altered to accommodate today’s society to be more “customer” friendly. The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights need to be recognized, as well such as the Due Process Clauses to both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments if his principles are applied.


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