‘Police legitimacy has been described as the public’s belief that the police perform their job well, that they are honest and that police officers can secure public confidence in their ability to preform their job (Hinds and Murphy 2007)’. Therefore it is essential to understand the important roles police officers preform in society. According to Bowling and Philips (2004), ‘the police are people sanctioned by the state with power to enforce the law and keep order’. However the role of a sworn police officer comes with more then just enforcing law and order (UWS 2014). The everyday role of a police officer requires a great deal of responsibility, discretion making, customer service skills and community policing practices. This essay will discuss critical factors and important issues relating to police legitimacy and the contributions discretion making, customer service and community policing make to legitimacy of policing for members within the community.
Prior to the reform era police were described as authoritarian, fearful, unapproachable and unethical. However during recent times police institutions have legitimised the way in which they operate, police are no longer viewed as being abusers of power and authority (Tyler 2006). Police in today’s society are much about serving the community in a positive way by deterring, investigating crime and building rapport with communities. While policing has reformed police are still authority figures and, therefore citizens must obey orders and cooperate with police (Jackson et al 2010). Compliance and cooperation of citizen towards police officials is known as police legitimacy (Tyler 2006).
Introduction of police legitimacy was an important aspect for policing institutions in NSW and many other countries around the world. Police legitimacy is an important aspect for everyday policing as citizens feel they must obey and cooperate with police orders ‘ voluntarily out of obligation not fear (Tyler 2006)’....
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