Since the 1990's, police forces have become interested in crime prevention tactics (Braga, 2008). It was said that the search for improved community relations, increased police legitimacy and effective alternatives to the traditional strategies of policing led to the proliferation of innovative police strategies in recent years, such as community, problem-oriented and intelligence-led policing (Braga, 2008). Policing evolved from a professional model to a community, problem-solving model (Braga, 2008). The professional policing model emerged as a reform of policing practices before the 1930's; this was known as the political era (Palmiotto, 2000; Braga, 2008). Policing during the political era was governmentally influenced and it was also said to focus on a law enforcement function (Palmiotto, 2000). Issues such as corruption, lack of professionalism and abuse of authority emerged during this period; this resulted in the development of the professional policing model (Braga, 2008).
The reform model of policing was said to eliminate the corrupt policing practices of the political era (Braga, 2008). Kelling and Moore (1989) stated that the main function of the police during the reform era was crime control. This function was said to be implemented through preventive patrol and rapid response (Sherman et al, 1997; Weisburd and Eck, 2004). The patrol car became the symbol of policing during this period; it was argued to represent “mobility, power, conspicuous presence, control of officers, and professional distance from citizens” (Kelling and Moore, 1989:8). Although professional policing emphasised rapid response, studies showed that this had little effect on clearance rates (Spelman and Brown, 1984). The reform model of policing faced difficulties during the 1960's and 1970's as it was unable to adjust to the larger social issues (Miles and Snow, 1978). The first issue was that crime began to rise throughout the 1960's (Palmiotto, 2000). Regardless of increases in police departments and spending on new equipment, police failed to control or prevent crime (Kelling and Moore, 1989). Furthermore, research suggested that reactive policing was ineffective in reducing levels of crime (Palmiotto, 2000). Equally important, the fear of crime rose and public satisfaction with the police reduced (Palmiotto, 2000). For instance, minorities perceived their treatment as unequal and inadequate (Palmiotto, 2000). Finally, the civil rights and peace movements proved to be a challenge as concerns were raised surrounding police legitimacy and police tactics (Kelling and Moore, 1989).
These issues with the reform model of policing initiated the development of the community era which includes community and problem-oriented policing (Hooper, 2014). Interestingly, Hooper (2014) suggested that a fourth era exists which is the information era, this consists of intelligence-led policing. These innovative strategies looked to redefine the role and the function of the police towards crime prevention and crime reduction (Weisburd and Braga, 2006). This essay will now briefly discuss the background for each of these models.
Tilley stated that “community policing derives from a sense that police-community relations are unsatisfactory” (2003:311). It was argued that society was experiencing change and that policing styles had to reflect this (Tainton, 2010). Society was becoming “free, permissive and participatory” and it was argued that traditional authoritarian policing styles were unsuitable (Alderson, 1979:199). Alderson's (1979) vision for the future of policing consisted of key functions that are relevant to modern community policing styles; some examples include building trust within communities, preserve and protect human rights and to reduce the fear of crime (Tainton, 2010). In addition, The Scarman Report on the Brixton riots in 1981 found that local communities did not trust the police or their methods of policing...
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