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Political Aspects in Evaluating Policing Situations

NCJ Number
Schriftenreihe der Polizeifuehrungsakademie Issue: 4 Dated: (1981) Pages: 311-323
H Schnoor
Date Published
13 pages
This address to an audience of law enforcement policymakers raises the question of whether political considerations influence discretionary decisionmaking in police work.
The issue has become particularly important since police handling of recent political demonstrations in West Germany has received severe public criticism as being politically biased and oppressive, especially in the eyes of the younger population. The idea of a totally neutral police force, however, is a utopian ideal, and such a force could not fulfill its peacekeeping responsibilities to the society it serves. Police officers are committed to upholding the values of the democratic State for the welfare of its total constituency. Individual officers must themselves believe in these values to do their job, and insofar as democratic value judgments color their decisionmaking in action, it is political and not neutral. The discord and criticism has arisen because a youthful minority no longer shares the basic unifying principles, proposing instead ideas that appear irrational and anarchistic. The problem reflects the complexity of modern social conditions. The police role is to mediate and suppress violence perpetrated by a minority and act in the interests of the majority. Photographs are provided.