• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The core function of the police should be to maintain order.' Discuss with particular reference to Wilson and Kelling's 'broken windows' thesis. This essay will provide an explanation of the broken windows thesis and link this to the role

Extracts from this document...


'The core function of the police should be to maintain order.' Discuss with particular reference to Wilson and Kelling's 'broken windows' thesis. This essay will provide an explanation of the broken windows thesis and link this to the role of the police in maintaining order. It will highlight that the thesis only recognises street crime as a source of criminal activity and how disorder and order are defined in this context. The issue of how maintaining order produces tension with regard to human rights will be examined and in particular who is often labelled as disorderly and therefore criminal. The issue of reducing crime will also be investigated and the reason why reducing crime is viewed as so important in the first place. Finally the positive effects of the thesis will be examined and it will look at the alternatives to the police maintaining order. When Robert Peel founded the metropolitan police in the early 19th century, the primary function was crime prevention and maintaining order through street patrols. This was to protect the public from the 'menace of mob disorder' (Reith 1938) as Robert Peel did not want to leave the streets 'in the nightly possession of drunken women and vagabonds'. ...read more.


An article in the Daily Star newspaper explains how a man was minding his own business and these 'hoody thugs' attacked him without provocation (Malley 2005), while the daily mirror shares the opinion of the Ex-Metropolitan Police chief who believes 'hoodies' should receive longer prison sentences (McGurran 2005). There is an assumption that disorderly behaviour and therefore criminal elements are easily recognisable and by removing these elements the problem will be eliminated. Kelling and Wilson even recognize the failures in establishing who is criminal. They point out that when people on a housing estate were asked where the dangerous places were they identified where young ones gather and play music, even though this was not an area of crime. This puts the thesis on shaky ground, they claim that if you sort out the disorderly elements this will stop it escalating into further criminal action. However if the people pinpointed as disorderly are not committing or causing criminal acts how does stopping and harassing them prevent further criminal acts, it could surely produce the opposite effect in that they feel oppressed. Instead it is labelling people as disorderly and therefore criminal for what they look like and what they wear. This also illustrates that the thesis is one sided as it looks at the feelings and thoughts of the 'victims' but fails to take account of the feelings of those who are actually labelled as criminal. ...read more.


It also points out that those labelled as 'criminal' are not necessarily criminals. They are more likely to be those who appear different and those highlighted by the media. There also appears to be a never ending cycle of those labelled as criminals and there is a failure to take note of any social influences. In addition the prejudice that results from labelling can have devastating consequences. All of these reasons coupled with the point that the police are unlikely to catch a person in the act means that a police presence in the form of foot patrol is unlikely to have an effect on street crime rates. However it does seem to have a positive effect on those in the community fearful of crime. Although due to police accountability and political pressures this is not seen as important or cost effective. In conclusion, I don't think that the core function of the police should be to maintain order as it has little effect on crime rates and they tend to target those who 'looks' like criminals, also by using foot patrols and concentrating on street crime means other areas of crime would to be overlooked. However I do think that the police role in maintaining community relationships does have merit, as they could be used in an advisory capacity and this way police could continue monitoring crime and fear levels within the community. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree English Legal System section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree English Legal System essays

  1. Critically analyse Police powers on Stop and Search, Arrest and Detention.

    There have been many criticisms into the manner of arrest. Research by the Home Office carried out in 1998 show that far more men were arrested than women with 85% of those being arrested being male. Un-employment was the key reasons connected with arrests as 54% of those arrested were unemployed.

  2. Have the police become less accountable in recent years? How can police accountability be ...

    Police expenditure was heavily increasing and the question of its reliability was decreasing. The police were becoming an increasing financial burden but they were not reducing crime rates and clear up rates were decreasing by the year. Morgan and Newburn (1997)

  1. In my essay I am going to look at the explanations that sociologist have ...

    social order and crime is something which breaks or departs from this shared norms and values. Emile Durkheim, the father of the functionalistic approach argues in his book 'The Rules of Sociological Method' that crime is inevitable and a normal aspect of social life and an integral part of all societies.

  2. Racial Profiling by Police

    The Constitution's reasonableness requirement of the Fourth Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are at the core of the debate over racial profiling. What is and is not "reasonable" has been debated throughout the 20th century, especially the second half, in terms of what a "reasonable" person

  1. Young children watch 8,000 murdersand 100,000acts of violencebefore leaving elementary school. - Is ...

    lot of competition in the market and does not allow for new companies or chains to have a chance in the particular market. Concentration of ownership is closely related to Rochester because the Gannett Co. Inc.

  2. Is it possible to predict who will offend again?

    Results of Ohlin's 1951 study, data taken from p.130 of Ohlin (1951) 1 - Ohlin, S.E. 1951. Selection for Parole. Russell Sage Foundation, New York. 2 - Simon, F.E. 1971. Prediction Methods in Criminology. H.M. Stationary Office, London. 3 - The Mean Cost Rating is a statistic that describes

  1. Social transformation impacts directly and indirectly upon crime and the reactions to it. Discuss ...

    firewood or peat for fires, grazing animals on common land or poaching, a crime. This created a category of crime that some social historians refer to as 'social crime' (Emsley, 1996:2). These are 'those offences which had a degree of community acceptance or which can be linked with social protest' (Emsley, 1996:2)

  2. Legal Positivism - The Pedigree Thesis

    can coerce herself (or itself). Since constitutional provisions limit the authority of the legislative body to make laws, Austin is forced to argue that what we refer to as constitutional law is really not law at all; rather, it is principally a matter of "positive morality" (Austin 1977, p. 107).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work