Researching of Police Discretion

Subject: Law
Pages: 2
Words: 601
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


One of the essential principles of police performance is openness and publicity. Interaction with civil society institutions allows the law enforcement system to conduct a constructive dialogue in solving many issues. Joint work with legal and public organizations makes it possible to ensure the observance and respect of citizens’ rights and freedoms in full, to preserve public trust and support from citizens.

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It is usual for a police officer to act alone, so his discretion is beginning to take on an important role. He must decide on his own in a specific situation how to react and what needs to be done. A police officer will find himself in a case where he needs to consider the use of weapons, arrest, search, or fine. In almost every situation, there is an opportunity to observe this practice. It is discretion that provides police officers with the flexibility of thinking they need to do their job correctly. It allows each person to interpret the applicable laws and act by them based on the choice made at that moment. The positive and negative sides of police discretion are numerous, so the main ones should be considered separately.

Why Should Police Officers Be More Circumspect Towards the Public

The exercise of discretion allows police officers to use their skills and knowledge to determine the level of force they should apply to a suspect. They can go to the very least if they consider that the suspect poses a threat to society or other police officers. For most police officers, saving their lives is the best scenario for developing events (Huff 5). The principles of police prudence allow an extreme level of force, when necessary, to prevent possible traumatic consequences.

Police prudence can also use to allocate resources to specific activities properly. Any police department can use a similar distribution to determine the estimated time of the case investigation. It is known that patrols, on foot or by vehicle, have the most excellent autonomy, giving them the right to choose the measures they can apply freely. If this approach did not been widely used, the work of the police would not be so practical.

The police can, at their discretion, determine what charges they can bring against the suspect. It means that the police can change the nature of the order by choosing either a lesser violation or, conversely, a severe violation (Huff 5). This method also determines the speed of arrival of police officers at the scene or their level to best resolve the situation. Each decision directly correlates with the safety of society; the policeman provides the necessary balance of rights and freedoms of individual suspects.

It will be too expensive for a police officer to stop every motorist who exceeds the speed limit or violates traffic rules. Even in such a situation, there is no need to search every vehicle for contraband or prohibited substances. Prudence here allows the policeman to focus his central resource on specific cases where a violation of the law is apparent. This right gives officers the right to contact persons who arouse the most significant suspicion if they consider that their intervention will protect the public.

It would be difficult for the Police Department to exist without discretion, which is more of a privilege than an additional option. There would be hundreds or thousands of illegal detentions without this opportunity across the country. Prudence is well integrated into the justice system when it is used lawfully. This fact improves the mental health of police officers and makes it possible to issue a regular warning instead of arrest.

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Work Cited

Huff, Jessica. “Understanding Police Decisions to Arrest: The Impact of Situational, Officer, and Neighborhood Characteristics on Police Discretion.” Journal of Criminal Justice, vol. 75 no. 7, 2021, pp. 1-14.