Police Discretion

2658 words 11 pages
From a criminological perspective discretion can be defined as the authority granted by law to agencies and officials to act on their own considered judgement and conscience in certain situations; and each area of the legal system (judges, parliament and law enforcement) has its own discretion. Police discretion is the ability granted by the legal system to police offices, in certain situations, to act in a manner that allows authorities to make responsible decisions and individual choices or judgments, within certain legal bounds. In law enforcement, discretion is left up to each individual officer to make reasonable and responsible decisions out in the field everyday (Beech, 2008). Discretion is used in many situations, such as when an …show more content…

Secondly if they have chosen to involve themselves they must considered how do they approach the situation and how is best to interact with the members of the community. Lastly they must consider solutions and alternative options to solve the problem for those involved and the general public.
Despite the inherent dangers associated with such discretion, there are numerous advantages that the utilization of police discretion brings. These can include the flexibility in the exercise or justice in society, helping to prevent injustices through technicalities in the law, and helping to develop better police-community relationships (Beech, 2008).To keep the respect and morale of police from diminishing, officers need to be fair and just in their dealings with citizens; that is that discretion is sometimes necessary on minor offences so that fines aren’t continually issued (Delattre, 2006). However, with the list of advantages also come a string of disadvantages. As police discretion allows for individual decision making by officers, decisions can sometimes create disturbances within minorities groups. If it was seen that a normal traffic stop resulted in to different outcomes that involved an elderly caucasian woman and a young male of ethnic decent it could create conflictions in law. In addition, the use of police discretion can provide an opening for the development police deviance or corruption, as abuse of discretion is hard to detect (Elicker, 2007).
One of the key


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