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"evaluate the role of the police in preventing and reducing crime"
evaluate the role of the police in preventing and reducing crime
Carlos Hernandez
Jason King

Evaluate the role of the police in preventing and reducing crime

The Sheehy Inquiry recorded four main aims of the Metropolitan Police: to prevent crime; to pursue and bring justice to those who break the law; to keep the peace; and to protect, help and reassure the public. In short, the role of the police can be summarised into the prevention of crime (the reducing of the risk of occurrence and the potential seriousness of crime and disorder events by intervening in their causes) and the reduction of crime (reduction of number of crime and disorder events by intervening directly in the events and causes). The extents to which the police have managed to fulfil these roles, however, have been increasingly scrutinised.

First, the police attempts to prevent and reduce crime through patrols. In the traditional image of the police, patrol refers to officers walking the beat across neighbourhoods and high streets: an average foot beat in a large British city covers a square half-mile, with four to five miles of public roadway and a population of about 4000. It was then realised that this method of patrol have a minimal impact on local crime levels, that the chances of patrols successfully catching offenders red-handed are hopelessly small, and that the increase in number of patrols would have little effect to this (Goldblatt & Lewis 1998). In a study conducted by Clarke and Hough in 1984, it was estimated that "given present burglary rates and evenly distributed patrol coverage, a patrolling policeman in London could expect to pass within 100 yards of a burglary in progress roughly once every 8 years- but not necessarily to catch the burglar or even realise that the crime was taking place."

With this marked the emergence of vehicle patrols, whereby officers are able to respond to...

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