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Criminal Justice System: Concepts and Practice


Policing is one of the three main departments of the Criminal Justice system, other departments include courts and correction. Each department works independently from the other. The main purpose of policing is to investigate suspected criminal activities and refer the results to the courts. Besides investigation, the police department is charged with deterring criminal activities, preventing successful commission of crimes in progress, providing first response to emergencies and other threats to public safety, enforcement of courts warrant, protection of public infrastructure and facilities, and maintenance of public order and protection of public official.

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The police department has developed different styles of policing in order to prioritize and focus their activities. These styles are; watchman, legalistic, service

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Watchman style puts emphasis on maintaining order, it is less proactive than other styles of policing. This is the style of policing found in blue-collar populations where the industrial base is declining and the population is composed of mixed ethnic and racial groups. Offenses are at times overlooked as long as doing so will maintain public order. This at times leads to discrimination as one group may perceive police actions are biased toward them.

Legalistic Styles of policing put emphasize professionalism and law enforcement. This kind of policing is found in cities with mixed socioeconomic compositions where the citizens are reform-minded. The conduct of the police officer is expected to be standard in where equal treatment is accorded to different members of communities.

Service style of policing is found in middles class communities and suburban where individual residents demand independent treatment. The role of police in this style is to protect the local community from external threats. Crimes in this kind of policing style are less frequent and police have a lot of time left for them to do service to the community.

In some communities, different style of policing work while else in other, it doesn’t achieve much. The public demand at times is different from the policing style been offered by the police department.

There are five main operational strategies for police departments which include preventive patrols, which put the law enforcement officer in direct contact with the public, in a bid to deter or interrupt crime.

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Emergency response, to crime, accident or natural disaster.

Problem-solving, which includes gathering knowledge of a problem, and responding with a plan that can work to solve the problem.

Criminal investigation, which includes discovering, collecting, and presenting evidence to determine who committed a crime and the motive behind the criminal act.

Routine accident response, which includes attending to normal incidences and restoration of orders. All these operational strategies are of great importance as each occasion call for different strategy and as such they complement each other.

There are three levels of Law enforcement which includes; International law enforcement agency, Multinational Law Enforcement Agency and Divisional Law Enforcement Agency.


International law enforcement agency has personnel’s from different countries and operates in multiple countries; Interpol is a good example, while Multinational Law enforcement agency is composed of personnel from different countries but operating in one country only. A division Law Enforcement agency is made up of personnel from all over the country or state but has jurisdiction over a particular region or division of a country or state. The major weakness in this structure levels as one agency may feel that a certain kind of job belongs to the other agency and verse versa.


Alan Wright (2002) Policing; An Introduction to Concepts and practice, Willan Publishing United kingdom.

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Frank Schmalleger (2006) Criminal Justice Today; An introductory text of the twenty-first century, Prentice Hall Publishers, United States Law Enforcement Agency. Web.

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