POLICE ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE AND DESIGN
Category : Criminology, Organisation Structures
POLICE ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE AND DESIGN
In 1285, England launched its private control of criminal activities through its Statute of Winchester. It was in 1829 in London that it created its first public police force through the Metropolitan Police Act. This was the result of centuries of experimenting with law reforms and a vast variety of policing efforts.
Significant changes in dealing with criminals began to be apparent in the first part of the eighteenth century due to increases in and rampant theft of properties. This technically started police evolution.
It was theorized that the rise in crime and the development of criminal law coincided with the growth of standard goods in the Industrial Revolution era. One implication relates to possession status. Since goods are standardized and owners cannot positively and accurately identify one standardized good from another, nor determine whether an item sold is stolen or not, possession is synonymous with ownership. Thus, whoever is in possession of the good is the owner.
In this modern period, Edward R. Maguire noted, the reason why American police forces are localized and divided are because of the large numbers of police agencies with different organizational structures. He also noted that reforms might be restricted due to various internal and external limitations among which might be administrative and political in nature. Thus, administrators in the police force are not totally independent to plan and organize the structure.
Among the features of a police organization are the structural complexity and structural control. Structural complexity is the range of vertical, spatial and functional differences in the organization. This includes division of labor, specialization degrees, and number of levels within the agency. Structural controls involve the control structure of the administration, formalization of rules and policies, and centralization or decentralization. This refers to the extent an individual or a small unit in the agency carries the decision-making capacity and responsibility.
According to Maguire, there are three factors that will influence the organization structure of a police agency. These are size, technology, and environmental influence.
Size, as in other organization, does have an impact on any organizational structure. The larger the organization is, the more complex the structure. Variations in spatial and vertical differences are mostly due to size. A police department’s internal features regarding its spread and size is found to be more responsible on organizational variations than the spread and size of a police agency’s jurisdiction.
Technology is defined as the work output performed by the police force. However, extreme difficulties are possible to be encountered in its assessment because their prime functionality is their interaction and relation with the diverse public. Since the majority of their output deals with the public, the development of a concrete structure that complements their central or main technology might have a lower rate of actualization. They might find it hard to disassociate themselves from different external forces that affect them.
Environmental influences as regards to police behavior involve sourcing of financial capital, satisfying clients and media, and others of the same nature.
Factors such as geography and the organizational age of the agency and the district where it is located also pose influence on the organization. How the hierarchy is shaped and the method on how policies are formalized also provides the degree of complexity an organization has.
Technically, the organizational structure of law enforcement agencies adhere to a vertical structure wherein unsolvable problems encountered in one level are referred to a higher level in the hierarchy. Unfortunately, these are at times carried to excessive practice as discretion or responsibility is thrown to the next level even when it can already be solved at the source, thereby impeding progress.
The police’s organizational design has gone through many experimental approaches wherein a lot of these models are found to be efficient and effective. Some examples are the split-force patrol, directed patrol, and the saturation patrol. These were found to have lowered the costs, increased the productivity and positive results, and gained improved relations between the police force and the community. However, the police force a times focuses more on developing community relations than on enhancing the efficiency of their organization primarily through empowering employees so that decision can be immediately implemented and results gained.