This essay recounts on the issues of policing in diverse communities. It describes the challenges and perspectives of policing in a diversely cultured community. Social identities such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and ability have all along influenced policing within diverse communities. The essay compares different perceptions, practices and case studies of policing in diverse communities. It analyzes the effects of multiculturalism as a public policy in shaping policing in diverse communities. It also addresses on the possible efficient ways which police agencies can adopt to deal with policing challenges in diverse communities.
Social identities such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political affiliation, religious affiliation and ability have long dictated perceptions and provision of services and facilities in the world. Racial profiling emerged to the fold in the middle of the 1990s because of practices that the police were using to identify offenders. Police agencies had thought these methods were efficient in combating crime. However, minority groups spelled new concerns. The thought the police were prejudicing them on account of their social groups. (Kleinig & Risse, 2007) This evoked the concept of racial profiling. The September 11th attacks of the America World Trade Centre further triggered racial profiling. Police agencies thought they had to be more vigilant on given social identities that people perceive to be more subject to committing a crime.
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Thus, policing in the community has been one of the services affected by social identities. Proponents of the profiling strategy in policing claim that it is difficult to police in diverse and multicultural societies. This is people tend to link membership to a given social identity to the tendency to commit a crime. They argue that it is in order for police to grant exceptional security focus to members of a given social identity based on the projected probability to commit a crime.
There are contrasting theoretical perspectives, practices and examples of policing in diverse societies. The common social identities used are class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, language, religion, political affiliation and ability. For instance, police stops have long been controversial among minority communities. African-Americans have cried foul of unnecessary police stops. People perceive that African Americans have a high probability of police stopping them. A report by the Bureau of Justice statistics on public-police contact survey revealed, “individuals of the black race had more probability of police stopping them than whites and Hispanics” (Weirder & Tuch, 2002)
In addition, majority of whites view blacks as more prone to committing a crime and violence. They argue that the police justification to be more vigilant on surveilling blacks than whites because they are more likely to commit a crime. However, racially motivated police stops can evoke mistrust between the police and the race that is the main target.
Social class also emerges as another parameter of police profiling. Reports indicate that lower class African Americans are more critical of the police than high class African Americans. Surveys have indicated negative views on police by the middle class. This could indicate the differences in policing strategies. Negative views on police could imply that they perceive unfair treatment from police agencies.
On the social identity of gender, studies done on women and justice reveal that female police officers were far less likely to use extreme measures of force than their male colleagues. This survey also reveals that, in police application of force, women officers are not subject to social identity profiling. People perceive the female gender police as free of profiling. (Trill, 2004)
Different ethnic and racial communities in the world have diverse relations with the police. The basis of these relations is on how these communities may perceive the treatment of the police. The relationship could be negative if the race may consider police actions profiling. However, one can note and survey that profiling happens. For instance, for many African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, and Asian Americans, profiling incidents are common and have come to be known as DWBs--Driving While Black. (Meeks, 2000).
Marginalized groups have also developed tense relations with police agencies. They perceive that police stereotype on them. (Keenan, 2011)
The relationship between children of color is at risk as police agencies prejudice them out of tutorial room and into the young justice structure. “Procedures and practices that subsidize to this drift can be abridged as a tube with many entrance points, from under-resourced K-12 community schools, to misuse of zero-tolerance deferrals and dismissals and to the burst of policing and arrests in government schools.” (Kim, 2012)
The policy of multiculturalism has affected and shaped relationships in policing diverse communities. This policy entails recognition of diverse cultures in police agencies. This policy has eased the relations between the communities and people. The perception that police are profiling weakens the authority of police agencies. Therefore, the policy of multiculturalism targets to restore lost trust in police agencies. The establishment of social order can improve relations and sensitivities between civil people and the police.
The policy has also reduced stereotyping on races. For instance, multiculturalism has assisted police agencies in in California to respond to a minority populace that is half of their community population. The policy has brought up a unique model that has worked to make the communities work well with police agencies. (S. Kelly, 2007)
The multicultural policy has proved an indispensable instrument in improving the association between police and diverse communities. Preparing police agencies on how to handle different social identities in certain situations makes a crucial impact on how these social groups perceive and relate with the police. (S. Kelly, 2007)
Police agencies can effectively respond to the challenges of policing diverse communities by using various strategies. For instance, “increasing the number of minority social groups can also restore the trust of those who feel prejudiced by police treatment. Increasing the diversity of police will improve the community and police relations.” (Brown & Frank, 2006) This will help to reduced subjective behaviour against minority social groups.
Diversification of police departments is also vital in responding to challenges of policing diverse communities. Minority group officers may improve the perception of the department among the community. The community can have the view of the police as a racial composition of community hence develop a sense of belonging to the police agency.
A public enlightenment initiative on the role of the police can also be essential in addressing policing challenges in the context of a diverse community. The approach for remedying profiling should be civil and non-confrontational.
Some of the police racial profiling actions include stopping minority groups for security searches, detention of members of a given social group or violent arrest of targeted identity. The main factor in decision making is racial distinction.
Policing agencies should be equally concerned with public perceptions on policing even in the absence of racially biased policing. Other social identities such as language, skin color, political affiliation and religion may further influence policing in diverse communities. Communities of a given language, skin color, political affiliation or religion my feel unfair treatment by police agencies.
These perceptions influence the trust of citizens on the police institutions. The influence of diversity has widened. Different social groups may perceive police actions as profiling. This can ultimately undermine trust of police. It is thus necessary to check that the diverse communities’ perception is positive. ( Diversity, 2010)
In many parts of the world, the relationship between the police agencies and minority ethnic communities has been sensitive. The main reason is the failure to interrogate crimes against people from minority ethnic communities fairly and the view that police agencies are unresponsive and unaccountable to minority communities. Recruitment of police officers from minority ethnic communities has been one of the radical proposals to end police profiling. Nonetheless, profiling by social identity persists. Indeed, although proposals and policies to promote diversity may have eased the problem, it still reflects in many police agencies. It is crucial to review the perceptions of the people, for police agencies to respond to them accordingly. Positive public perceptions on police agencies can increase the authority of the institution.
“Optimists see diversity as the chance to create a hub where distinct groups contribute to the culture with unique attributes, within a context of unity and respect. However, skeptics refer to ethnic and racial violence in the developing world as evidence of unsuccessful diversity. The rising diversity in American contributes to need for urgency in addressing concerns of policing.” (Perez, 2003)
In conclusion, policing in diverse communities has drawn different controversies. Police have employed racial profiling in managing multicultural societies. This has been like this since people believe that some races are more prone to commit a crime than others. It is a decision based on race. However, some minority groups feel subjected by police when summoned to respond to queries. The society cannot give up on the bid to stop racial profiling.
The conveyance of policing should not be substandard for some social groups and not others. Survey results point out that ‘whites’ tend to have a more satisfying interaction with the police than descendants of Asia and Africa. It is unethical to prejudice policing by use of social identity. This causes constraints in relationship between police and minority groups. Labels of black people have been more unswerving in that people assume that they are more disposed to ferocious delinquency. Policies should be adopted to foster better relations between police agencies and diverse communities.
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