Domestic Abuse - Police Scotland
Our study finds some support for the idea that non-physical abuse does go “ under . partners can establish patterns of coercive control in a relationship that can .. forces, officers in the UK research site use the question Domestic Abuse. Audrey Gillan: All Britain's police forces should change their 'behind closed doors ' mindset and recognised that there are so many crimes that can go on in an intimate relationship." As approaches, we would like to ask for your ongoing support. 27 Mar That is a genuine question. the behaviour in question is perpetrated against a child under 16 by someone abuse in a relationship with a British person or settled partner (see UK Visas and . A thorough approach on a first visit may enable police officers to uncover.
Although the police are delegated large powers of investigation and arrest they are very few in number relative to the community. The vast majority of breaches of the law occur outside of the awareness of the police and must be reported to the police before they can be acted on. The process of investigating crimes does not, contrary to the mythology surrounding detective work, generally succeed through the brilliance of detectives, but is to a large extent dependent on the willingness of the public to assist with information and to act as witnesses when the case comes to court.
Public Input into Policing Strategy The need for the public to assist the police as described above is however only one leg of the relationship.
Less often recognised and certainly less developed is the way in which the specific concerns and understanding of the community can impact on and improve the management of policing. The allocation of resources and the selection of priorities is one of the key problems in police management. Under present circumstances the police force are certainly over-extended and choices must be made as to where and how to focus the available resources.
It follows from the principle of police accountability that this should be done on the basis of community concerns and community perceptions. Choosing priorities that relate to the real fears of the community is important in building public confidence in the police, particularly if the community is aware of such choices and the reason for them.
This in turn contributes to the various areas of co-operation identified above. The approach whereby the police decide on their own where their resources should be prioritised often reinforces perceptions that the police are wasting their time on "trivial issues".
Where communities are culturally, socially and economically diverse, input into policing priorities is even more important. It also has implications for the organisation of policing which shall be examined in more detail further on.
Approaches to Policing and the Community Whisenand and Ferguson Public relations is aimed primarily at informing the public and tends to be one-way communication. Public relations is often concerned with the "police image". Police-community relations is aimed at establishing a dialogue with the police. Community policing is a broad term which involves proactive programmes designed to integrate police-community relations with actual police work.
Questions About Consent and Relationships – Galop
The different emphases in these different approaches to police-community interaction are reflective of different perceptions of the proper role of the police in the maintenance of social order, and of the relationship between police and specific and varied communities in society. In order to understand the basis for the different approaches we need to briefly explore the conceptual foundations of different approaches to the police-society relationship and social order.
Defining the Problem The traditional ideal that the police are the public and the public are the police is widely regarded as the underlying principle of modern policing Van Heerden Pike argues that the modern system of policing which originated with the creation of the London Metropolitan Police had as one of its central ideas the notion of "consensus".
Therefore, every member of the force must remember that it is his duty to protect and help members of the public, no less than to bring offenders to justice. Consequently, while prompt to prevent crime and arrest criminals, he must look on himself as the servant and guardian of the general public and treat all law-abiding citizens, irrespective of their race, colour or social position, with unfailing patience and courtesy.
Indeed the nature and powers of modern police agencies may well be considered an anomaly with the ethos of democracy. The central point of their argument is that the police are vested with a great deal of authority and the power to deprive ordinary citizens of their freedoms within a democratic system where these very freedoms are regarded as the basic pillars of society.
Police actions invariably result in the deprivation of the rights of the suspect. The degree to which particular actions on the part of the police are acceptable depends on the communities' own values and norms.
If the police operate outside of the bounds of this "community acceptability" this invariably leads to alienation and even hostility towards the police. This has most often been the case in relation to so-called "minority" or "oppressed" communities.
This is because the dominant groups in society have a different view of what is "acceptable practice" in relation to policing within a particular community to that of the policed community itself. The dynamic and difficult tension between the principles and freedoms embodied in democracy and the nature of policing is perhaps most stark in relation to the authority of the police to use force.
The police are the only agency in society which has the legal right to use force and coercion in the performance of their duties at their own discretion. While the judiciary may impose restrictions on the rights and freedoms of individuals - such as sentences for criminal acts - it is obliged to do this within the context of the due process of law, which allows the accused the opportunity to challenge and cast doubt on the state's version of what actually happened.
The police, however, can go so far as to deprive the individual of life, without the benefit of a rigorous legal procedure. It is ultimately the discretion of the individual police officer which determines whether the freedoms and rights of the individual are transgressed. Where there is discrimination in policing such as in South Africasuch freedoms are routinely transgressed within specific communities, without there necessarily being specific evidence that the individuals who suffer have committed an offence.
The nature of policing is fundamentally antagonistic to those it affects. The enormous power of the police to deprive citizens of their rights and the discretionary nature of police action means that the police tend to be alienated from the community, except where such actions of the police are seen to be of direct benefit to a specific community.
There are two possible responses to this problem. The first is what I shall call the "ideal of consensus", which is based on the implicit assumption that modern policing is conducted on the basis of consensus about the nature of the social order as well as on the way in which the society is policed. The view of the policing role which is based on a societal consensus about law and order is perhaps the dominant view of policing in the western world.
It needs to be understood because of its importance in informing the way that police-community relations are viewed in the South African context. This vision has however been challenged by a number of writers, and is in the process of being reformulated in the light of the trend towards community policing in many parts of the world.
The alternative and emergent view places a lot of emphasis on the diversity of societies and the fact that different communities do not in fact have the same ideals with regard to social order, nor are they generally concerned about the same problems.
It also recognises that historically, the police have reflected and protected the values and interests of the dominant interest groups in society. The Ideal of Consensus The dominant philosophy of policing argues that it is the notion of "policing by consent" which allows the tension between democracy and policing to be accommodated.
According to this view the police are delegated authority and power from the state on the basis of a broad consensus about the nature of the social order to be policed. The democratic process of parliamentary democracy allows citizens to express themselves on the values and norms to be protected. The fact that the police are delegated authority by society means that they are accountable to society for the use of those powers.
It is thus the delegation of authority from the citizenry which underlies the police-community relationship. Transgressions of the individual's freedom can thus only be justified within the context of public support for the methods and practice of policing. Such support is usually held to be dependent on principles such as "proportionality" - whereby the degree of force or severity of punishment is proportional to the seriousness of the alleged offence.
However, this approach views the main channel of police accountability as the state, and to the law which is generally assumed to be fair and unproblematic.
Neither politicians nor pressure groups nor anyone else may tell the police what decisions to take or what methods to employ, whether to enforce the law or not in a particular case, or how to investigate a particular offence.
The exercise of police judgement has to be as independent as the exercise of professional judgement by a doctor or a lawyer. If it is not, the way is open to manipulation and abuse of the law whether for political or for private ends …10 The major problem with this view is that "independence" tends to be assumed to lead to impartiality.
In fact independence of the police does not mean that the police are not tied to political interests. This is particularly clear in the South African context where the police are supposed to be operationally independent, but as it has also been argued in the British context: What must be recognised is that value systems which determine to a large extent the way in which the police make decisions are closely tied to those of the social group to which the police officer belongs.
The influence of the "consensus view" of policing on thinking about police-community relations can also be seen in a number of related concepts and the way they are used in the conventional discourse of police-community relations. The concern with a police image tends to imply that there is an homogeneity in the experience of policing and the social order throughout society.
The notion of the police as operationally independent strengthens the idea, which runs through the policing tradition, that the police are the experts in the field of crime and that their work is beyond the legitimate reach of public influence. The tacit assumption or effect of this philosophy of policing is that the police actively pursue a relationship with the public on their own terms. The unquestioned doctrine of police practice based on impartiality and minimum force is presented to the public as the logical outcome of democratic government and law and order.
As Van Heerden puts it: The favour and approval of the public must be sought at all times, not by pandering to public opinion, but by enforcing the laws with constant and absolute impartiality, giving prompt, individual and friendly service to all members of society regardless of status, social position or national affiliation, being courteous and friendly at all times and being ready to make personal sacrifices in order to save lives.
In American policing the concerns with corruption in the s lead to a trend where the police "relate impersonally with communities" and that the source of police authority was to be found in "criminal law and police professionalism rather than in the political will of the community" Kelling A central feature of the "consensus" notion of policing is that accountability is primarily to "the law".
In addition the "independence" of the police helps to ensure that they are indeed impartial in the way that they relate to the public - and in the process of investigating a crime. This emphasis on independence from political or other undue influence can be related to the emphasis on professional expertise. This however means that the police regard themselves as having the exclusive right to determine the nature of policing. The values and laws of central government the state are also regarded as having a higher moral standing than the views and customs of specific communities.
Beyond Consensus - The "problem" of Community Diversity The alternative view of policing is based on the realisation of the diversity of communities and hence of social order. This view has been articulated by a number of writers on policing, as well as in the reflections of "community" policing practitioners in cities around the world.
The starting point is that society is made up of diverse communities with contrasting and often conflicting interest groups. This makes the nature of the relationship between police and society much more complex. The notion of consensus and historical impartiality in the development of policing is according to Jefferson Police forces, far from being "inherently impartial" generally reflect the dominant interest groups within society Jefferson Writers such as Reiner and in the South African context SteytlerBrogden and Rauch draw attention to the role of police culture in determining the nature of policing.
The centralised and exclusive nature of police accountability both within national police forces and so-called "decentralised" police forces, as well as the important influence of police culture means that the police forces have historically reflected the dominant interests within society.
This analysis is borne out by the "crisis of policing" in much of the western world over the last two decades. In reality one of the main reasons for this crisis is the way in which police forces have reflected and acted in the interests of the dominant groups in society - to the detriment of their relations with and credibility among, so-called "minority" and special interest groups.
This emergent new tradition in policing which I consider to be a more realistic approach to the problem of policing within a diverse democracy is based on a concern for the following areas: Incidentally, some of these concerns seem to be reflected in the concerns surrounding the development of community policing in places like New York City Ref.
New York Strategy document. A history of the police which recognises the partisan origins and the role of the police in protecting certain power relations. The consensus at a parliamentary level which leads to law-making is the product of the dominance of certain interest groups and the law tends to reflect these dominant interests. There is therefore a recognition that the law may be perceived to be at odds with community norms.
Assumption that the police act in terms of who they are - emphasis on police culture as determinant of policing styles, methods and the focus for favourable or discriminatory policing. The notion of the independence of the police forces does not necessarily imply that the police are impartial. There is thus an active concern for the representative nature of policing.
The police must be representative of the community and its values. There is also a concern for the values of the police. Impartiality is relative to the different values and norms within which policing operates.
What is impartial in one community will be perceived to be discriminatory in another. The police have to be attuned to the specific values of the community. Police accountability should include a degree of accountability to the particular community being policed. The Nature of Communities The question of "community" is of great importance here. The term community is often used in the South African context to describe the general population, or racially separate sectors of the citizenry.
But what does "community" actually mean? There are several senses in which the word is used. Wilmot offers three: Indeed the racial divides in terms of residence patterns present a stark dichotomy in the lifestyles and perceptions of policing in the different South African communities. However, even specific geographical "communities" are divided into a range of sub-communities with differing interests, values and needs.
These groups differ in the degree of power which they exercise in the community - some being more marginal or "repressed" than others.
For the purposes of this discussion I will use community to refer to the smallest group with identifiable common interests. Thus a larger "community" may be made up of other "communities": Women, men, youth, the unemployed, particular political allegiances, etc.
Women and men are part of the same community, but in terms of the social order have different interests and are treated in different ways by the police. In reality the status quo as far as the social order in a "community" is concerned is usually defined at any particular point by an equilibrium in the power relations between different sub-communities which make it up. Such power relations are generally dynamic and change leads to a realignment of power between different sub-communities.
Scotland's got it right on domestic abuse: it takes it seriously
An industrial area is a community in a geographical sense, but it may be made up of a "migrant labour community", and a "migrant managerial community" who have a semi-stable relationship which is defined as a "social order".
When the relationship changes a labour dispute for instancethe police may believe that the dispute constitutes a threat to the social order. They may be called on by one sector of the community the managerial sector to protect their interests by arresting "illegal strikers". The police will probably say that they acted impartially. The law might very well agree. But what for the "migrant labour community" is "impartial" police action?
Surely impartial action would be to facilitate the resolution of the dispute social conflict to the satisfaction of all. This example highlights an important feature of communities, namely that impartiality in the context of conflict and differences within communities can only be measured relative to these conflicts. Impartiality is not something that can be abstracted from concrete situations. Communities in conflict The "relative" nature of impartiality is particularly relevant in the light of deep divisions which plague many South African communities.
Community conflicts pose particular problems for efforts by the police to establish sound police-community relations. There is no doubt that the "violence" severely hampers the potential to establish good relations with the community. The police see themselves as being caught in the middle - as a "barrier" between two sides. If a side is "winning" then it will see the police as siding with the other side.
The police see themselves as in a no-win situation - some arguing that it is the parties which need to take the initiative to change the situation. Indeed the structures of the National Peace Accord have, where they are functional, become one of the most important forums for police-community relations. In fact, all these areas have a dominance of one party and a silent acquiescence of those who would rather support the other, or neither party.
The effect of labelling an area as legitimately "IFP" or "ANC" means that the police only relate to the structures of the dominant group. While this is often seen as an acceptable channel for police-community interaction, it may in fact simply serve to encourage the political dominance and "intolerance" of the one side.
A relatively recent development in Natal is the appearance of communities often refugee communities who do not want to be identified with either side. This highlights the fact that basing police-community relations on political structures may in certain communities have the effect of sidelining significant sectors - to the detriment of all concerned.
In the context of the practice of police-community relations, the different perspectives of communities seem to be particularly important. Community leaders who serve on liaison forums may formally represent a community, but they do not necessarily represent the views of all important sectors within the community. The relative importance of such factors depends on the approach to police-community relations which the police base their actions on.
A police force which focuses primarily on "image" and "public relations" is unlikely to be aware enough of the dynamics which I am highlighting, to avoid exacerbating them in their interaction with the community. Towards an Analysis of Police-Community Relations in South Africa The crisis of law and order which we are experiencing is mirrored by what many authors have referred to as "The crisis in policing" in the Anglo-Saxon world. The "crisis" of policing elsewhere is essentially about the failure of relationships, particularly with people who are different, culturally and socially to the dominant group or class in society.
The crisis is also about the development of policing in a technocratic and paramilitary direction which served to isolate the police from the community, and lead to a reliance on the patrol-car and the computer rather than on face on face contact with the people.
More significantly the different communities as described above became more vocal and their concerns and claims of police discrimination came into the public eye, as they gained assertiveness. In many countries this was associated with rapid changes in the demographic make-up of urban communities and the development of greater concern with civil rights, particularly among previously disempowered groups.
Democracy also created the expectation among minority groups that society should offer them the same freedoms and rights as those enjoyed by the dominant groups. In essence the police had not seen the need to pay special attention to these groups and as a result relations worsened.
In Britain the Scarman Report highlighted the loss of confidence in the police by certain sections of the community, and particularly the hostility directed towards the police by many young blacks. It was also noted that the police, by virtue of their specialist skills and their own codes of behaviour, were risking becoming "set apart from the rest of the community".
Police Science emphasises the importance of various social-psychological processes such as perception, attitudes and stereotyping.
Basically the police-community relationship is a form of inter-group relations, as both police and community regard each other as identifiable groups with specific characteristics. Attitudes and perceptions from both police and community tend to be collectively influenced, and experiences of the other group lead to stereotypes being formed.
Stereotypes are a set of generalisations about out-groups which enable the individual to categorise people into this or that group.
As is the case with inter-group relations more generally, attitudes tend to be modified in such a way that the "social identity" of the in-group remains favourable relative to the out-group Ref Tajfel. Stereotypes of "other groups" tend to be more negative than the set of generalisations about the in-group.
As with all inter-group relations the most positive effects on negative stereotypes arise from positive experiences of the out-group. The effects of inter-group dynamics can also be minimised if both groups perceive themselves to have something in common, as opposed to the features of a third group the criminal element. The social-psychological approach to police-community relations does suggest a number of points about the way in which the two groups police and community should relate to each other.
These are mentioned in the concluding section of the paper. While these are obviously important they can only be meaningfully understood within the historical development of the police and the kinds of factors which influence the formation of attitudes and stereotypes. The starting point is the historical development of policing in South Africa and its differential relationship with different communities.
Historical Background Police-community relations have historically developed within the discriminatory context of apartheid and colonial conquest. The early development of policing was military in nature and placed the early "police forces" in an antagonistic relationship with indigenous peoples, whom the early settlers had conquered.
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But in Scotland domestic abuse is taken seriously. The groundbreaking Domestic Abuse Task Force that arrested the laughing suspect was launched in Strathclydea force area now merged with eight others into the unified Police Scotland. An elite unit of investigators, it was the first team of its kind in the UK to specifically tackle domestic abuse in the same way that detectives would a homicide.
It took a radical approach to serious and serial domestic attackers, and aimed to stop them in their tracks by investigating all aspects of criminal lifestyle. One of its high-profile cases was that of Joseph Loughran52, who was given a year sentence for a year campaign of violence and domestic abuse against his partners.
He choked his victims, burned them with cigarettes, cut them with knives and beat them unconscious. Now, there are three such teams in Scotland — in the north, east and west — with smaller, local domestic abuse investigation units in the 14 divisions. Police Scotland's website has an online form for reporting domestic abuse, which is prefaced with the note: Above all, you are not alone and you don't need to suffer in silence.
Help is available to you. In Scotland, the term "domestic violence" is no longer in use and is referred to officially as "domestic abuse" because verbal attack and controlling behaviour can be used to subjugate a victim to the perpetrator's will. As chief constable of the then Strathclyde force, Sir Stephen House was passionate about domestic abuse, speaking out about horrendous figures showing that the crime escalated in the wake of clashes between Rangers and Celtic.
Then, taking on his new mantle as chief of the new Scotland-wide force, he reaffirmed that domestic abuse was a police priority. Last Christmas, he delivered a video warning to offenders: It's not a private matter.