Enforcement of the law was originally not initialized at the national level by the government but rather at the local level in the United Kingdom that is, law enforcement began from the communal level. As time went, the police department gradually went through changes attributable to the country’s constitution that shifted administration from the local level to the national level through United Kingdom government (Crawford, 2017). The duty of the police force is to safeguard assets and people, instituting harmony and eliminating crime. In Britain, the police force acted for the welfare of the general public. The public had great confidence in the force based on the clarity and openness of their department in safeguarding the citizens. Issues in the department started arising during the Thatcher period of ruling especially during the eighty’s period. The British police force has always acted on behalf and for the welfare of the entire nation through countless obstacles.

During the early eighties, the confidence levels on the policing department were high with a rating of over eighty percent but with time have gradually dropped to less than seventy percent in a thirty-year span.

Before the eighties, the public had profound trust in the department. Interviews carried out in the early sixty’s showed that more than eighty-three percent of the population interviewed trusted and had confidence in policing.

The fall of the trust ratings in the twentieth century was attributed to Britain’s social conflicts that erupted between the police department and the miners in the city. The fall in the ratings can also be attributed to the United Kingdom’s having a difference with its central authority.

There have been drastic changes in the public’s opinion on the police department since the eighty’s. Policing had greatly reduced crime rates in the streets but raising racism in the public domain. Looking at the Scarman report, the riot was initiated by the black community against the department. Other issues initiating the tensions included the department’s authority level, their duties, public brutality, racism, politics, governance and investigations.

Police problems


The United Kingdom’s policing department is given certain authority to enhance execution of their roles. The fundamental roles of the police department in Britain include safeguarding the citizen and their assets, instituting and maintaining harmony, identification and prevention of crime (Bailey, 2015). Recently, there have been reports of reduced arrests and reduced manpower in the policing department in Britain. The crime rates are increasing greatly as there were great numbers of investigations to be carried out and unsought crimes. The criminal database has been greatly mishandled with wanted criminals missing from the system. The policing department has therefore failed in meeting its duty of safeguarding the welfare of the general public.

Public order policing and use of brute force

Public order policing refers to the reactions of the policing department towards the citizens in cases of disorders. It prioritizes the modes used and methods implemented to combat and reduce public violence and destruction (Brewer, 2016). Public order policing aims at mitigating vandalism, theft and violence. Sometimes the strategy used is likely to inflict harm on the public. It might be by the law but might affect those who likely had no ill intention of attending the riots and demonstrations.

The citizens’ confidence has been impacted by massive public tensions which have always resulted in conflicts. During violent eruptions, the police are faced with dilemmas in carrying out their roles as outlined in the constitution. They find difficulty in determining the amount of force to subject to the rioters (King, 1996).

In case the officers fail in subjecting the appropriate force to the demonstrators, they may be judged by the law itself (Della Porta, 1998). The officers need to abide by the law in dealing with the rioters. This is because some of the demonstrators have pure intentions and only mean to communicate their issues. Other rioters in the movement might have ill-fated intentions for instance vandalism, theft or even violence. For instance, the G20 London protests arose in the London summit in the year 2009. The protest was primarily initiated by economic issues, terrorism, the banking financial framework and its employee’s salaries and benefits. Despite the peaceful demonstration, the police force used greater force to mitigate violence occurrence and vandalism by arresting some individuals. The protest resulted in the death of Ian Tomlinson.

In the case of the England 2011 riots, many individuals protested in the city of England and London. The protest gradually evolved into vandalism, pilferage and chaos. Great police deployments were initiated resulting intro massive arrests and demise of several citizens.

The Brixton protests initiated a great damage in Brixton, and as a result, the Scarman report had to be outlaid to initiate and generate recommendations to curb the disorder generated. The report found racial discrimination existence evidenced by the stop and search policy misused by t5he police on the black community. The police carried out massive detentions, arrests and penalties. They failed to consult the general community pertaining their operations. The locals had no confidence in the police force. The Scarman report emphasized on dynamisms on training initiatives and enrolment of the minute races into the policing department. This would significantly help in reducing racial discrimination to a higher margin.

The Criminal Law Act, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and common law are used by the police reasonably for instance where there is full permission by the law and where the amount of force being implied is reasonable and allowed by the law so that there is no excess force which can be termed as unlawful.

Policing and Racism

In the United Kingdom, most black people are never shot down in the streets but are left to die in the hands of officers who are neglectful. This also shows that the system of justice is not commendable at all since racism should be discouraged in all circumstances (Gordon, 1983).

In the case of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in an attack termed racist, has had long-term effect on the attitudes relating to racism in Britain which has hence triggered chance in the public sector. The police who investigated the death of Stephen was judged for incompetence in their professions and have thus struggled to keep up the pace and change for the better.

The parents of Stephen took more than five years of campaigning and protesting before they were given justice and investigation was undertaken regarding their son’s death. As much as it took a long time for them, there were laws finally created towards discrimination. This has, in turn, created change in the British cultural change towards race in the nation.

The Powers of Police

Searching without arrest

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act have been used as a corrective measure to the problems about the powers given to the police department (Gilling, 2014). The ‘sus’ law was being used and allowed the police to stop, search and could arrest a person being suspected without any warrant. However, there was unfairness in the implementation of this law especially towards the black community which caused rioting which led to the repulsion of the sus law. This, therefore, means that the search cannot be implemented on a person by an officer. The constable must first show his warrant card or state to be one to search a person.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act has therefore been instituted as a legislative framework for the control of powers of the police in such a way that there are minimization and curb of crimes in England and provides codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.  The Act brings equilibrium between the powers of the police and the rights and freedoms of the general in England and Wales. There are freedoms that each should enjoy in a democratic nation which are referred to as civil liberties for example freedom of expression and freedom of association (Holdaway, 2017).

Police governance and accountability

Police accountability prioritizes the oversight of the policing department. It answers the questions of who overlooks the activities of the police.  Reliable officers are a fundamental element in the proper governance of a state. The officers are endowed with authority which if deployed to others can amount to a crime. They can instigate their authority to deny others freedom. Misuse of powers by the police can cause harm and pose a danger to the general public. In Britain during the eighty’s, accountability on the officers was a burning issue (Lister, 2015). This resulted due to the statements uttered by some officers pertaining sexuality and religion. Also, deaths of individuals arrested by the police and those murdered during riots called for greater accountability during the seventies. Transparency and accountability are both managed by the HMIC and the independent police complaint commission.

The HMIC overlooks the duties and performances of the officers to the public. The commission can also delegate the investigation role to another officer not in the force if it enhances efficiency and performance.

On the other hand, the independent police complaints commission overlooks any appeals coming from individuals who feel their complaints have not been addressed fully. Therefore, both the independent police complaints commission and the HMIC look at the welfare of the public and should, therefore, work hand in hand in carrying out this role.


Presently, the policing situation in the United Kingdom needs certain reforms in its framework to ensure effectiveness. The gap between the community and the police department has instituted difficulty over the years. In the past, the officers have been using brute force in trying to manage protests and mitigate violence. This resulted in deaths which also generated human rights movements on the force. Also, the policing department has in the past inflicted racial discrimination on some of its citizens, especially from the black community. They have implemented policies meant to enhance security inappropriately on the black people. The British policing authority has also failed in instituting transparency in its performance. Some o the individuals arrested were killed in custody and others murdered in riots. Originally, the police acted as a pillar of integrity where all members of the community derived confidence and trust. Since the eighties, this gradually reduced on the emergence of the issues. The members of the society no longer have complete trust in the system. If the policing department neglects the recommendations outlaid before it, the entire security system in Britain is likely to be privatized rather than provided by the government.

Investigations take a long time to be carried out and arrests today are minimized meaning the crime rate gradually increases. The police manpower has greatly reduced depicting that patrolling cannot cover all sectors of the state. Management of the criminal database has also not been handled appropriately meaning that the security system has no reliability. The policing department needs to check out all these weak points and try to create a relationship with the public. This will go a great way to getting better information and reducing the tension between the two.








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Gordon, P., 1983. White law: Racism in the police, courts and prisons (p. 33). London: Pluto Press.

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Gilling, D., 2014. Reforming police governance in England and Wales: Managerialisation and the politics of organisational regime change. Policing and Society, 24(1), pp.81-101.

Lister, S. and Rowe, M., 2015. Electing police and crime commissioners in England and Wales: prospecting for the democratisation of policing. Policing and Society, 25(4), pp.358-377.

Brewer, J.D., Wilford, R., Guelke, A., Hume, I. and Moxon-Browne, E., 2016. The police, public order and the state: policing in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, the USA, Israel, South Africa and China. Springer.

Holdaway, S., 2017. The re-professionalization of the police in England and Wales. Criminology & Criminal Justice, p.1748895817690214.

Crawford, A. and Evans, K., 2017. Crime prevention and community safety (pp. 797-824). Oxford University Press.

Bailey, V. ed., 2015. Policing and punishment in nineteenth-century Britain (Vol. 1). Routledge.


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