Law Enforcement – Purpose
The purpose of law enforcement is to maintain order within the community. The rule of law must be applied equally to all individuals so that it cannot be used to oppress or gain an advantage over others.
Feeling safe in the community and knowing that someone is there to help you if you feel threatened, have been attacked or your property is damaged gives the confidence and peace of mind that societies need to function and flourish.
If the community perceive a law enforcement officer as ineffective or corrupt they can do more harm than good.
Law enforcement is essential for economic productivity as it creates the trust and confidence necessary for people to carry out business transactions knowing that their rights will be protected.
Law Enforcement Officer
According to Sir Robert Peel, the basic mission of the police is ‘to prevent crime and disorder’.
The law enforcement officer’s function is to enforce laws and solve criminal or other acts which are in breach of the law. They search for evidence, interrogate suspects and make arrests. They also play an important role in caring for the community and supporting citizens when in distress; such as helping a lost child.
Law enforcement officials shall at all times fulfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession. United Nations
Law enforcement officers are appointed by the community or elected officials.
Law Enforcement Officers’ Duties and Conduct
Officers’ duties vary between countries, states and areas but in general all law enforcement officers:
- Have the right to exercise police powers over others, including powers of arrest or detention
- Will assist members of the community when they are in need of assistance in an emergency
- Must protect human dignity and uphold the human rights of all persons
- May use force but only when strictly necessary in the performance of their duty
- Must maintain confidentiality where necessary
- Will not inflict, instigate or tolerate any form of torture, punishment or treat others in an inhuman or degrading way
- Protect the health of those in their custody
- Will not commit any act of corruption
- Shall respect and uphold the law at all times.
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