A Softer Approach to Policing

(This is a current extract from the Patterns of Power Repository.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition02/5253.htm)

As new pressures arise, there is a tendency to introduce new restrictions on people’s liberty.  An alternative approach is to encourage the police to make more use of their status as figures of authority to give troublemakers a 'good ticking off' which, in effect, amounts to using the Moral Dimension of governance.  It would be applying moral influence rather than creating the confrontational situation that is inevitably associated with the formal recording of a crime.  Historically this version of policing was encouraged, as in the television programme 'Dixon of Dock Green', but that image is now widely seen as outdated and it might not even be possible in today’s society.[1]  Some form of softer approach, though, might be better than a continued escalation of policing and surveillance – which are a threat to the civil liberties that the police should be trying to protect.

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014                                                 

[1] A review on the Television Heaven website, made these comments:

“'Dixon of Dock Green' was the final representative of a moralistically paternalistic Britain, whose decline had arguably begun in the immediate aftermath of World War II. In the harsh and cynical television world of the new breed of coppers such as 'The Sweeney's' Jack Regan, George Dixon's era had become as extinct as the dinosaur. But like all dinosaurs it was representative of the values and outlooks of the age that spawned it.”

This review was available in May 2014 at http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/shows_di_to_du.htm.