Challenges facing contemporary law enforcement: Enhancing public confidence and trust in the police by icorporating the ‘Left Realism’ theory of justice into modern criminal justice policies and practices

auteur James F. Albrecht
tijdschrift EJPS (ISSN: 2034-760X)
jaargang Volume 5
aflevering Special issue: Changes in policing to improve service delivery
onderdeel Articles
publicatie datum 16 juni 2018
taal English
pagina 10
keywords crime victims, critical criminology, police community relations, police misconduct

Does the ‘left realism’ theory of justice, which acknowledges the importance of crime prevention, but
supports the increased involvement of the public and victims in the criminal justice process, pose an
option for policy makers to consider for ensuring that crime declines continue and that public trust
and confidence in the police can improve? Many police organizations in western democracies have
experienced reductions in street and violent crime rates over the last two decades. This enhanced
effectiveness, which has been observed in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom
since the mid-1990s, has been correlated with the increased use of technology and the employment
of proactive, arrest-oriented strategies. In many jurisdictions, resources have been transitioned
away from highly touted community policing efforts to investigative and enforcement units. While
many law enforcement experts and administrators have viewed these initiatives as a ‘smarter’ form
of policing, some advocates for predominantly minority neighborhoods have frequently alleged
racial and ethnic bias and other abusive conduct at the hands of the police, most notably in larger
metropolitan centers. The purpose of this paper will be to examine and identify practical options
for direct community and victim engagement after highlighting legislation and practices that have
been shown to increase transparency and police legitimacy in some western democracies. The
findings of this review will support the need to enhance public and victim involvement in criminal
justice processes as emphasized within the ‘left realism’ perspective.