Policing and criminal justice systems literature reviews examples


There are various approaches to the conduct of work in the criminal justice system. Due to this, there are different methods that police officers and other law enforcement authorities work and cooperate in order to detect, investigate and prosecute offenders in the country. This literature review will critically evaluate groundbreaking definitions and various theories and concepts relating to problem oriented policing and the research and evaluation systems or approaches in the criminal justice system.

Section 1: Problem-Oriented Policing

There are different definitions of the concept of problem-oriented policing. “ Problem-oriented policing is more concerning with solving a particular problem and having an outcome”. This implies that problem-oriented policing is about identifying a specific matter or issue that affects the society and dealing with it through a proactive approach. Problem-oriented policing is a form of preventive policing which seeks to formulate a strategy that enables the police to use different approaches and methodologies to detect and deal with a given class of offences.
Therefore, in applying the concept of problem-oriented to the context of illegal drugs, it can be said to be an approach through which the police will formulate a strategy that will enable them to detect the movement of drugs, the distribution and usage of drugs. Through this approach, they will be able to identify problem spots and integrate proactive measures to prevent the distribution and usage of these illegal substances.
Some authorities view the concept of problem-oriented policing to be the direct opposite of incident-based policing. This implies that problem-oriented policing is about a broad range of strategies, approaches and the gathering and utilization of intelligence as a means to avoid various forms of crimes. This is opposed to an incident-based system whereby the police only react when something bad occurs. Thus, in the context of illegal drugs, an incident-based approach will be one in which people will be arrested if and only if they are found. However, problem-oriented policing will relate to the blocking and prevention of the drugs from getting to people who might be victims of the abuse of the substance.

Section 2: Research and Evaluation in Criminal Justice

The criminal justice system comes with its own dynamics and components that either supports or rejects the idea and concept of the problem-oriented policing. There are numerous dual theories and concepts relating to the criminal justice system. Criminal justice has different objectives and ends that it seeks to attain. Some of them include the need to reform, punish and to isolate troublemakers in order to guarantee a safer society for people who want to get a meaningful life.
In the post World War II period, it was believed that a punitive approach served the best purpose of criminal justice. This led to the creation of tough measures and tough systems through which criminals could be tracked down and made to face justice. However, in the past two decades, there has been a trend whereby other constructive methods are instituted to ensure that crime is detected and dealt with according to appropriate principles and standards. This trend seem to indicate that there is a better emphasis on preventing people from committing offenses than punishing them for what they do.


In the general sense, policing exists to prevent people from committing crime and protect the civilian population of a nation. The police are trained to have relevant skills and competencies to detect and deter crime in various settings and situations by investigating and identifying solutions to problems before they get out of hand.
The police have a primary duty of protecting the citizens as a part of the national security agenda. The elements of a free society indicate that the rights of the citizens and the rights of the victims as well as perpetrators of crime are protected in the operation of the activities of the police.
Some authorities argue that the essence of policing has changed with the need for the police to protect civilians through a democratic system. Thus, there is a trend towards preventive and intelligence-led policing which seeks to get the police to gather information, strategize and prevent crime. This provides the impetus for the creation of a process whereby police officers are given the primary obligation to use various techniques to prevent people from being involved in crime. Hence, the police will have to use a process and a system that will detect and deal with people who are planning to commit crime. This prevents the concentration of criminal networks and systems as a means of promoting safety in the society.

Law Enforcement

The criminal justice system exists as a preserve of the society and the community and it seeks to create a penal code or process through which people who commit offences classified as crimes can be arrested and handled. The police play a central role in enforcing the criminal justice code because they are at the fore front of investigating, detecting and arresting offenders in order to present them through due process.
Law enforcement is part of a procedural system whereby people are arrested and charged before the law for various crimes that are committed against the society. Therefore, there is a general framework through which the police play a role at the forefront of dealing with the process of arresting, detention and trial of persons involved in crime.
However, the evolution of society and the presentation of new structures under democracy and rule of law indicates that the police will need to find innovate and better ways of enforcing the law. One of these approaches is the trend towards crime reduction in law enforcement.

Crime Reduction

Evidence in police history theories indicate that in the 21st century, the emphasis of policing has shifted from a general punitive system to a community-based policing system. This is a more personalized security system which is in contrast with the national-oriented system of policing whereby broad lines were drawn to increase policing on certain classes of people in the country as a means of reducing the crime perpetrated against certain classes of people. An example of the United States is cited by Wilson and Petersilia who argued that in the pre-2000 period, the United States’ criminal justice system was based on a process whereby communities of African-American and Latino dwellers were broadly classified as a group of people who were policed more critically and thoroughly than other parts of the country. This was based on a system where the police had a preconceived notion of minorities being at the forefront of crime. Hence, they were targeted in a blanket campaign to protect the White majority from their “ aggressions” and “ crime”.
However, the growth in community policing meant that the local police units were given the power to carry out various processes and activities that were meant to protect the civilians through a critical review of the realities of the community or society. The local community had the following obligations in community policing:
– Audit local crime and disorder problems;
– Identify their sources;
– Develop appropriate strategies of reducing them;
– Regular monitoring and evaluation of crime reduction strategies
Through this approach, the police in a given local jurisdiction could create a proactive approach that can be used to detect criminal trends and the institution of appropriate strategies that will detect and prevent these crimes. This created “ Crime Reduction Programs” that involved the cooperation of various stakeholders who could carry out various actions and activities through which they could detect issues. This also provided a proactive strategy to monitor the system and provide an important framework for the control of these crimes.
Evidence shows that proactive methods and community policing meant to reduce crime have led to a drastic reduction in the rate of incarceration in the United States. This has culminated in the detection and prevention of people from indulging in crime.

Section 3: Application of Research and Evaluation in Problem-Oriented Policing to Illegal Drug Control

The traditional approach to fighting drug trafficking, distribution and usage was to use a punitive system whereby a strict liability was imposed on persons involved in any of these aspects of drug usage and abuse. This implies that there will be the absence of all checks. And anyone found to possess drugs or importing drugs is to be arrested and processed for trial. In the trial, the main essence of the law enforcement system is to ensure that such a person is made to either pay a fine or go into incarceration as a means of deterring members of the society and also punishing perpetrators of this drug trade. This was the main focus and end of the “ War on Drugs” which was perpetrated in the United States in the 1980s.
However, this approach came with numerous issues. First of all, detection was problematic because the police relied on the punishment as a means of deterring perpetrators of drug offences. This was not effective because there were many ways people could conduct drug affairs without being detected. Secondly, the process came at a higher cost since more people were to be put behind bars for drug offences at the expense of the state. Finally, the effectiveness of the system was questionable because most offenders who were incarcerated went back to jail.
The new approach of community-based crime reduction means that every community going through challenges with drugs had to find a way of proactively detecting how drugs come into the community and how they are distributed to members of the community. Hence, the police had to evaluate and critically assess the state of affairs.
Once implemented, there must be a proactive method of monitoring and controlling the system in order to ensure that the system is reviewed and changed as and where necessary. This will lead to a better method of preventing crime and also protecting the citizens of the society. Additionally, vulnerable members of the society can be converted to guards who will rise up against the offences and cooperate to promote a better society.


Policing is meant to provide a central role in law enforcement. Law enforcement is a method through which a system of enforcing penal codes and criminal law can be attained. Law enforcement in the past was based on a punitive approach meant to provide deterrence. However, a trend towards protecting civilian rights and preventing crimes and offences has led to the creation of a problem-oriented method for the conduct of investigations and criminal law. This provides a system through which community based methods are instituted to detect trends in the community and develop an appropriate strategy to deal with these issues. This culminates in the creation of an appropriate framework for the early detection and appropriate action to prevent crime.


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