Traditional and Evolving Police Organizational Structures
An organization is typically a structure built with the aim of carrying out certain tasks and basis its operation on firm sets of rules, policies and procedures. Police organizational structures are therefore built with the aim of law enforcement in terms of maintaining law and order on legal grounds.
Traditional police organization, though considered ineffective today, played a major role in maintaining law and order in the recent and past years. However, the structure was basically one or very few police officers covering a given area or region. The individual with which the mandate was granted was given the power and legal authority to do anything it took to maintain peace in their area. In cases where more than one police officer was allocated in one area, they would work together towards the aim of maintaining law and order. This gave the officers more work load and pressure because if anything went wrong in their area it was upon them to solve it. As a result of the pressure they were subjected to, a considerable number of officers in the organizational structure lost concentration and would avoid some cases or pay less attention to some. In addition, it led to poor service to the public and the officers in charge would not carry out their tasks as efficiently as they were supposed to.
Due to this, the police have been forced to adapt traditional police organizational structures and improve certain aspects about them in order to be able to accommodate the changing face of the society. With increase and complicacy in crime, changes have been made in police organizations for instance, in the way they run, manage, organize and structure their departments. Increasing the overall number of police officers and introducing departments in the police structural organization is a step that has been implemented to make up for the change in the society. Public expectations have changed the police from crime fighters and law enforcement agents as in the recent past to problem solvers. Therefore respective administrators are obliged to modify their organizational structures so as to meet and gratify their mission statements and also to be ready and able to carry out upcoming tasks. Executive heads possessing formal power and capability to fulfill the department’s goals as well as to delegate some of their power to their subordinates. They should have the ability to devise an incorporated model of organization that is able to merge both the traditional organizational set up and the evolving one in a way that both of them can work hand in hand.
In contrast, both the traditional organizational structure and the evolving organizational structure are headed by one overall person who coordinates the working of the police force. They ensure fair, efficient and effective operation of their stations so that they give the best results to the public they serve. Both structures are also organized in a manner that gives power and authority in a hierarchical set up. In that a police officer reports to the one above them who then analyses the information and passes it on to their supervisor. This ensures a continued and steady flow of information on all the cases brought to them. On the other hand, this turns out to be a major way for loss of information as it is passed up the organizational structure. However, the traditional organizational structure tends to put more pressure on the police officers because of their reduced number. Compared to the evolving organizational structure that evenly distributes the work load among the many officers, the traditional structure was more demanding on the officers.
Therefore as much as the evolving police organizational structures are improving on the traditional ones, keen and close observation should be upheld so as to better the organization and at the same time offer effective services to the vast society.
Shearing, C. (1981). Organizational Police Deviance Its Structure and Control. Butterworth Pub
O’Connell, P., & Straub, F. (2007). Performance-Based Management for Police Organizations.