Government Policing and Its Unique Challenges


National governance comprises a number of inter-reliant aspects that affect the government directly or indirectly and policing has its imperative space in governance. The rising demand to manage the growing population amidst high insecurity across nations is putting individuals, policymakers, and governments into endless commitments (Raymond et al. 2). Presumably, none of the modern nations across the world is unfamiliar with the growing demand for providing national security through government policing and the unique challenges that it presents. As confirmed in several international studies, policing has a long history of providing human security with numerous challenges recorded in the course of commitments. Police departments have consistently suffered from several challenges that include social, legal, and economic factors in providing law enforcement services as well as internal matters such as management lapses, organizational culture, recruitment and retention, and ethical concerns. National security concerns are increasing, as police issues are overlooked. This paper explores government policing in the context of major challenges encountered in the police department.

Modern law enforcement challenges to the police

With the rising levels of insecurity beyond government’s control as earmarked by boarders regarded as porous, highly suave insurgents, weaponry proliferation with other aspects being of international concern like terrorism, the police department remains one of the most challenged government sectors (Raymond et al. 4). The US media, state, communities, and visitors all depend on the nonpartisan police department to reinforce security and ensure that law enforcement works without failure. While media, communities, and even the federal governments demand exemplary service from the police, little remains noticed on the pressure that police are undergoing to ensure that human security prevails. As Plant and Scott postulate, “When the citizenry is not, and does not feel, reasonably safe, other critical local government functions such as economic development, government finance, public education, stable housing, and basic local government services become that much more difficult to provide” (1). In a concomitant practical working scenario, police always consider protecting and caring for the civilians and at the same time committed to dealing with law offenders in the same milieu.

Economic challenges

Finance is the mover of every key government function and public safety is one of the major concerns that require economic wellbeing of any country to remain successful. The police department entails protecting civilians, national interests, and national properties (Batts et al. 7). The police department of most nations across the world has been one of the most overlooked departments despite its risky engagements. In the US, despite being fairly among the most developed nations, the police department has suffered economic deficits for several decades. While the US continues to face economic downturns as presently witnessed, police budgeting has been a critical issue in the management of the police department (Scott 3). Crime prevention and law enforcement, which are the primary roles of the police department, are thus becoming a challenge for the US police.

Coupled with the events of political and financial corruptions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the police department, major US cities have continued to suffer financial crunches. Since then, “police lost a significant portion of their financial support, which had been increasing or at least constant over the years, as cities found themselves in fiscal difficulties” (Kelling and Moore 9). New York was an example of the cities that immediately began facing financial cutbacks that consequently brought fiscal challenges to the present decades. Contemporary crime prevention in the US is facing challenges especially when the country is undergoing financial crunches. Keeping the police department armed with sophisticated armaments to deal with highly suave criminals effectively, get modest payments, and ensure enhanced working conditions, have been critical challenges for the US government (Plant and Scott 10). From history after losing public and state confidence during political and financial corruption, the US police department has reported low remuneration and payments.

Since its loss of trust and confidence from citizens, diplomats, and politicians, the American urban police started facing stiff service provision from private security companies and community crime-control initiatives (Kelling and Moore 9). Government funding, despite the termed reforms in the US, has been considerably low, which has affected crime prevention and law enforcement in the police departments. Currently, the American government is undergoing economic instabilities and reports have indicated that one of the most affected departments is the police sector. Under the depressed economy, police have reported poor working conditions and low financial motivation, which have significantly affected their performance effectiveness in crime prevention (Batts et al. 7). The police department’s main activity during law enforcement and crime prevention involves investigation of criminal activities, inspecting crime-related events, and analyzing criminal issues that consume considerable finances. Crime fighting in the US entails highway patrols, foot patrols, and many other essential activities that require a significant amount of money to ensure they persist.

Crime prevention and law enforcement in the US have been calling for a deeper understanding of legal principles that govern the police mandate in the course of their duties (Raymond et al. 5). The American criminal justice system requires all police officers to adhere to the legal procedures during their commitment in the law enforcement and crime prevention responsibilities. Although being the most autonomous public organization in the United States, police department should respect the regulations governing crime prevention within the federal and the state governments (Raymond et al. 5). One of the legal requirements of the police is to respect the will and dignity of the suspects, despite their cruel approach to the police. American police officers have been reporting undesirable and discourteous approach from criminals as the laws stipulate that individuals are innocent until when justified by the court’s judgment (Raymond et al. 5). Through federal laws and civil statutes, civil law enforcement and state law enforcement require multiple legal procedures that sometimes put police officers at challenges during their work.

The police department works under the legal stipulations of the criminal law, which forms the basic source of the American police legitimacy in their law enforcement and crime prevention strategies (Scott 8). Police are generally law enforcement agencies, which mean that they represent the government judiciary or the Justice department on the ground. With the main goal of the police being controlling crime and criminal apprehension, and using criminal law to deter offenders, contradictions and legal battle fueled by internal politics are ruining crime prevention. As law continues to be the legitimate source of police functions, police continue to receive low appreciation as civilians, criminals, and the state undermine their efficiency. According to Kelling and Moore, “law defines basic police powers, but it does not fully direct police activities in efforts to maintain order, negotiate conflicts, or solve community problems” (11). While dealing with crime like dealing with mobsters and gang groups, the laws are not sufficient to protect their legal sovereignty.

The justice (judiciary) department, which is responsible for law enforcement and deciding whether lawbreakers are guilty or innocent, presents unique challenges to the police department (Raymond et al. 12). The police law enforcement and crime prevention responsibilities are limited under the present federal criminal statues and state regulations, which gives more power to the judiciary department. What the police officer can do best is to undertake investigations on criminal offences caused by law offender and not make judgments on the crimes committed (Kelling and Moore 4). When taken to the law courts, the judiciary department may release the offenders due to lack of enough evidence on the offence committed, disputed investigation reports, or even empowered by the defendants through powerful advocacy. The same criminals leave the courts toll free and become a constant hitch to the national security. The perpetrators cause frustration to the victims, target vengeance to the police officers, threaten the societies, and even cause further criminal problems that affect the competence of the police department.

Social issues faced

Police officers are people bound to sharing professional life as well as social life and for any ordinary police officer under the pressure of protecting civilians and apprehending lawbreakers, balancing these roles has been critical. Police officers act as social public figures, and thus how they relate with the communities, families, and even peers matters and counts to their professional conduct (Batts et al. 2). Apart from enforcement of laws and crime prevention, police are responsible for providing social services that include protecting the welfare of vulnerable groups, the neglected, and the elderly and domestic violence victims. Investigating crime against these vulnerable groups is quite a challenging task for the police officers as the majority of these individuals can barely provide reverent information due to fear or intimidation. Another significant issue normally overlooked by the government is the police officer’s family affairs in the context of professional commitments. Police officers normally suffer silently from overwork and stress as they accord very little time to their families.

Coupled with the shift work program that involves rotational working to ensure that the national security continues to be a priority, police officers’ main challenge comes when handling emergencies. Conditions sometimes force police officers to break their family leisure programs, commitments, and off duty time to respond to critical law enforcement assignments that affect their social life (Batts et al. 7). Although research has demonstrated some reformed and redefined relationship between the police officers and citizens, police officers have continuously suffered social alienation. People misunderstand the role of police officers and citizens have been demonstrating a sense of fear and condemnation over the professional role of the police officers. While the new police reforms demand an impartial law enforcer, who connects with citizens through professional terms, cases of corruption and unfairness among innocent civilians have affected the police-civilian rapport (Batts et al. 7). As police officers engage dangerous gangsters and innocent civilians, unnoticed cases of criminal offences upon humans generate a different social relationship issue between police and citizens.

Beyond their control are the national social matters that include unemployment, racism, educational deficiencies, poverty, destitute, and social class conflicts. Although they necessarily do not directly cause crime, these elements contribute to the rising cases of insecurity as secondary factors (Scott 8). As the US continues to emerge as a nation of immigrants with cases of discrimination and racial alienation documented in several studies, this scenario presents a unique social challenge to the police department. Although the criminal law governs the actions of police officers when dealing with law offenders, the ancient and gradually rising ethno-cultural differences may influence their actions at this point (Plant and Scott 13). In either case, whether native immigrant police officer or Native American, police officers may face some difficulties in dealing with the criminals where racial parity and prejudice affects the community. Police also suffer from social stigma while dealing with criminals and especially when considered the population differences in the US, with certain immigrant or native white concentrated in certain residential places.

Internal challenges encountered

Apart from the legal, economical, and even the social factors that are affecting government policing, the police department suffers a continuum of internal organizational challenges (Plant and Scott 11). Beginning with the management of the US police department, not all has been well with the police administration. The management of the police department has been facing the challenge of preparing police leaders in confronting the challenges of the modern insecurity. The foremost preparation technique that could deem significant is police empowerment and motivation as the assignments of law enforcement and crime prevention is risky and challenging (Scott 15). The initial scientific or classical administration theory can best describe the will of police officers towards challenging tasks and providing incentives to increase productivity and commitment of police officers could help (Kelling and Moore 14). Although sometimes provided by the federal state, the support in improving management that seems centralized (command and control) has remained rigid towards democratic administration. Management and organizational culture of the department also proves challenging.

The American policing exercise stands out as an increasingly independent profession with a culture of working for and with itself hence affecting important external feedback (Plant and Scott 5). The organizational culture consists of hierarchical leadership technique, where centralized quasi-military arrangement receives information from a unified chain of command, and it affects effective law enforcement. The police department has also been suffering from several ethical dilemmas that include racial prejudice among the police workforce, favoritism in workplace appreciation, and despite the prevalence of code of police ethics, nothing much seems to change. Fueled by political ideologies that have remained conformed to the traditional socio-cultural, ethnical disparities, and racial differences, police departments face this issue as an internal predicament. Another significant issue is police recruitment and retention, where a majority of new recruits are either unprepared to meet the growing challenges or are completely unwilling to work for the police department (Wilson and Weiss 91). Social morose, changing technologies and rigid hiring standards present unique recruitment and retention of the police workforce.


The United States is one of the developed economies with a vast security department. The police department is responsible for crime prevention, law enforcement, and other social engagements. While providing security and ensuring peace and justice among civilians, the police officers face a number of legal, social, economic, and internal organizational challenges that impede their competence. While the state, civilians, and even visitors expect exemplary security management, a number of problems affect the police department. Legal procedures heavily affect the manner in which police officers handle law offenders. Even when enough evidence prevails to apprehend law offenders, laxity in judiciary especially when making judgments normally affects the law enforcement process. While these challenges may deem specified to the independent police department, their relationship with the nationals, government, and the federal states dwindle due to security lapses.


Batts, Anthony, Sean Smoot, and Ellen Scrivner 2012, Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World. Web.

Kelling, George, and Mark Moore 1988, The Evolving Strategy of Policing. Web.

Plant, Joel, and Michael Scott 2009, Effective Policing and Crime Prevention. Web.

Raymond, Barbara, Laura Hickman, Laura Miller, and Jennifer, Wong 2005, Police Personnel Challenges after September 11. Web.

Scott, Michael 2003, Panhandling: Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. Web.

Wilson, Jeremy, and Alexander Weiss. A Performance-based approach to Police Staffing and Allocation, Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2012. Print.

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DemoEssays. "Government Policing and Its Unique Challenges." December 26, 2022.