Relationship Between the Police and Media


In our present, the media depiction is full of positive as well as negative representations of police work. Resultantly, only a composite relationship exists between what the media consumes and public perception towards the public. The central purpose of this model criminology paper is to shed light on the influence that the media consumption has on approaches toward police misbehavior. In the current day policing, the public perception of police usage of force, commonly termed as brutality, has continued to be a sensitive issue on the bearing of law enforcement agencies across the globe. For instance, Newburn notes that police agencies across America encounter with accusations of misuse of force almost daily. Whether justified or not, images of police using force have continued to strike a wave of emotions in the American society. Nevertheless, the media agitation, with full of misrepresentations of facts and propaganda and facts, techniques, has largely contributed to a misconstruction of police incidents by the public. These techniques are said to undermine the police authority, and consequently lessening the trust that the community has in the police.

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Definite Relationship between the Police and Media

The existence of incidents where there is a little publicized police usage of force has strongly supported the community perception of police use of force as brutal and negative. We have various different media forms, with each portraying our police in different manners. Resultantly, this research has been geared towards utilizing different media consumption inclusive of various media reports, such the internet, television newscasts, and newspaper articles. Reiner recognizes that, if the media, taken as independent variable, would justly give a reportage of the true nature of events to the public, taken as the dependable, then the community’s perception of police usage of force would not be biased and negative.

In our society today, we all encounter the depiction of crime and deviance within each corner of our society. This attraction may paint an undesired influence on how lives are influenced by the media and change perceptions of law execution, thus heightening the fear of crime. Waddington coined this phrase folkdevils during the 1980 s and 90s. He probably used this phrase to give description to groups of persons deemed to to pose a danger and nuisance opt the society. Media representations by the media is likely to create moral panics within the society since the majority of people would inevitably interpret information differently. The media has created the existent moral panic in the present society by labeling certain persons and intensifying specified societal issues. By glamourizing, the media has been blamed for conveying information in a dramatized and exaggerated way. From a Marxist outlook, the media would focus on people that have the potential to threaten the power of the rich as well as the influential in the society.

Prenzler & Ransley assert that criminal conduct is depicted as an act that would be committed from those from a middle class contextual. What the media is doing in this case is the mere stereotyping whom exactly should the community perceive as a criminal. Post-modernists regard the crime coverage by the media as a spectacle display for the entire public to witness as well as to be affected by the medias views. Delattre recognizes that the police in our societies has assumed the role of peace keeping through the act of discretion by performing a negotiation process. Working proactively in collaboration with local communities, the police have tried hard to reinforce their presence and consequently form associations with communities on an informal background. Their effort of building community policing within specified areas has shown that the police are assisting in managing and education people within those communities on both crime as well as the effect it has on their local community.

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Expectations Not Met

Our media is tentatively existent to give information to the public that deals with their well being and safety within society. The media has the capacity to help individuals to make informed and knowledgeable decisions on issues that affect them openly and their local communities. Another responsibility of the media is the provision of the public with significant information regarding government legislation and the criminal justice system. Based on these efforts, a key highlight concerns how the media engagement has been used by the government in publishing the politician’s achievements on crime within communities to their advantage.

Based on the hypothesis by Jackson& Bradford, society is no longer judged with social or class stature within the economy, but what it does is to highlight those people are most vulnerable to media effects. Actually, it is not just about pluralism where everyones opinions and thoughts are considered and equally represented the moment the information has been interpreted. Notably, these decisions are realized by people who create informed individual choices. The successive advancement in the mass media and the availability of sources on the internet has paved way for the wide access of the media coverage from all varying social setups.

Factual reportage of crime in society has always been sensationalized and carefully selected by the media with regard to what they deem as newsworthy to help the dramatization for the entire public. The publics curiosity on various crimes is reported and their contents affect what individuals read and see in matters of media representation. By displaying an interest in certain area of crime, the public will relay this interest to the media, and the media will then focus on particular crimes and leave the rest unattended.

The Blame Game from Each Side

Depending with the mode of representing crime by the media, public perceptions can be influenced by their understanding of media news reports. Through positive education on the ideology of crime, integrated with this knowledge, it can be useful in assisting and implementing changes on punishment and dealing with crime within society. Based on the argument laid forward by McLaughlin, media influences can either be positive or negative. The unfortunate bit is that, in the present society, there are people who are vulnerable to influence, and would easily take what the media represents as true to every detail. The misinterpretation of reports coupled with the lack of understanding and knowledge can pose a negative influence on what a person thinks regarding crime, plus their perception of the policing of criminals.


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Unfruitful Alleviation of the Problem

According to the observation by Newburn, the media and the police have always been seen to have a complex and uneasy relationship. From the viewpoint of liberal and radical analyses, the media representation leads to creation of unrealistic public fears through exaggeration and over reporting of particular crimes. Due to this reporting, the public support of social and policing laws have been questioned by the public. This situation can create illegitimate forms of vigilantism and policing.

The manner of portrayal of the media by the police often affects the public’s outlook on policing and they deal with law and order in the society. The same portrayal can eventually challenge and contest the actions of the police. By challenge to the police, it brings their accountability into question. Palmiotto & Unnithan, defines policing as a systematic and organized form of order-maintenance, rule of law enforcement, peacekeeping, as related to other forms of information-brokering and investigation that may require a conscious exercise of forcible power. In several occasions, the media reports in conjunction with investigative journalism have greatly assisted their work. One would notice that these are some of the occasions when the media has a good platform of aiding in creation of encouraging images of policing. For instance, in the case of missing children, the media coverage is helpful in that it encourages witnesses to come forth from the public.

Over the decades, there has been a massive increase in awareness and training of police officers on how to deal effectively with media situations. Various strategies have been put in place by most governments, along with professional police media, on how to take charge of managing serious crimes and accidents. Media and police relationship has now become more complex than it used to be. Their interdependent relationship is still significant to keep the public with updated stories, though this is kept within certain limitations. By incorporating police department for crime stories to print, the media is actively using the police to assist in selling newspapers, and gaining of TV audiences and the rest of the public news sources that highlight the symbiotic reliance they hold for each other.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The interdependent relationship excising between the media and police will continue to flow, since they both require one another for information. Regardless of the manner in which this information is kept or misinterpreted, is the issue that police or the media should give a deeper thought. This is because both their actions in terms of public communication have an impact on people, whether wrongly or rightly. The increased advancements in technology development coupled with the freedom of information have made the public to gain access to information that was previously out of reach. Within the frameworks of our society, this allows the major organizations including the police to be checked and scrutinized by the public, and questions the policies put in place to control the conduct of the news media. Further research under these two areas is still needed to assist in determining whether the relationship between the media and the police plays a crucial role on on individuals attitudes and views towards crime within society.