How might higher education assist police in their work of helping to create civil communities?
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Policing is, everywhere, a precondition of a civil life. Food security and then human security mark the emergence of society from the chaos, or at least the uncertainty, of what went before. Since the late Industrial Revolution, policing has increasingly become specialized, bureaucratized, and public, and the trend, despite the rhetoric, has been towards technical rather than service or community policing. Service policing, the ultimate in bespoke, individually tailored policing, has been and is being used but it presents great difficulties for police in a pluralist society. Technical policing on the other hand has captured the imagination of police, and Hollywood. In its knowledge base and in its practice, it is marked by a crime fighting, law enforcement mentality and a fascination with tactics, technique, and technology itself. Technical policing has invariably led police into scandal and corruption as the great excuse, indeed the ideology, of the war against crime sweeps aside all other considerations and serves to increasingly isolate police from the public at the individual, community, and eventually societal level. Technical police managers, more akin to engineers than social workers, become fixated on process and input issues and on using the most efficient means. They lose sight of questions relating to ends and legitimacy, as they manipulate structures and shed, gain, invent, or discover functions. The tendency, aided by politicians doing popularist law and order politics, is for more coercive forms of policing to emerge to fight what is less and less fundamentally and unconditionally beyond the pale. While the public police are the coercive arm of the state, policing itself is a matter of consensus, and even consent, if it is not to be oppressive, cripplingly expensive and eventually inflammatory. Using the logic of representative democracy, consent is best or at least first established at the community level – civil society being an association of civil communities – utilizing a civics of voice (Hirshman 1970). Since the early 1900s, police and higher education have had an on again off again relationship, characterized more by active indifference than critical engagement. Yet higher education can significantly assist police in their great social work. In this research, which is normative and mostly conceptual in orientation and method, I use a heuristic principle of John Stuart Mill’s (1925 ), in an analytic framework of educational philosophy developed by William K. Frankena (1970), to propose, explore and test a scheme for systematically analysing and methodically building a full-fledged philosophy of police management education. With normative, conceptual and experiential premises made out, the scheme proposed is open to being falsified, verified and/or modified at any stage or step. It therefore allows police management education to be better ‘joined up’ with police management practice and professional policing. The result of all this is above all a method of doing philosophy of police management education that allows for the articulation of related ends, means, methods and dispositions relevant to the enterprises of education and policing. As such it may be of some use to other police management educators and to police management practitioners. The proposal, developed as a result of my use of the method, may similarly be useful as it stands and even more useful on elaboration and customisation.
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