POLICE DISCRETION 3
the offense had no harm at all so they may let you off with a warning. This discretion, however,
is different among police officers and some may not take the offense so lightly. Discretion has
been around for many years and though it has downsides to it has proven to be necessary for
managing situations with people (Beckett, 2016).
These situations have been compacted into three major groups which are the offender,
systematic and situational. The offender variable, for example, makes the officer take into
account the characteristics of the individual that may include his race, economic status, age and
also health. An officer may consider punishing a younger inexperienced driver more harshly than
he would an older driver. Situational variables, on the other hand, dictate the magnitude of the
offense committed, the area around which the offense has been committed and so on. Crimes
committed around learning institutions may be taken with much seriousness compared to other
regions seeing that it is around students. However, most discretions can be dictated by the
judiciary systems and expectations by the community (Beckett, 2016).
Systematic offences on the other hand are controlled by various factors such as public
image to the community, generation of revenue by the state and also productivity by the state. A
city, for example, may want to increase revenue through focusing on one traffic crime this acts as
a win-win situation since the police bring in money for the city while also punishing the traffic
offenders for the committed offense.
However, if the people of the community do not agree with how the officers are carrying
out their work, they will not see the need to follow the law as it is a two-way transaction of
respect between them and the officers. Discretion, however, comes with a few mishaps during
the line of work. Citizens complain about how officers harass them at times for petty offenses
simply because one is of a particular race, gender or even age. This has created a lot of