What factors influence a police officer’s use of discretion?
Police can use its discretion power in case of small offenses such as public urination and traffic incidents. Here, the officer can arrest as well as fine the offender. He can also leave him by giving only a verbal or written warning. The parameters on which Police discretion depends are as follows
If a suspect behaves disrespectfully, and does not cooperate with the policeman is more likely to get arrested. If an individual shows respect and remorse for the actions performed, then a police officer may give him a chance by only warning him against such activities. It is the most important parameter of the actions to be taken and the use of discretion as per the study conducted in the year 1964.
The more the number of criminal cases against an individual, the more intense the punishment is likely to be even on the first infraction with you. The number of convictions matters the most.
A complaint against an individual gives an idea of the situation. In that case, there might be an influence on the discretion of the police officer. Investigation with the offense has to be carried out with care when there is any complaint lodged against the individual.
The attitude of Parents/Guardians
It is another factor which might influence the level of the discretion of a police officer. It is evidence as per the study by Bynum and Thompson. The care, interest in cooperation with the captor by the parents can change the whole scenario, and the actions might become informal.
System variables are a part of the list of the influencers of the police officer’s discretion. A policeman becomes more lenient in case of the backlogging of the court and correctional systems. The police department gets into more strict actions when the city needs funds and revenue.