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Discretion can be determined as one’s ability to make decisions which do represent a responsible choice. This requires one to understand what is right, wise and lawful. Discretion can be mostly applied in the crime justice system. This is where the police and the court system are able to practice a degree of discretion. This can be used to determine who will be a subject to the set of criminal penalties and the punishment that they should face. The police exercise of discretion to stop, to search, to arrest and to charge suspects considered to be inevitable and not necessary. This has given the limits of police resources and their variations in the seriousness of the people's abasement. Another crucial factor is the inappropriateness of the criminal law for dealing with some difficult situations of conflict and disorder.

Police Department Minimizing Discretion

Practical limitation, absence of law and immediate review and a sense of justice have made the police exercise a tremendous amount of discretion at all police hierarchy levels. This includes the thriving art where police officers make decisions on how to handle serious incidents. The police departments do make discretionary decisions on all sorts of matter. Some of these include making decisions on where and what public safety problems they should concentrate. Others include on whether they formally enforce the law. This is usually when they have ground to do so. The other decision refers to what methods they need to use in performing their duties. Although the law or the policy might constrain or compel some of the police discretionary decisions, there are choices to be made from some options (Pollock, 2011). The police alone should make these choices. However, in many instances, the views of the community groups citizens, appointed and elected government officials should inform police choices. This means that by bringing the police discretionary decisions more open at a strategic level. This makes it possible for the public to deliberate on them to make the police more effective. This is due to the strengthened democracy which deliberates and reviews the discretionary decisions. This shows that the police can minimize the level of discretion by respecting the general public’s opinion.

Departments Minimizing Police Discretion

Some departments can help in minimizing the police discretion. One outstanding example of these departments is the human right departments. Some people do argue that respect of human rights is in some way opposed to effective law enforcement. The police, violating human rights, make the confirmed challenging task of law enforcement be more difficult. If the police may violate human rights, it could lead to the loss of the public confidence and complication of the effective prosecution in courts. If the police department can respect the human tights, it enhances the effectiveness of the department. It makes the police look as a part of the community performing a valuable function in society. The police are also able to come closer to the community. This makes policemen move to a better position to prevent and solve any dispute through a proactive policing. It helps in minimizing the police discretion. The human rights department can also make the police department undergo training concerning the human rights. The police might first know the rights (Cordner, 2010). They must also be familiar with various international bodies such as the Code of Conduct that enables them to deal well with human beings. The police must also have policing in democracies. This reduces any form of mistreatment of the humans. They must orient themselves, and they always operate a manner that should be consistent with the constitution and the law. This helps the police to understand the humans and their opinions when carrying out some duties. This confirms that the police have little discretion.

Ethical Problems with Discretion

In some cases, incidents do occur when the officer gets faced with the choice of whether to enforce the law or do feel uncomfortable enforcing it. The law involved might be typically minor like a traffic citation or enforcing city warrants. Some of the officers hesitate or feel the decision presents an ethical dilemma due to some situational elements. Some of these include the poverty or the age of the offender and the perception that the person deserves a break. An example of the case, where the officer is in a dilemma, is as follows. If an officer can be called to a crime scene where a child gets reported to steal, and the officer clearly knows that the child lives with a grandmother and struggle to make ends meet. This can be a tricky situation to the officer ( Pollock, 2011).

Officer’s Views on Discretion

Some of the police officers do not welcome discretion in their line of duty. This makes them be in difficult and tricky situations where the officer has to make a choice. They choose to strictly observe the law in order to reduce the guiltiness they may be facing in themselves.


Discretion is the ability where one makes decisions that are correct and lawful. Police officers do find themselves in some situations where they get confused with the choice they need to make. They have to make right and clear decisions and to observe the law. The police department necessitates to minimize discretion in their duties. The important thing in order to accomplish it is always to have substantial relations with the public. This makes the public evaluate the decision of the police and the police know how to act well.

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