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The Usual Suspects : Decision-making in proactive policing.

Wakeren, J.B. van (2016) The Usual Suspects : Decision-making in proactive policing.

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Abstract:The public debate on the relation between the police and ethnic minorities has intensified in the past years. Proactive policing plays an important role in this discussion. This study is an attempt to identify the selection mechanisms police officers use during proactive policing. Using a perspective of social categorization, 421 proactive stops in Amsterdam in 2015 were analysed. Attention was given to the personal characteristics of the people that were stopped, their vehicles, behaviour that may have attracted suspicion and the time and location of the stops. Furthermore, the reasons officers gave for the stops were analysed. Finally, the outcomes of the stops were analysed. It should be noted that the cases analysed in this study are not necessarily representative. The 421 analysed cases were of the 4% of vehicles that were checked upon most frequently. Also, the stops of which a registration was made were analysed, which are possibly only those stops that were seen as worthwhile. It turned out that stops of delinquent persons are most often registered. The majority of stopped persons had a criminal record and belonged to a so called criminal target group. It this sense, it appears that police officers predominantly have attention for ‘the usual suspects’ and that many of the stops were the result of an offender-oriented approach. It turned out that these persons are often young males with an immigrant background who drive luxurious cars. Persons that were subjected to a stop frequently attracted extra attention because they drove aggressively or reacted strangely to the presence of police officers. In most of the cases, combinations of factors or discrepancies between factors attracted extra suspicion. In 10% of the stops, a fine was issued. 2% of the stops led to the seizure of the vehicle or other goods. In 1% of the stops, the driver was arrested. The implications of these results for proactive policing are discussed. It is recommended to increase the registration of proactive stops (using either stop forms or digital applications), stimulate reflection on the effectiveness of proactive policing and increase awareness of the damage proactive policing may cause.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/70058
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