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Attitudes of the Police and Their Public in England and Wales, Japan and France, and the Possible Consequences of Those Attitudes

NCJ Number
Bramshill Journal Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (Autumn 1979) Pages: 15-20
P L Warburton
Date Published
6 pages
This British article contrasts the Japanese, French, and English policing systems, noting reasons why the Japanese sustain low crime rates and excellent police-public relations.
Unlike most other industrialized nations, Japan continues to contain and even reduce its crime rate despite great economic expansion. From 1962-1972, its crime rate, excluding traffic violations, fell 20 percent. Moreover, serious crime fell 40 percent and streets are safe even at night. A primary cause for this lies in the Japanese belief that the individual ought to conform to society and not shame friends and family through antisocial acts. Pressures to conform are increased by crowded living conditions which make it difficult to hide deviant behavior. Other crime-inhibiting factors include a 90-percent conviction rate by the courts, excellent relations between well-informed, well-trained, highly centralized police and the public, strong family and neighborhood ties within the community, public involvement with crime prevention, and neighborhood policing. In contrast, the French police have suffered low public esteem, low morale, and corruption since they were established in the 19th century, despite continual attempts at improvement through reorganization and increased manpower and funding. Since 1968, the French police have been divided into a military body responsible for rural areas and a national police for all other purposes, but neither attempts to reach out to the people. The British police, unlike the French, are traditionally close to the people and hold crime prevention through police presence rather than crime detection as their first priority. However, the rapidly rising British crime rate has led to quasi-military, reactive policing, thereby reducing police presence and the police-public bond. Recent British policy aims to reconstruct the old preventive policing system and to restore public confidence and trust in the police. A table and 11 references are included.


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