Q:

Why are the police important in a democratic society?

A:

Quick Answer

The police are important in a democratic society because they provide for the rule of law, which enhances civic trust and helps maintain social order. Equality under the law is a basic principle of a democratic society.

Know More
Why are the police important in a democratic society?
Credit: (vincent desjardins) Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Democracies require high levels of civic trust because democratic governments receive legitimacy only from the consent of the governed. Social studies scholar and MIT Professor Emeritus Gary Marx notes, “It is ironic that police are both a major support and a major threat to a democratic society.” On one hand, police enhance democracy by exemplifying one of its central tenets, the rule of law, while also suppressing crime. On the other hand, police are granted by government the exclusive power to use force, which can be abused to undermine democracy. In either case, they play a prominent role in the success or failure of a democratic society.

Another key principle of democratic society is equality before the law. In his studies of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville found particularly healthy the perception of equal status among Americans. He also marveled at the extent to which Americans participated in policing and the enforcement of law, as opposed to merely waiting on authorities to act on their behalf. A neutral police force devoid of discriminatory or selective enforcement practices helps preserve faith in equal protections for all.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do laws affect society?

    A:

    By providing rules and regulations for what citizens can and cannot do, laws play a big part in defining the cultural expectations of a society. The World Justice Project states that the rule of law protects rights, limits corruption, and handles civil and criminal infractions.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is business law so important?

    A:

    Business law is an important topic to understand due to how intertwined business transactions are with society. Any regulation or legal rights that affect employers, employees, and consumers, as well as how businesses interact internationally, are considered topics of business law.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a sample expungement letter?

    A:

    An expungement letter starts with a paragraph explaining the charge and reason for the expungement request, then follows with a second paragraph explaining the individual's contributions to society and a final paragraph offering thanks for the reader's time. The purpose of an expungement letter is to request that an arrest or criminal conviction record be sealed.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do laws change?

    A:

    Laws change to keep up with the ever-evolving views and values of the society. Lawmakers play a critical role in identifying shifts in expectations and values of the society so as to create and pass new laws.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore