Internal and External Mechanisms


Internaland External Mechanisms



Policediscretion refers to freedom of law officers to employ otherpossibilities towards a person. They have decision-making authoritythat gives them an opportunity to decide whether they willcomprehend, issue a ticket or a warning (Kleinig, 2012). A quickexample of police discretion will occur when one is stopped for overspeeding. The police officers have different alternatives to choosefrom including an arrest or issuing a warning. Police discretion isas one of the best ways to avoid being apprehended and hefty fines.Telling the truth in such situations is always good because you canconvince them and at times they might apply their discretion in afavourable way. According to research by Kleinig, not all cases allowfor choice. He categorized the factors that control police discretionin two broad categories namely the internal and external mechanisms(Kleinig, 2012).

Someinternal factors that control police discretion include laws andrules established to be followed by the law officers. Majority ofthese rules do not protect all the aspects, thus there are new lawspassed each day, and this gives them time to use their discretion(Kleinig, 2012). In certain situations, the law is complicated andthese officers ignore the elucidation of the law and use theirdiscretion to make a judgment. Police officers are at times providedwith numerous options where they are required to come up with onebest alternative. This allows for their use of discretion.

Theexternal factors that limit police discretion include the offenders,situation and the systems surrounding. The offender factors includethose that are directly related to the offender such as gender, ageand race amongst others (Kleinig, 2012). The law officers give theirpreference according to these variables. Location factors areexperienced when the decision is made. They include the itemsinvolved in the crime, nature of the crime and those involved in theinvestigations among others. Lastly, system elements are societysystems that arise when discretion is made (Kleinig, 2012). Incertain circumstances, law officers provide option that are tolerablethan expected especially when the courts are congested. On the otherhand, they are stern when the state requires more money.


Kleinig,J. (2012). Handledwith discretion: Ethical issues in police decision making.Lanham: Rowman &amp Littlefield Publishers.