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Drustvena istrazivanja: Journal for General Social Issues, Vol.14 No.6 (80) December 2005.

Original scientific paper

The Purpose and Function of Police as a Social Institution – Contribution to Sociology of Police

Renato MATIĆ

Fulltext: pdf (206 KB), Croatian, Pages 969 - 991 , downloads: 952 *

Abstracts
This paper is looking into the purpose and function of police
as a social institution and is aimed at determining whether
sociology of police can be established as a sociological
subdiscipline. The first chapter analyses the need for security
as one of the basic human needs, endangered by various
kinds of deviant behaviour, and the process of
institutionalization of police as a form of social activity that
fulfills and satisfies that basic need. The second chapter
provides the chronology and the examples of the
development of police as an institution from ancient and
primal societies up to the modern ones. The third chapter
proceeds to define police as a social institution, emphasizing
its social function. Accordingly, the definition is based upon
the fundamental elements of the sociological definitions of
institution, some of the general definitions of police,
enumerating its specific expected activities, and the possible
conclusions about the functions of police in contemporary
society within the basic orientations of sociological theory.
The fourth chapter indicates possible social disfunctions of
police as deviations from the serve and protect principle,
taking for example some activities of secret police. The fifth
chapter defines the purpose of police in society by analysing
the principle of sociability in the sense that police and society
are mutual in functionally sharing common values and
activity principles. In the conclusion, the basic concepts
outlined in the paper are applied as elements contributing to
the establishment of sociology of police. In addition to that,
the working definition and possible new sociological
subdisciplines are suggested.

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