Policing:Patrols vs Investigation

PolicePatrols vs. Police Investigations

Patrolsand investigations are the two principal components of any policedepartment. Patrolling basically involves the preservation of law andorder in a designated region, by walking around or driving around ina police patrol car. On the other hand, investigation is more ofdetective work that involves reviewing of occurrence reportssubmitted by patrol officers. Such occurrences are then transformedinto crimes which are subsequently processed through a country’scriminal judicial system (Sewell, 2011).

Betweenpatrolling and investigation, police patrol is the most crucialcomponent of the two. This is due to the fact that patrols arepreventive in nature while investigations are reactive, always takingplace after a crime, accident or incident has occurred. Unlikepatrols, investigations do not prevent damage. Patrol officers dwellamongst the public and are charged with the responsibilities ofresponding to calls for service, arresting offenders, disputeresolution, crime report taking as well as conducting trafficenforcement. In summation, patrol officers are charged with crimeprevention measures. Often, they are the first at crime or accidentscenes, where their initial actions greatly influence the outcome ofsubsequent investigations. In addition, patrol officers are closestto potential criminals and crime, often developing close relationswith contacts who may provide crucial information.

Between2006 and 2008, a research dubbed “The Philadelphia Foot PatrolExperiment” by the Temple University established that patrolsreduced crimes drastically. This was conducted by researchersidentifying corners with the highest violent crimes in the city andthereafter assigning foot patrols with matching rates of crime. Afterthree months, the crime rates were noted to have decreased by 23percent. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is thepolice oversight board in England and Wales. In 1998, the boardclearly pointed out that if police resources were utilized in asmarter and efficient manner, police patrols would be more effective.The board also noted that being problem-oriented, police patrols aremore effective due to the fact that they handle risk factorsincluding confiscating illegal handguns hence reducing murder, aswell as reducing fatal car accidents by stopping drunk drivers(Waller, 2006).

Theaddition of new and advanced forensic technological tools will go along way in bringing about a significant change in criminalapprehension. With advancement in technology, there have beeninnovations including cell phones, computer terminals and two-wayradios inserted in patrol cars thus dramatically expanding the reachof police agencies. In regards to the investigation, advancement inforensic DNA analysis, data and information collecting, processingand storage are also bound to make work easier for law enforcementofficers (Sewell, 2011).


Sewell,J. (2011). Police: Urban policing in Canada. Canadian Cataloguing inPublication Data

Waller,I. (2006). Less Law, More Order: The Truth about Reducing Crime.Greenwood Publishing Group