Policing and the police: key issues in criminal justice
The police are by far the most visible institution of the criminal justice system. While most people will have had little or no contact with prisons, probation or the courts, there must be few who by the age of majority have not come into personal contact of one kind or another with the police. Indeed, for the most part, the police want to be seen. Their distinctive uniforms with helmets fashioned to elevate their stature, and their clearly marked patrol cars equipped with sirens and flashing blue lights are clearly designed to draw attention to themselves. This is, of course, no accident; the police are the visible presence of the state in civil society.