service style | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction / Policing

The Service Style is a style of policing that is concerned more with helping members of the community than with strict code enforcement.

Contrast with watchman style and legalistic style

The Service Style of policing emphasizes community outreach and engagement, with a focus on helping community members and solving their problems rather than strictly enforcing the law. Officers employing the Service Style seek to build positive relationships with community members and prioritize non-enforcement actions such as mediation, conflict resolution, and referral to social services.

This style of policing is often associated with community policing, which has gained significant popularity in recent decades. Community policing involves collaboration between police and community members to identify and solve local problems. This collaboration can include activities such as community meetings, neighborhood watch programs, and joint patrols.

The Service Style is particularly useful in communities with high levels of trust and cooperation between police and community members. This style can help to prevent crime and disorder by building relationships and addressing the underlying issues that contribute to crime. In contrast to the Legalistic Style of policing, which focuses on strict enforcement of the law, the Service Style is more flexible and adaptable to the needs of individual communities.

The Service Style has been shown to be effective in reducing crime and improving community satisfaction with police. Research has found that when police officers use the Service Style, community members are more likely to view them as trustworthy and helpful, which can improve cooperation and information sharing between police and community members. In turn, this can lead to more effective crime prevention efforts and a reduction in crime rates.

One of the key features of the Service Style is the use of problem-solving strategies. Officers using the Service Style work with community members to identify the underlying causes of crime and disorder in their communities and develop solutions that address those causes. This approach can be more effective than simply responding to individual incidents of crime, as it can help to prevent crime from occurring in the first place.

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Last Modified: 04/10/2023


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