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Duties of a Police Officer

Shashank Nakate Oct 09, 2018
Maintaining law and order in the society is one of the most important duties performed by the police. However, along with routine tasks assigned to them, police officers may also have to handle some critical and mind-boggling situations.

Did You Know?

In 2005, 35% of deaths of police officers in USA were related to automobiles. Only 3% of these deaths were the result of vehicular pursuits.
The power of police forces lies in their right to enforce the law. Although, rules which govern the duties of police officers differ from country to country, their basic responsibilities remain the same.
The word 'police' has its origin in the Latin term, 'politia', which means civil administration. The term, politia is a derivative of the Greek word 'polis', interpreted as 'city' in English.
Responsibilities of police forces are different from defense forces. Police officers have to work closely with the civil society to maintain law and order.
Their job is of no lesser significance if compared to that of defense forces; this is because it requires great patience and presence of mind to handle tricky situations which may arise while working in close proximity with civilians.

Responsibilities of a Police Officer

Here is a short account of the different types of duties assigned to a police officer. After going through the list of responsibilities, you would find that the job of a police officer requires vigilance, physical and mental strength and other such skills to effectively perform their duties.
Protecting the life and property of people is an important responsibility of police officers. The legal system acts as a support system for the police and grants them the rights and authority to do their duties; a systematic approach for problems is enabled by the law and ordinance.
Patrolling the area assigned to them is one of the important duties of police officers. While on a routine patrol, a police officer checks for violations (if any) of rules and regulations. Patrolling may be done on foot, on a motorcycle, or using a radio cruiser.
Police officers have to fulfill the routine assignments delegated to them by their seniors. Responsibilities assigned to them are varied in nature and range from conducting interrogations to carrying out search operations related to criminal cases.
Answering the complaints associated with criminal activities and accidents is one of the prime responsibilities of police officers. In order to perform this kind of job without hassles, police officers need to have a clear understanding and knowledge of rules and laws to be enforced.
Police forces have to transport prisoners at the time of trials. Providing security to a criminal while traveling to and from the court is one of the risk-filled jobs handled by them.
The activity of 'community policing' exercised by the police helps in keeping a close eye on criminals; this in turn creates a safe atmosphere for people in the society.
Police officers have to maintain the custody of evidences, property and records that are retrieved at the time of investigation of criminal cases. An officer is expected to possess the necessary skills to decipher and prepare reports associated with different types of cases.
In few countries, it expected that police officers intervene to prevent crimes, even if they are not on duty at the time.
Police forces have to tackle emergency situations, for example, a fire outbreak.
Police officers look after the security of airports and other public places.
Reprimanding petty criminals who commit minor crimes is one of the responsibilities of police officers. The police can penalize offenders by issuing citations. A citation is a kind of summon issued 'on the spot' i.e. where the crime has taken place. In case of violation of traffic rules, police officers have the right to impose a fine.
The police may assist those who face a car breakdown. People who face emergency medical situations can avail the help of police officers by dialing helpline numbers.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency medical treatment offered to victims of cardiac arrest. In many countries, police officers are trained to perform CPR.
Police officers function as security guards for rallies, processions and important gatherings. Sometimes, the police have to provide security to VIPs. Security may be needed by VIPs in life-threatening situations.
Park rangers are police officers who look after the security of national parks. They provide security to people who visit parks and protect animals from illegal poaching.
Sometimes, police officers have to take charge of specialized duties where they perform microscopic and chemical analyzes. Officers may also have to operate in other fields which require them to perform fingerprint identification, handwriting identification, etc.
Controlling mobs during riots is one of the important tasks assigned to police officers. At times, mobs can turn violent and destructive. Maintaining law and order in such situations is one of the crucial jobs that police officers have to handle.
Keeping the situation at a crime scene under control is one of the important responsibilities of a police officer. Gathering evidence pertaining to crimes, conducting investigations, questioning witnesses and related activities form an important part of a police officer's duty.
Police officers also provide basic life support to those in need. People who get injured during accidents, those who need emergency medical help, etc. can avail the help of police.
The police officers are required to obtain written statements from drivers of vehicles involved in accidents. Clearing the wreckage from the spot of accident and clearing traffic congestion are amongst the duties of traffic police.
The responsibilities and duties of a police officer mentioned above indicate that these professionals do the important work of keeping a check on bad elements in the society. They fight for maintaining peace and harmony.
Police officers need to stay vigilant and control all such acts which lead to violence. Therefore, one shouldn't take the services of police officers for granted. Let's salute them for their courage and the responsibilities they handle to ensure our safety!