Controlling Police Through Litigation

Litigation is the action of a court system to enforce and protect a particular right. This has been used in the former years so as to set things right between the police and the community. Particularly, it has been used to eliminate ambiguity and provide consistency in the general departmental conduct of police. Police subdivisions usually draft and instigate strategies and procedures as universally-guiding principles. These policies and principles are aimed at outlaying directives that’s should be followed by staff and police officers depending with the situations and cases at hand. Such rules are backed up by the forces of law and are even reflected upon when juries are resolving on police misconduct or conduct. Employee actions are also considered in this bracket and may undergo scrutiny in legal cases. As a rule, these issues and policies involving communities are put in place so as to enforce lawful and consistent police action.

Failure to embody such regulations may pose serious adverse actions which may further invoke severe reactions from the public. It can place police on legal liability which could normally be a “legal irony”. Section 1983 as quoted by Michael Layman, dictates that police officers are prohibited from violating the rights of any citizen regardless of their social status. The section is used as instrument for safeguarding the rights of an individual against any kind of police malpractice. More particularly, a person can use this section to sue another person who has violated their civil rights. However, some rudiments are determinants of the applicability of section 1983. The first foundation is that the violator of this section must be specifically a “person”. A bigger entity therefore, such as a whole police department or a state agency cannot be a subject to accountability under the edict. Secondly, the accountable “person” must have been operating under the influence of legal authority when the denunciated infringement took place. A police officer who beats a suspect illegally while making an arrest would therefore be acting under such authority, making him to be subjected to liability.

The use of illegal force by police is therefore a violation of the rights of an individual depending with the circumstances. The use of force as stated by the international association of chiefs of police is the amount of force called for when compelling an unwilling subject(IACP, 2001). In regard to this, excessive force is deemed a misconduct(Alpert et al, 2004). Apart from these, vicarious liability is placed upon police departments and municipalities in consideration of the reasons of the service of the crown, independence of functions for masters and damages done when police officers were enforcing the law. Act 1983 has outlined on what happens when torts are committed by police officers and how the above mentioned vicarious liability elements are dealt with.

Nevertheless, police officers on duty are entitled to “official immunity” as a gesture of protecting them from exaggerated claims by accusers. It applies for state laws claims that may be brought upon them. Not only that, police departments and municipal employers are entitled to vicarious immunity for their corresponding officers’ conduct. Official state law states this in a bid to protect its police force. Such immunities are of various types. The first classification is made on the pillars of acts, omissions and decisions made within the scope of their official duties. Secondly, the immunity from acts, omissions or decisions that are discretionary and lastly, those that are not made in a reckless manner. Police are also protected by their ability to sue back in special circumstances. They can sue on such situations when they sustain injury and when their rights are violated too. In these two ways, both the public and police respect each other legally. For the good of all, litigation appears to be the best form of police control.

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