Mandate, Strategies, and Appearances Peter K. Manning

Article #6: The Police
Mandate, Strategies, and Appearances
Peter K. Manning
I. Introduction
A. Basis for Strategies
B. Occupational Culture of the Police
II. The “Impossible” Mandate
A. Problematic Nature of Law and Order
B. Police Work as Peace Keeping
C. The Police in the Political System
D. The Efficient, Symptom-Oriented Organization
III. Effectiveness of Police Strategies
A. Professionalism and the Bureaucratic Ideal
B. Technology, Statistics, and the Crime Rate
C. Styles of Patrol
D. Secrecy and Collaboration
E. Symbiosis and Justice
IV. Conclusions and Proposed Reforms
Manning outlines the police mandate, methods of coping with the social trouble that
arises from this mandate, and the consequences of efforts in this regard. Manning discusses a
sociological analysis of the paradoxes of police work and the strategies used by police to
untangle these paradoxes. The article also considers the recommendations of the president’s
crime commission and assesses the value of these recommendations as a means of modifying and
ameliorating the practical art of managing public order. Manning asserts that the police
institution has defined its task in such a manner that it cannot possibly be honored to the
satisfaction of the public.
Major Points
1. A “license” is a “legally defined right, and no other group or groups may encroach upon
2. A “mandate” is the right to define the proper conduct of others toward matters concerned
with the work.”
3. A profession with more power and authority is able to maintain control over the symbolic
meanings that have been associated with it by the public.
4. The police institution has a diverse audience, including the public, politicians, and
5. The manner in which the police institution has defined its task cannot be honored to meet
the public’s satisfaction.
6. The police have manipulated the public’s view and attitudes of their behaviors to
encourage an idealized view of the work done by police.
7. When criminal law predominates as the only means of control, it no longer reflects the
norms of the society; instead it reflects the interest of the power groups in that society.
8. Law enforcement is made more complex by the problem of police discretion and the
tension between order maintenance and individual rights.
9. Theoretically speaking, the police institution is apolitical; in reality, it functions in a
political context.
10. The police claim to be an efficient bureaucratic organization, however, they are unable to
define what they are being efficient about.
11. The illusion of professionalism is the most important strategy used by the police to
defend their mandate and to build self-esteem.
Discussion Questions
1. What is a “mandate”? Is Manning’s interpretation of the police mandate an accurate
2. What is the difference between a “tactic” and a “strategy”?
3. What is an “occupational culture”?
4. How does Manning contrast “order maintenance” and “law enforcement”? Provide
examples of each.
5. What does Manning say about the involvement of the police in the political system? Do
you agree with his interpretation?
6. What does Manning say about crime statistics and the crime rate? Do you agree with his
7. How does the article define “symbiosis”? How does this concept affect the police? Can
you think of any other effects this may have on the police?
8. What reforms are proposed by the article? Can you think of any others?

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