What Are the Primary Goals of Policing?

By Chris Brower
Police help to keep citizens feeling safe.

police car up close image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com

Police officers and other law enforcement officials typically play an important part in the day-to-day life of people and places. Whether an officer is walking down a city street or sitting in his car at a corner to encourage people to follow speed limits, people feel the effects of police work on an almost daily basis. Policing has several goals too, which help to explain the police's presence and what they're hoping to accomplish day in and day out.

Stopping Crime

One of the main goals of police work is to stop crime. If a shootout happens, a police officer tries to respond quickly before more damage (to both lives and property) occurs. A police officer apprehends any suspects, as well as clearing out any people that could be harmed. Essentially, a police officer tries to restore order.

Preventing Problems

One of the goals of policing is to prevent problems. A police officer walking in front of a bank might help deter people that are considering robbing the bank. A police officer parked near an area known for speeding cars might cause people to drive more slowly. Preventing problems lowers the amount of crime, as well as lowering court costs and time for those involved.


A police presence can help put citizens at ease. In addition to the preventative measures it can accomplish, a police presence can help citizens feel safe as they go about their daily business. It lets citizens know that if something should happen, a police officer is right there to take action and help if necessary. If an emergency happens, such as a terrorist attack, police officers can help control the situation and keep citizens calm.

Securing Areas

Policing often takes place in high-risk areas, such as areas that might have a high amount of gang activity. Policing can lower the likelihood of high-risk activities, and can help the area become a more secure place to be. Should suspicious activity be going on, a police officer can help put an end to it. A police officer can also evacuate individuals if necessary (if, for example, a questionable package arrives at a federal building), helping to prevent injuries or deaths from happening in a potentially dangerous area.

Providing Assistance

Police can often be called on to provide assistance, and police officers in the nearby area can make assistance arrive more quickly. Whether it's providing basic first aid, controlling traffic after a car accident or removing individuals that are acting inappropriately in a public setting, police officers can help solve problems for citizens.

About the Author

Chris Brower is a writer with a B.A. in English. He also spent time studying journalism and utilizes both to deliver well-written content, paying close attention to audience, and knowing one word could determine whether a product is a success or a failure. He has experience writing articles, press releases, radio scripts, novels, short stories, poems and more.