The increasing complexities of present diverse societies have led parliaments to develop various types of laws and regulations on the basis of the establishment of these intricate notions of rule of law, separation of powers and responsible government in order to maintain social order and harmony between police, citizens and the government. These implementation have distinctive application within contemporary society and the way in which they are applied to policing, as they all aim to achieve civilized and agreeable laws to prevent anarchy and chaos.
The notion behind every law made is the rule of law, which was put forward by an English Jurist A.V. Dicey in 1885 and refers to the idea that the legal system seeks to treat everyone equally and administer justice impartially without prejudice. The rule of law compromises, as Dicey states, of three elements by which the rule of law can be defined. It has an independent judiciary, allows individuals to be subject to a fair trial and thirdly, individuals have the right to reasonable access of the courts .
The law covers a range of broad and diverse issues and situation in which police officers might encounter within modern society. When the law is clear about certain behaviors, police officers make their judgment by assessing the context of each and every situation individually. Miller (1997) writes that the law does not cover every circumstance that a police officer may be confronted with, thus giving the responsibility to the police officer to interpret and apply the law in its context, enforce the law and even provide an on the spot solution to a problem. A police officer will be faced with various incidents in which their discretion will decide on the best plan of action in regards to that predicament; giving police officers more lawful power over members of society as their discretion is the foundation of which the rule of law is originated. Edward Charles (2005) writes that there are two types of police powers, `exceeding their powers or abusing their powers' (Charles E. 2001: 19). He refers to the idea that when a situation has no precedent, automatically police officers have power to act on their discretion (exceeding power), on the other hand, abusing power suggests that when a police officer exercises power and have proceeded with all the right validations for their discretion, it may come across as if they were discriminatory and prejudice against the individual(s) charged or arrested and therefore must self-justify and give reasonable explanations their actions. Edward Charles also states that `the law gives authority to police with one hand, while restraining them with the other' (Charles E. 2005: 24). This implies that although police officers have the power to enforce the law in the way in which they see fit, they do not have to exercise it because their powers are not mandatory.
Since the rule of law needs to be interpreted and applied within its contexts, it...