Monday, February 21, 2011



By Professor Kam C. Wong
Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio


“Police power as social resource theory” (SRT), drawing upon Chinese political philosophy (“mass line”) and policing practice (“renmin jingcha”). The SRT addresses three main questions: What is the role and function of the police? What is the relationship of the police with the people? Why do people call the police? SRT (re)conceptualizes crime and police from the perspective of the people, not that of the state. From the people’s perspective crimes are personal problems, while problems are unmet expectations resulting from resource deficiencies and police are social resources make available to the people in solving their own problems. In terms of foundation SRT is a theory of the people, a theory of democratic governance, a theory of empowerment, and a theory of self-help.

Proposition#1: People confront problems routinely some of them are called crime.

Proposition#2: To the people problems of everyday life are unmet expectations, resulting from a lack of resources.

Proposition#3: All problems can be solved by redefining expectations and/or acquiring resources.

Proposition#4: People experience crime as a personal problem not as a legal violation.

Proposition#5: People call the police because they do not have (or unwilling to spare ) the necessary resources to deal with their problems, crime and non-crime.

Proposition#6: Police call the police because they are resources of legitimacy and coercion.

Proposition#7: Police power is a kind of emergency (social) resources made available to the people to solve their problems.

Proposition# 8: The more resources at the disposal of the people the less problem the people will be confronted with.

Proposition#9: The more resources at the disposal of the people the less they have to call on the police when problem (crime) happened.

Proposition#10: The more (adequate and appropriate) resources at the disposal of the police the more effective they are in solving people’s problem.

Proposition#11: The less (adequate and appropriate) resources at the disposal of the police the more likely they will resort to illegal or extra-legal means in solving people’s problem.

Proposition#12: The person who is closest (impact, information, knowledge) to a problem is and should be the person to solve the problem.


“Police” is defined as: “Police is a depository and coordinator of social resources. Police is an all purpose emergency problem solver who is authorized to use “legitimacy” and “coercive” resources to solve people’s problems in a domestic situation and during peaceful time.”

“Problem” is defined as: “An unrealized expectation of wants or needs due to resource deprivation.”

“Resource” is defined as: “Things of all kinds, including to power, time, materials, skills, culture, ideas, and knowledge that can satisfy ones expectations of want and needs.”

“Legitimacy” is defined as: “That which is endorsed, supported and promoted by duly constituted political authority, which illicit intuitive respect and demand obedience.”

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