we can identify forms of policing since the times of ancient china. in eurupean west, it was claimed that france developed the first police force comparable to present police under king louis XIV in 1667. later britain caught up with marine police and the first “professional” police, the glasglow police in the 1800, not to mention nepoleonic police of paris.
we can easily acknowledge that modern police (as in pre&post ww2 era) are “armed enforcer of the law”, to keep law and order, and often regarded as protector of (whatever provincial, state and nation – and so for the people) . on a simplistic point of view, they protect “our” best interest as “citizens”. on a marxian/marxist prospective, they are simply employed at the expenses of the “tax payer” to protect the interest of the “ruling elites”, to protect property from theft, along with other “uncivil” social activities (such as murder, rape, theft, vandalism, etc.) more importantly, they are “licensed” to kill, or protect to kill, ot kill to protect (whenever necessary).
in any instance, corporations, legislator, and the police are very happy to see robin hood die.
to some extent, the formation and origins of the police is very similar to growing industry of private guards/ security in housing areas in the klang vally (kaula lumpur , malaysia) they are mainly employed to protect and secure the property of house owners along with thier “safety” — a re-manifestation of the initial police intension.
the first marine police in the 1800 in london was created to prevent the growing incidents of theft and pirating. merchants were definitely losing significant amount of $$ for law makers to enforce it under the “LAW”.
at present times, the police force and its roles has grown in complexity, they deal with all sorts of civil disorder, protection of important elites, diplomats, they investigate in mysterious murders and occasionally act of street directories. well depending on which region of the world you are talking about. police roles differs from state to state, nation to nation but they all share common traits and objectives as mentioned earlier.
it is difficult to argue that the police were created to serve a specific interest, which is capital. in general, there is a sense of trust and reliability they often associated with. their role in society had been known to be necessary, people are accustomed to it- and people generally would not flee for their life when they see an armed person in uniform that is “recognizable”, our general association with these uniformed personnel do not cause “terror” in our minds. either we awfully fear with a sense of trust or we regard police as a reasonable/rational entity that protect us, their status are on par with us (sometimes under, “we fund their wage”), and they are moral civil servants. and occasionally there are some corruption. the latter usually only works for the middle class/ elites, which is true to some extent. one would find it rare to witness police unruliness in posh suburban . ( but that’s just bad argument… sorry)
obviously, the relationship between the police and the very individuals in society differs. the perception whether there is an unequal power relation between the police and the “common people” differs. surely, it is unique to individual experiences and understanding. However, there is one aspect that most could agree upon, i hope, that they have the authority and power to use “reasonable force” whenever it is necessary (an open interpretation: definitions are open for individual police, congress and other lawmakers where they see fit to modify, change or discard), where i’ll just call it violence. this power, whether it is enforce “lawfully” or “unlawfully” is still sanctioned under a nation’s constitution and accepted by it “citizens”. on the contrary, common people are technically un-allowed to exert any forms of force on another person/property. it explains why batman will always be a “criminal under the law”
in other words, the police with this authorized power of coercion are inherently violent. their existence is violent. they are equipped with violent and train to use it.
to some extent, there can/will never be a “peaceful” demonstration when the police are there to secure & ensure “peace”.
however, it does not make “common sense” that the inherent nature of the police force is violent. if it was true, the “people” will realize it by now and it would be unacceptable… and i can imagine the different counter arguments where i am not prepare to think through and articulate at this present moment.
i acknowledge that there is a need to distinguish the difference between direct violent and structured violent.
i would like to use the term “systematic violent” to explain my position and that the police force are part of larger system that is as i would also argue “inherently violent”. ( but i am not going into detail in this short essay)
the police institution are installed with the authority use violent when it is “appropriate”. when it feels civility is being threaten. and i am not talking about police violence in a direct sense, where individual cases of police abuse and brutality are most notable. it is the indirect coercion that is concerning, the system that support the use of violence to restore order. to many of us, the ritualistic and invincible assertion of aggression and authority seem unfelt, even unknown. we have been accustomed to its violent, to some extent, we have accepted it as faith. and as long as we stay on the course of the system and happen to be born in the right family in the right suburb (or perhaps work one’s way up “decently and honestly”), “direct violent” from the police would be non-existent except the gun has been pointing in your head the day your were born.