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Age Influence on the Support for Police Action


Police action is a common phenomenon in the whole world. While there are some people who support this concept and the others who are opposing the same, the concept of police action is an integral part of many states. It only waits for its time to erupt. This paper seeks to address to what extent, if any, age influences the support for police action. The underlying hypothesis is that old aged people are in support of the idea of police action. This is contrary to the position being held by the young people who, according to the hypothesis, are not in favor of police action. The paper analysis shall depend on the analysis conducted through the SPSS methods of research analysis.

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This analysis seeks to determine the support that the use of police action gets based on the age demography. The analysis shall focus on how age influences the support and opposition to the use of police action. Different surveys have shown that, indeed, age has a major influence on whether a certain group of people supports or opposes the police action (Sullivan, 2008). According to Sullivan, the research stated that around 73 percent, which is more than two-thirds of those people are over fifty-five years of age, supported the need for the use of police force. This is comparable to 54 percent, which was from the eighteen to thirty-four age groups favoring the same. This is also comparable to 63 percent of those between 35 -54 of age. From the trend, it is quite obvious that police action enjoys more support as the age increases. Young people may also tend to think that police action sometimes infringes on the means through which change and revolution may be arrived at.

The paper seeks to address the connection that exists between the difference in age and the support or opposition to the concept of police action. In the analysis, the paper shall aim at trying to unveil why is it that old age groups are in support of police action while the young people are not. In doing so, the paper shall investigate the underlying factors pinning the difference in taking a stand as to whether to support police action. In addressing this, the analysis shall rely on two variables. These are age and the extent of the police action involved.

Restating the Hypothesis

In Restating this hypothesis, the research shall try to create a link between the Dependent Variable and the Independent Variable. The hypothesis is that old people support the use of police force more than the younger generation. The link that the analysis shall be seeking to find is whether age has an impact on the position held regarding the police action concept. The main difference in the line of thinking here is attributed to the age of the involved people. In most cases, older people are likely to favor the use of police force. The younger people are likely to be against the use of force. One of the main reasons behind this is that old men believe that the use of police force is normally directed to rowdy and very prone to cause chaos, which may call for the use of police force to quell it. Young people are energetic, and this makes it easier for them to be able to use force that needs to be countered by police action.

For instance, it is more likely for a young person to forcefully risk arrest compared to an old person. Another reason could be because the old people know that if the police do not use force to the rowdy and rioting youths chances are they (the old people) might end up being the victims of violence from the young people. On the other hand, young people believe that the police do not have to use force whenever they are dealing with them. The young people have the tendency to use force whenever they encounter the police. This is not common with the old aged people. Sometimes the old age people fear the young age people. Although there are some other factors that come into play when discussing use of police force, this analysis shall be limited to the nature or extent of the police force and the age of those supporting or opposing it. In order to have an analysis for the determination of how age affect the police action, we first need to clearly set out the variables. The two variables involved here are age and the police action itself. To commence, I will investigate age as an independent variable on its own. In order to be able to measure a variable it is important that the empirical observations to be made are clearly set out and decided upon (Johnson et al, 2008). In this case age shall be the number years that a person has since birth.

My dependent variable shall be the police action itself. Police action had been defined earlier in this paper. In this case what I consider is the fact that there are people who support police action and those who oppose. That is why police action forms the basis of my dependant variable. This shall be my ordinary variable. An ordinary variable is always a variable that is measurable from low to high. The extent of police action can be said to be variable because the extent which the government agencies, that is the military and the police can be measured.

In order to start the methodology, I need to bring in the independent variable which is the age factor. Next is to try and make a connection between age and the support for the concept of police action. The test for whether a connection exists can be done through cross tabulation of the variables that are being used. In case a connection exists, then the next step shall be to carry out a cross-tabulation of the two related variables. Cross tabulation refers to a certain matrix which usually shows the distribution of a single variable in a category of another variable to which they are related (Babbie & Zaino, 2010).

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The next step shall encompass the measurement of association. This is very important as it is used to determine any relationship that exists between the two variables. It is important to determine the extent of any association between the two involved variables. The establishment of a connection is important in the analysis.

Identifying the independent and dependent variables

The variables that will be involved in this analysis shall be police action and age. Police action shall be a dependent variable. On the other hand, age shall be an independent variable. The rationale behind this is that the police action shall depend on the action as well as the age of the person to whom the action is inflicted upon. On the other hand, age is the independent variable because age does not depend on any other independent factor. This means that while we can clearly increase the intensity of police action, the same cannot be said about age.

Police action refers to action of war undertaken by a country’s military. The special case for police action is that there is no formal declaration of war. Sometimes this is taken in order to quell a certain uprising or political upheavals in a nation. It is important to note that this is normally legal within the premises of international law. According to Webster’s Dictionary police action is said to be a localized military action that is undertaken in the absence of any formal declaration by the regular state police against those people who are suspected to be gross violators of international peace and order. The age is an independent factor as it is not associated with any other factors.

The dependent variable that shall be used is the police action (POLHIT), while the independent variable to be used is the age. While police action is legal there is a need to find out the public opinion about it. After all, the police action is normally invoked for the sake of peace. The irony is that sometimes even this peace that is desired. Also to be taken into account is the effect and the impacts that are associated with the police action. Ideally, police action is supposed to leave the population happy. The concept of police action is closely connected to the concept of third party policing which was described in the broad sense to be:

“…. Police efforts to convince or coerce non-offending persons to take actions which are outside the scope of their routine activities, and that are designed to indirectly minimize disorder caused by other persons, or reduce the possibility that crime may occur. Though the ultimate target of police action remains a population of actual and potential offenders, the proximate target of third-party policing is an intermediate class of non offending persons who are thought to have some power over the offenders’ primary environment. The police use coercion to create place-guardianship that was previously absent, in order to decrease crime and disorder opportunities. Third-party policing is both defined and distinguished from problem- and community-oriented policing by the sources and the targets of that coercive power” (Buerger & Mazerolle 1998).

The province of police action is meant to protect the citizens from any uprising that would disturb the peace that exists in the society. The police action is sometimes questionable as to how it accomplishes its intended target. The government normally plays politics with the whole concept of police. For instance in case of protests against the government in the running of public affairs, the government may usually invoke this concept as a means of repressing these uprising groups. A good illustration is shown when the government machinery such as the police and the military to disperse protesting crowds. In some cases these protests may be the foundation of a very fundamental change that maybe is needed by the nation in order to move forward politically. Therefore police action actually undermines these protests as a precursor to change.

According to Reiss (1971), that police authority is normally weakest when officers have the leeway to act on their own initiative. On the contrary, the authority is strongest when they are acting on the behalf of a citizen who has requested assistance. The police normally act not under the request of any citizen but rather acting under the direct and the authority of the government.

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The Analysis

The police intervention is not in all cases justified simply by the failure on the part of the place managers to ensure that they fulfil their part of the contract with other parties such as the tenants or even place-users. These are left to be covered by the providence of civil matters which are always enforced in accordance with the priorities as well as the schedules that exist and in the appropriate agency. Third-party policing is important because it is invoked only when the managerial sector has gone and neglected matters which create additional problems for the public peace as well as other third parties. Especially those are not party to the primary agreement may be between landlord-tenant or sometimes owner-customer relationship and other related examples.

Police action sometimes includes police hitting citizens on this issue of hitting the citizens there are divided views. There are some who are in support of this while there are others who are against this. The views differ in age groups generally. It is also important to know that other factors such as personal experience. Some may also support the use of police action in certain neighborhoods which have more incidents of violent crime or rowdy rioting. Others would not support the police action at all owing to the fact that they have experienced the violence of being hit by the police and would not like any other person to go through the same. The age is not really a great influence on its own as variable. People of different ages have gone through different experiences which end up shaping their views as to whether or not support police action.

Police Action Index
Sample Size 1248
0 Restrictive View of Police Hitting Suspects – never okay to hit the suspect
Age 18-29 77
Column % 6%
Age 30-34
Count 238
Column % 19%
Age 38-60
Count 756
Column % 61%
Age 65 and above
Count 130
Column % 10%
4 Permissive Views of Police Hitting Suspects – allow under special situations
Count 47
Column % 4%

The analysis shall delve into the response towards police action. From the test carried out the conclusion shall tell whether indeed the hypothesis is actually supported by the available data or not. The connection between the age and those who are in support or in opposition shall be considered. From the tabular result shown below we shall be able to deduce whether indeed there is a connection between age and supporting or opposing the concept of police action. These are the foundational ingredient of the whole analysis.

polrec * agerec Crosstabulation
Agerec Total
18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
Polrec Restrictive Count 15 23 21 18 77
% within agerec 6.8% 5.0% 6.3% 8.0% 6.2%
Moderate Count 169 395 261 163 988
% within agerec 76.5% 85.3% 78.9% 72.1% 79.6%
Permissive Count 37 45 49 45 176
% within agerec 16.7% 9.7% 14.8% 19.9% 14.2%
Total Count 221 463 331 226 1241
% within agerec 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

From the table it is quite evident that from the different percentages that have been exhibited, it is possible to see which age group is more restrictive. From these percentages it becomes quite axiomatic that indeed most of the old aged people indeed are in support of the issue of the police action.

Chi-Square Tests
Value ddf Asymp. Sig. 2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 19.026a 6 .004
Likelihood Ratio 19.194 6 .004
Linear-by-Linear Association .969 1 .325
N of Valid Cases 1241
a. 0 cells (.0%) have expected count less than 5. Theinimum expected count is 13.71.
Symmetric Measures
Value Asymp. Std. Errora Approx. Tb Approx. Sig.
Ordinal by Ordinal Gamma .052 .055 .947 .344
N of Valid Cases 1241
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null hypothesis.

The values expressed above are not assuming any null hypothesis. A null hypothesis normally assumes that there is typically no any relationship between two variables. In this case, we have totally ignored the null hypothesis. This is because while there might be no relationship between age and the support of police action there could be some other factors that are involved which come to play. There if a relationship is to exist, chances are other factors are also to be involved. These factors could be race, gender or even area from which these people live. All these come to play when the decision to support or oppose the police action is involved.

The value of the error involved is the asymptotic error. This is normally an approximation and not the real value of the error. This is important since it covers for small errors that might have occurred during the conduct of the whole research and its analysis. These allowances for errors make the analysis be realistic and also acceptable. There is no perfect research and therefore a perfect analysis without any allowance for error is not realistic at all. The errors allowed provides for errors that could have arisen during the computation of the figures from the data set. It also allows for errors that may have arisen when the research was being conducted. There are normally some people who are not sure of whether they are in support of the police action or if whether they are in opposition against the same.

The importance of the null hypothesis as well as the allowance for the asymptomatic error cannot be ignored since they form an important part of the whole analysis. They particularly make the analysis to be realistic and true.


The results are matching with the hypotheses. Important to note, is that there are some other factors which are not included in the testing. While age is uniformly applied, the tests have not taken into account other variations such as gender, race and other demographic variances. However from the tests and results were expected to show that the police action is indeed gets more support with the increasing age. This would have been so if the hypothesis were true. The hypothesis is therefore proved negative by that particular test. However, in the actual world too, there is a tendency of the old age people to be afraid of any protests and uprising which are normally the precursor of the use of police action (Sherman, 1987). The youth or younger people are against the use of police action since it basically seeks to kill of the right of people to protest as well as have an opportunity to stage a revolution.

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My hypothesis was that old people support the use of police action more than young people. This means as one grows older they are indeed prone to support the police using force to quell any uprising that may arise then. The fact that old people are in support of police action means that they disfavour the protests usually led by the youths to foster change or express themselves against tyrannical acts of the state or the government that exists in charge.

The tests from cross tabulation have clearly shown that there is no connection between age and the support and or opposition to the police action. This is shown by the trends that are shown in the tabular representation of the data analyzed. Therefore in order to support or oppose any police action age is not an influencing factor. This could be attributed to the fact that the police is action is normally influenced by other factors. These factors could be other things such as race, gender and other politically motivated reasons. Most people will favour police action only where it is used to quell protests triggered by some actions he is in support of. In some instances difference in opinion will determine whether or not to support the factors that bring the protests.


Babbie, E. H. & Zaino, J. (2010). Adventures in Social Research Data Analysis Using SPSS 17.0 and 18.0 for Windows, 7th Edition. California: Pine Forge Press.

Buerger, M. E. &. Mazerolle L.G (1998). “Third-Party Policing: A Theoretical Analysis of an Emerging Trend.” Justice Quarterly 15 (2): 301-327.

Johnson, J. B., Reynolds, H.T. & Jason M. (2008). Political Science Research Methods, 6th Edition. Washington DC: CQ Press.

Reiss, A.J., Jr. (1971). The Police and the Public. CT: Yale University Press.

Sherman, L.W. (1987). Repeat Calls to Police in Minneapolis. Washington, DC: Crime Control Institute.

Sullivan, S. (2008). 63 per cent of respondents support the creation of a regional police force. Web.

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