Police and Mediation: Natural, Unimaginable or Both

  • Maria R. VolpeEmail author
Part of the Clinical Sociology: Research and Practice book series (CSRP)


Police interventions that are universally recognizable as using mediation have very deep roots in law enforcement. By chance or by choice, police have historically played a role in getting in the middle of disputing parties. They are either called to a scene or come upon it as part of their routine work and find themselves having to assume the intermediary role. Depending on the larger culture in which they are situated, organizational structure within which they operate, and police officers’ own ability to intervene, the police officers have served as mediators. Such intervention has often been undertaken as a natural part of policing with officers intervening intuitively by using their own people and communication skills. As mediation has gained popularity and acceptance, however, police departments around the world are beginning to look more carefully at how officers are trained and how mediation fits into policing. In addition to police officers mediating on the scene, there are other ways in which they can use mediation. For example, they can refer cases to mediation programs or participate in mediation sessions themselves. While policing and mediation may coexist nicely and mediation is an important tool for police, the use of this process in policing has been questioned. Given officers’ ability to use force, authority to take action, and need for public accountability, mediation by police officers in the police context clashes with many of the accepted mediation principles. As a result, critics cannot imagine police officers mediating. Drawing largely from policing in the United States, this chapter examines the use of mediation in the police context, perhaps one of the most complex and controversial settings where mediation occurs, and discusses how police use of mediation can be both natural and unimaginable worldwide.


Police Officer Collective Bargaining Police Department Restorative Justice Police Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dispute Resolution Program, John Jay College of Criminal JusticeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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