IELTS Writing Task 2 | Should police officers be recruited from the communities where they work?

Task 2 | Essay 20
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Some observers say that police officers should be recruited from the communities where they work, so that they have local knowledge. Other people say that this is unnecessary, or even undesirable.
  • Where do you stand on this debate?
  • Is local knowledge essential in modern policing?
How to answer this essay?
  • Introduction:
  • Paraphrase the overall essay main topic.
  • Write a clear opinion.
  • 1st Body Paragraph
  • Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea.
  • Explain your main idea.
  • Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  • 2nd Body Paragraph
  • Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea.
  • Explain your new main idea.
  • Include specific details and examples.
  • Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  • Conclusion:
  • Summarise your main ideas.
  • Include a final thought.
Model Answer | Marked as Band 8
Cohesive connecting words that improve coherence in writing . Useful less common words that boost fluency in writing .
  • The need for effective, trustworthy police officers is paramount in society today, especially as criminals become more devious and creative. Regarding whether police should be locally hired, there is a case to be made on both sides of the debate.
  • Those who support local recruitment of officers point to the need for the police to understand the minutiae of the local community. For example, a community may have certain frictions or a history of a specific grievance, whether religious, political or otherwise. In such situations, the argument goes, the police need to show sensitivity, and also be able to anticipate the kinds of crimes that may be committed. Furthermore, local officers may find it easier to gain informants in the community, leading to stronger evidence at trials, higher conviction rates and a deterrent to crime through sentencing, imprisonment, fines or community service leading to rehabilitation of the offender.
  • On the other hand, it seems likely that officers from the community may in fact share some of the tendencies of the people they grew up with. For example, in countries such as Mexico, we see a high incidence of corruption among the local business and government community which is equalled by bribery among the police. A second objection is that local sensitivity may lead to the police failing to enforce laws fully, and effectively making exceptions for some offenders, which is unequitable towards law-abiding citizens. Finally, we must remember that police officers should have transferable skills, such as lateral thinking and investigative ability, which should transcend their background or the environment they are working in.
  • Overall, it seems to me that local knowledge is not absolutely essential for the police, whose skills should be effective in any context. Indeed, I agree with those who say that the risks of local recruitment outweigh the benefits, because of the danger of corruption and over-familiarity with potential offenders.
314 words

Useful Vocabulary & Expressions

  • trustworthy: capable of being trusted
  • paramount: of the greatest importance
  • devious: extremely clever in a dishonest way
  • minutiae: (pronounced ‘my-new-shy’) small details
  • grievance: an issue which makes people upset or angry for a long time
  • sensitivity: being alert to the circumstances of a specific group of people
  • to commit an offence/a crime: to do it
  • informants: people who tell the police useful information about criminals in their area
  • evidence: material presented in court to prove that someone is guilty or innocent
  • a trial: the legal procedure of prosecuting someone for a crime
  • conviction rates: the percentage of accused people who are convicted of (= found to be guilty of) a crime
  • a deterrent: something that makes people not want to do something (verb to deter) We have a guard dog as a deterrent against intruders at night.
  • sentencing: the action of telling a convicted criminal what the punishment is (verb to sentence)
  • imprisonment: punishment by being in prison
  • a fine: money paid as a punishment
  • community service: punishment by doing manual work for the public
  • rehabilitation: the process of changing a criminal’s character so that he does not commit more crimes (verb to rehabilitate someone)
  • an offender: a person who commits an offence
  • tendencies: inclinations due to your character (usually negative)
  • corruption: the crime when an official breaks laws to help people that he knows
  • bribery: the crime of giving money to officials to get something done (verb to bribe someone)
  • to enforce laws: to apply them to people
  • unequitable: unfair or different for different groups
  • law-abiding: following all the laws in a proper way
  • transferable skills: skills that can be used in different situations
  • lateral thinking: the ability to think creatively and in new ways
  • investigative: adjective from ‘to investigate’ to enquire about the causes of a crime or a problem
  • to transcend a situation: to be bigger or go beyond it
  • a context: a specific situation Armed police evidently work well in
  • to outweigh: to be more important than
  • over-familiarity: when an official is too friendly with the public
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