The institution of policing is frequently studied from the point of its structure, function, and evolution. Worldwide, policing emerged due to the impact of colonialism. There are various forms of formal policing, however, sociological research primarily concentrates on the work of police engaged in everyday functions.
The present-day police in Western societies emerged due to the Dublin city police which was founded in 1786. The police were unarmed, reactive officers who stood between the government and the people. Later, police which functioned similarly was adopted all over England, the US, Canada, and in British colonies. Over the years, the common image of the police has changed, however, its most vital functions remained the same.
At the present time, police are a number of coordinated legitimated organizations which are ready to apply force to the legally determined territory and on legal conditions. They can restore the order trough the tracking, surveillance, and arrest. Western democracies use public, private, and hybrid policing which serve to perform various functions of the police.
The way police are seen by the societies sometimes differ from what is stated in the legal terminology. People see the police as uniformed, reactive, service-oriented officers, however, the major policing functions are performed by special nonuniformed units who remain invisible in their work. It happens as most studies cover the police activity performed by the law-enforcement officers. Therefore, more attention in social studies shall be paid to specialized paramilitary units.