Models of policing

Authored by: R.I. Mawby

Handbook of Policing

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843925002
eBook ISBN: 9780203118238
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308529


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The police officer on the streets, the representative of an institution known as ‘the police’, is a concept that is familiar to most citizens of modern societies. It is a concept that we take for granted, but at the same time one that incorporates numerous inconsistencies and variations. For example, there is a marked difference between ‘policing’ as a process and ‘the police’ as an organisation. Policing, a term we might apply to the process of preventing and detecting crime and maintaining order, is an activity that might be engaged in by any number of agencies or individuals (see Chapter 7). It is, on the one hand, widely recognised that members of the public, especially victims, engage in policing in so far as they report crimes to the authorities and help identify the perpetrators. On the other hand, the private sector and agencies like Neighbourhood Watch and its less institutionalised (US) cousin, the Guardian Angels, probation officers enforcing drug-testing orders, social workers engaged in child protection work, street wardens employed by local councils and a myriad other agencies engaged in partnership work, co-operate in policing societies. The police as an institution, in contrast, is responsible for a range of services, not all addressing crime and disorder issues, as debates surrounding ‘core issues’ in England and Wales well illustrate (Mawby 2000). Yet the nature and extent of both policing and the police vary between different countries. This chapter focuses on the police as an institution and discusses the extent of this variation and also changes over time. But it also addresses the extent to which global influences, including ‘multilateralization’ (Bayley and Shearing 1996), mean that while police and policing within one country are becoming more diverse, on an international level convergence has occurred.

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