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The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (6th edn)

Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra
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date: 30 November 2023

p. 76934. Policing and the policelocked

p. 76934. Policing and the policelocked

  • Trevor Jones,
  • Tim Newburn
  •  and Robert Reiner


This chapter reviews some of the key themes in academic research and writing on the police and policing. It begins by discussing definitions of ‘policing’ and ‘police’, before outlining the development of academic research on policing in the USA and UK. The nature of police discretion is then discussed along with the factors that shape police decision-making and the implications of these for the accountability of policing agents and organizations. The next section reviews contrasting models of policing that have emerged over recent years, including community policing, problem-oriented policing, ‘zero tolerance’ policing and intelligence-led policing. Subsequently, two overarching developments within contemporary policing—pluralization (with a particular focus on private security) and internationalization—are explored. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the future of police and policing. The primary focus is upon policing in Britain, though many of the themes are similar across liberal democratic societies.

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