Show Summary Details
The Politics of the Police

The Politics of the Police (5th edn)

Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James W E Sheptycki
Page of

Printed from Oxford Law Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 June 2023

p. 202. Theories and models of police and policinglocked

p. 202. Theories and models of police and policinglocked

  • Benjamin Bowling, Benjamin BowlingProfessor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Kings College London
  • Robert ReinerRobert ReinerEmeritus Professor of Criminology, The London School of Economics and Political Science
  •  and James SheptyckiJames SheptyckiProfessor of Criminology, York University, Toronto, Canada


The chapter outlines seven ideal-typical models for thinking about the politics of police. The models are not mutually exclusive and can be combined to form complex descriptions of theoretical relations. They rest on a variety of conceptual distinctions. Crime control and due process; high and low policing; police force and police service; organizational structure and officer discretion; state, market, and civil society; police knowledge work, investigation and intelligence; and the democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian politics of policing are all discussed. The police métier is discussed a set of habits and assumptions that envisions only the need to control, deter, and punish. It has evolved around the practices of tracking, surveillance, keeping watch and unending vigilance, and the application of force, up to and including fatal force. The chapter concludes that these seven models for thinking about police and policing facilitate micro-, meso-, and macro-level analysis.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription