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The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (7th edn)

Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra
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date: 30 May 2024

p. 63229. Policing and the policelocked

p. 63229. Policing and the policelocked

  • Trevor Jones,
  • Tim Newburn
  •  and Robert Reiner


In this chapter we review some of the key themes in scholarly work on policing, one of the major sub-fields within criminology. The focus is primarily upon the United Kingdom though many of the themes are familiar across all western democracies. We begin by considering what is meant by ‘policing’, before outlining the emergence of this field of academic research. The chapter then examines the development of modern policing, and the challenges of establishing and maintaining police legitimacy. This leads into a discussion of a series of key themes in policing research, including the operation and control of police discretion, occupational cultures, matters relating to diversity and discrimination, and the politics and governance of the police. The next section outlines distinctive policing ‘models’ that have emerged in recent times. The policing landscape is increasingly complex and the chapter concludes by considering two of the most significant developments: pluralization and transnationalization.

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