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Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

29. Policing and the police  

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.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

34. Policing and the police  

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.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Police

5. The police role, function and effects  

Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James Sheptycki

This chapter explores some of the political myths about police and policing by reviewing the research evidence on police practice. It considers the police role in theory and practice by focusing on three questions: what is the police role? what do the police actually do? and how well do they do it? It explores the original historical purpose of the police, the governmental authority on which it is based, the role of public opinion, why people call the police, the role and effectiveness of the police in crime control, and in broader social functions. The chapter concludes that the core function of the police is best analysed not in terms of any of their social functions but rather the special character of the means the police can bring to bear. Underlying the diversity of situations to which the police are called is the core capacity to use legitimate coercive force.