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Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James Sheptycki

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.


The chapter outlines the development of modern police institutions around the world from the eighteenth century until the early twentieth. The discussion unfolds under five headings. The first is policing in Europe prior to the French Revolution and in the wake of the Napoleonic Empire. Next the evolution of the police under the common law in England up to the early nineteenth century is discussed. The third heading concerns the independent evolution of policing in the USA from independence to the First World War. European colonial and imperial police are the fourth consideration. Lastly, efforts to build modern police institutions in Iran, Japan, China, and Russia are considered. The chapter discusses a number of recognizable models for thinking about the politics of the police. It also considers contemporary concerns about the relationship between democratic and totalitarian policing, high and low policing, between police force and service.


Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James W E Sheptycki

In its fifth edition, The Politics of the Police has been revised, updated, and extended to take account of recent changes in the law, policy, organization, and social contexts of policing. It builds upon the previous editions’ political economy of policing to encompass a wide global and transnational scope, and to reflect the growing diversity of policing forms. This volume explores the highly charged debates that surround policing, including the various controversies that have led to a change in the public’s opinion of the police in recent years, as well as developments in law, accountability, and governance. The volume sets out to analyse what the police do, how they do it and with what effects, how the mass media shape public perceptions of the police, and how globalization, privatization, militarization, and securitization are impacting on contemporary police work. It concludes with an assessment of what we can expect for the future of policing.