The SAGE Dictionary of Policing


Edited by: Alison Wakefield & Jenny Fleming

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      List of Entries

      List of Contributors


      Dr Alison Wakefield, University of New South Wales, Australia

      Professor Jenny Fleming, University of Tasmania, Australia

      International Advisory Board

      Professor David H. Bayley, University at Albany, State University of New York, USA

      Professor Janet Chan, University of New South Wales, Australia

      Professor Clive Emsley, The Open University, UK

      René Lévy, Centre for Sociological Research into Law and Penal Institutions (CESDIP), France

      Professor Eugene McLaughlin, City University, UK

      Professor Peter Manning, Northeastern University, USA

      Professor John Muncie, The Open University, UK

      Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon, Victoria Police, Australia.

      Professor Clifford Shearing, University of Cape Town, South Africa

      Commissioner Simone Steendijk, Rotterdam-Rijnmond Police, The Netherlands

      Professor P.A.J. Waddington, University of Wolverhampton, UK


      Julie Ayling, The Australian National University, Australia

      Professor David Bayley, University at Albany, State University of New York, USA

      Adrian Beck, University of Leicester, UK

      Professor Trevor Bennett, University of Glamorgan, UK

      Dr Christopher Birkbeck, University of Salford, UK

      David Bradley, Victoria Police, Australia

      Professor Anthony A. Braga, Harvard University, USA

      Professor Marcos Luiz Bretas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      Professor Jean-Paul Brodeur, Université de Montréal, Canada

      Dr Fiona Brookman, University of Glamorgan, UK

      Tom Bucke, Independent Police Complaints Commission, UK

      Dr Karen Bullock, University of Surrey, UK

      Spencer Chainey, University College London, UK

      Professor Janet Chan, University of New South Wales, Australia

      Dr Adrian Cherney, University of Queensland, Australia

      Dr Phil Clements, University of Portsmouth, UK

      Dr Bankole A. Cole, University of Hull, UK

      Professor Adam Crawford, University of Leeds, UK

      Professor Chris Cunneen, University of New South Wales, Australia

      Associate Professor Mathieu Deflem, University of South Carolina, USA

      Dr Rebekah Delsol, Open Society Justice Initiative, UK

      Professor John Deukmedjian, University of Windsor, Canada

      Associate Professor Benoît Dupont, Université de Montréal, Canada

      Adam Edwards, Cardiff University, UK

      Charlie Edwards, Demos, UK

      Dr Graham Ellison, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland

      Professor Clive Emsley, The Open University, UK

      Dr Stephen Farrell, Keele University, UK

      Dr Jeremy Farrell, The Australian National University, Australia

      Professor Cyrille Fijnaut, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

      Professor Mark Finnane, Griffith University, Australia

      Professor Jenny Fleming, University of Tasmania, Australia

      Dr Gary Fooks, Bath University, UK

      Professor Peter Gill, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

      Detective Chief Inspector Stan Gilmour, Thames Valley Police, UK

      Professor Andrew Goldsmith, Flinders University, Australia

      Dr Ben Goold, University of Oxford, UK

      Professor Peter Grabosky, The Australian National University, Australia

      Professor Frank Gregory, University of Southampton, UK

      Silvia Guglielmi, Demos, UK

      Professor Steve Herbert, University of Washington, USA

      Associate Professor Vincent E. Henry, Long Island University, USA

      Professor Alice Hills, University of Leeds, UK

      Dr Katy Holloway, University of Glamorgan, UK

      Professor Ross Homel, Griffith University, Australia

      Professor Gordon Hughes, Cardiff University, UK

      Du Jinfeng, Chinese People's Public Security University, China

      Professor Les Johnston, University of Portsmouth, UK

      Trevor Jones, Cardiff University, UK

      Dr Jan Jordan, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

      Professor Susanne Karstedt, Keele University, UK

      Professor John Kleinig, City University of New York, USA and The Australian

      National University, Australia

      Ian Lanyon, Victoria Police, Australia

      Dr Maggy Lee, University of Essex, UK

      Dr Murray Lee, University of Sydney, Australia

      Professor Frank Leishman, University of Gloucestershire, UK

      Associate Professor Colleen Lewis, Monash University, Australia

      Professor Chris Lewis, University of Portsmouth, UK

      René Lévy, Centre for Sociological Research into Law and Penal Institutions (CESDIP), France

      Professor Ian Loader, University of Oxford, UK

      Professor Toni Makkai, The Australian National University, Australia

      Professor Peter Manning, Northeastern University, USA

      Dr Monique Marks, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

      Professor Lorraine Mazerolle, Griffith University, Australia

      Dr Abby McLeod, Australian Federal Police, Australia

      Professor Eugene McLaughlin, City University, UK

      Professor John Muncie, The Open University, UK

      Dr Kristina Murphy, Deakin University, Australia

      Andy Myhill, Home Office, UK

      Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, National Policing Improvement Agency, UK

      Professor Pat O'Malley, University of Sydney, Australia

      Juani O'Reilly, Australian Federal Police, Australia

      Professor Ken Pease O.B.E., Loughborough University, UK

      Professor Martine Powell, Deakin University, Australia

      Professor Tim Prenzler, Griffith University, Australia

      Professor Maurice Punch, London School of Economics, UK

      Dr Janet Ransley, Griffith University, Australia

      Professor Jerry H. Ratcliffe, Temple University, USA

      Professor Robert Reiner, London School of Economics, UK

      Dr Herbert Reinke, University of Wuppertal, Germany

      Dr Annette Robertson, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

      Associate Professor Mike Rowe, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

      Professor Rick Sarre, University of South Australia, Australia

      Professor Clifford D. Shearing, University of Cape Town, South Africa

      Professor James Sheptycki, York University, Canada

      Professor Lawrence W. Sherman, University of Pennsylvania, USA and University of Cambridge, UK

      Professor Wesley Skogan, Northwestern University, USA

      Professor Nigel South, University of Essex, UK

      Professor Peter Squires, University of Brighton, UK

      Dr Peter Stelfox, National Policing Improvement Agency, UK

      Commissioner Simone Steendijk, Rotterdam-Rijnmond Police, The Netherlands

      Professor Philip C. Stenning, Keele University, UK

      Dr Heather Strang, The Australian National University, Australia

      Associate Professor David Thacher, University of Michigan, USA

      Professor Robyn Thomas, Cardiff University, UK

      Professor Nick Tilley, Nottingham Trent University, UK

      Professor Sirpa Virta, University of Tampere, Finland

      Professor P.A.J. Waddington, University of Wolverhampton, UK

      John Wadham, Equality and Human Rights Commission, UK

      Dr Alison Wakefield, University of New South Wales, Australia

      Professor Sandra Walklate, University of Liverpool, UK

      Professor David S. Wall, University of Leeds, UK

      Dr Don Weatherburn, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Australia

      Professor Rob White, University of Tasmania, Australia

      Dr Chris A. Williams, The Open University, UK

      Dr Dean Wilson, Monash University, Australia

      Romy Winter, University of Tasmania, Australia

      Associate Professor Jennifer Wood, Temple University, USA

      Professor Kam C. Wong, Xavier University, USA

      Professor Lucia Zedner, University of Oxford, UK


      The origins of this book lie in the success of The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, thoughtfully conceived and skilfully edited by Eugene McLaughlin and John Muncie. It was the idea of Eugene and Caroline Porter at Sage that the same successful model could be applied to police studies, and we are very grateful to them both for trusting us to take it forward, and for the support and guidance they have continuously provided.

      We have also benefited greatly from the support of our International Advisory Board of policing scholars and practitioners, who have provided advice on the list of terms, reviewed entries and themselves authored contributions. The Board comprises professors David H. Bayley (US), Janet Chan (Australia), Clive Emsley (UK), Eugene McLaughlin (UK), Peter K. Manning (US), John Muncie (UK), René Lévy (France), Clifford D. Shearing (South Africa) and P.A.J. Waddington (UK), and Commissioner Simone Steendijk of Rotterdam-Rijnmond Police (Netherlands) and Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon of Victoria Police (Australia).

      Special thanks are owed to our 110 contributors, many of them the leading international experts in their fields, on whose scholarship the book is founded. We are proud to include academics and practitioners from 14 countries, and receiving their well thought out and authoritative contributions has been the most enjoyable aspect of this project as we have seen the book take shape.

      Finally, thanks are due to all who have helped with the organization of this project. We have greatly appreciated the patience, enthusiasm and sheer hard work of Caroline's team at Sage, including Sarah-Jayne Boyd, Ian Antcliff and Louise Skelding and the efficiency of Gita Raman and her team at Keyword in preparing the manuscript. Special thanks to Laura Bevir for the comprehensive index. Richard Wild made an important contribution to the book's early development, and we are grateful to the administrative staff at the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies for their assistance. Finally, particular thanks are due to family, friends and colleagues, particularly Rod Rhodes and Carrie-Anne Myers, for their help and encouragement along the way.

      Editors' Introduction

      The development of The Sage Dictionary of Policing owes much to the success of its sister publication The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, a book that combines the accessibility of a reference book with the depth and rigour of peer-reviewed original scholarship. This is by virtue of the expert, international contributors on whose work the latter is founded, and the skill of Eugene McLaughlin and John Muncie in conceiving an invaluable framework as useful to established scholars as to the criminology undergraduates who so routinely quote from their book. Such a successful formula we were all too willing to appropriate, and apply to one of criminology's most prominent sub-disciplines, academic police studies.

      In speaking to a discipline that is pragmatic as well as academic in orientation, however, our project presented its own challenges. How to blend the theoretical and practical? How to balance attention to the organization, tasks and challenges of state policing agencies with those of other players in the corporate and voluntary sectors? How to discuss practices that are usually nationally or locally organized in ways that serve readers around the world? Would it be possible to speak equally well to both our academic and practitioner audiences? In seeking to address these dilemmas we have found ourselves embarking on a journey that is still in progress.

      The difficulties in defining and capturing the activity of policing in such a way are conveyed in the Encyclopædia Britannica entry for ‘police’, authored by Michael Banton, William Walsh and Jean-Paul Brodeur (2006). They emphasize how no uniform, universal system of policing has ever emerged, and point to the host of factors that help to explain the diversity of policing systems, agencies and activities worldwide. History, particularly colonialism, has shaped the early development of policing systems internationally. Demographic trends are relevant, since police forces initially emerged in urban areas, with rural areas – in countries where the continental European model of policing has applied – often being policed according to different centralized and often military systems. Political cultures, characterized for example by the degree of a society's democratic advancement, present differing conceptions and systems of police accountability. The types of crime – and methods of committing them – that are most common in a given society determine the way policing resources are directed and the nature of the policing activities carried out (as, we would argue, do public expectations in that society). Such varying policing needs and expectations around the world are addressed by a host of different bodies, with police forces, private security companies, intelligence agencies, armed services and voluntary organizations prominent among the many types of contributor.

      The framework we have developed in this Dictionary is grounded in an international, pluralist view of policing as both a substantial area of scholarship and a fast-changing field of practice. The editors’ respective personal missions in challenging state-centred conceptions of policing, and working collaboratively with police agencies in an effort to bind research to practice, are embedded in its structure. As an academic discipline, police studies is an established and fast changing, multidisciplinary field, bringing together robust historical inquiry, well developed sociology, theoretical diversity, and applied, evidence-based knowledge. In this book, these diverse perspectives come together – and sometimes collide – in the first mass market policing textbook tailored to an international readership. Its contributors are drawn from both the academic and practitioner communities, selected on the basis of their international standing in relation to the topic areas. Their authoritative and incisive contributions provide instructive overviews of core and emerging areas of police studies from a variety of perspectives.

      The Dictionary entries might be thought of as dividing into three thematic areas concerned with analyzing policing, managing policing and doing policing. As regards the former, one of the book's highlights is a detailed history entry, comprising subsections from an international selection of contributors reflecting the development of policing across and within nine areas of the world, from Africa to the United States. Such analysis of policing extends also to theoretical interpretations, with a particular emphasis placed on examining the impact of globalization and pluralization processes on policing; and research, with a detailed overview provided of the evolution of policing research and the methodologies that are most prominent within police studies.

      The management of policing has become almost as important in the policing literature as analysis of policing itself. Public administration trends and a preoccupation with police reform, professionalism and accountability have come to inform to a significant degree police work and its management. New public management theory continues to shape and determine the management of police organizations in many countries. Notions of professionalism and leadership are now important concepts that a manager has to promote and apply. The measurement of performance and the need to work with other agencies and actors in pursuit of partnership are all skills the manager is expected to develop. Many of the entries here reflect these imperatives and hint at the difficult and complex task of police management. Despite the differences across countries that we might expect, what is also perhaps somewhat surprising is just how many management strategies have been adopted and adapted for local consumption.

      Perhaps the most representative of the thematic areas in this volume is that of doing policing. Various contributors, both practitioners and academics, have provided accounts of ways in which specific crime problems are actively policed, such as homicide, property crime, sexual assault and drugs. Broader functions are also identified. So crime prevention, public order policing and order maintenance are all represented as distinctive ways of policing in today's world. The sometimes controversial issues of police discretion and independence are discussed here and may be considered, for example, in the context of police powers of arrest and search and their use of force. A number of entries canvass the challenges of policing in the twenty-first century, particularly those challenges on the international stage such as cross-border policing, terrorism and organized crime. Broader and more complex challenges for police practitioners are also strongly represented in the Dictionary. How do police develop strategies to ensure that public expectations can be met? How to ensure police legitimacy? How to deal with the wicked issues of institutional racism and consent? What indeed have been the main drivers of police activity in trying to develop strategies to address these thorny dilemmas?

      Any understanding of how police do business has to include the various ways in which police engage with other actors to address crime and community problems generally. Community policing has become a ‘catch-all’ phrase for police and their organizations. Is it rhetoric or reality? This wide-ranging concept has been developed as one of the Dictionary's more detailed entries whereby short contributions from academics and practitioners from around the world discuss the concept from their particular perspective. Multi-agency policing, private policing, third party policing and security networks all reflect the process of pluralization that has come to characterize the ‘governance of security’ across the world. In compiling this Dictionary, the editors have been mindful of these issues and have sought to guide and develop the various contributions in order that a specific issue may be informed by a variety of entries.

      Each entry in the Dictionary should be read as a discrete essay, clarifying the parameters of the topic, making observations about important and topical themes, and reflecting tensions and debates surrounding the matter at hand, be it a theoretical concept or an established area of practice. The entries share a common format, beginning with a definition: a short statement about the concept that specifies its meaning and the boundaries of the author's interpretation. As with The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, this is where the similarity to a standard dictionary ends. A distinctive features section follows, in which our authors identify what they consider to be the important characteristics of their concept. This has led to a rich variety of perspectives incorporating histories, theoretical perspectives, research studies and practical considerations. Not wishing to be too prescriptive, the editors provided contributors with the freedom to establish and develop their topics from their own scholarly perspectives. The views and opinions expressed in the individual entries are therefore those of the authors. The final substantive section in each entry is an evaluation, in which the authors provide critical and reflective appraisals of their concept, highlighting key debates and drawing attention to perceived contradictions in research, topical issues and possible future developments. Styles of course vary. While some contributors have concentrated on the distinctive features of a particular concept others have put more emphasis on evaluation. Contributors have also provided recommendations of related entries in a list of associated concepts, and these can be used in conjunction with the index to direct readers to linked topics. Finally, suggested key readings allow readers to pursue further points that the authors have raised, and to gain a broader understanding of each concept. The entries in effect provide the building blocks for future exploration.

      The development of this book was not only inspired by the authors of The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, which we recommend readers to adopt as a companion text to this book as it elaborates on many of the core criminological concepts that are mentioned. It was the idea of Eugene McLaughlin, and Caroline Porter at Sage Publications, and we are privileged to have been entrusted with this important project.

      We have stated that this book reflects a journey that is still continuing. It does not (yet) claim to be a comprehensive overview of police studies. There are still themes to develop, theoretical and ideological perspectives to incorporate, and international dimensions to reflect. Between now and the publication of the second edition, we will be listening to feedback, identifying new avenues of inquiry and updating existing contributions. We welcome comments, ideas and expressions of interest in being part of this ongoing project.


      May 2008

      Banton, M.P., Walsh, W.F. and Brodeur, J.P. (2006) ‘Police’, in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
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