This clear, concise text sets out the relationship between political theory and criminology. It critically analyses key theories and debates to shed new light on criminological topics and the political ideas that lie beneath them. The book draws the attention of criminologists to political ideas, placing political themes at the heart of criminological speculation. Organized around key criminological concepts and issues, the book covers all the main topics, including:
- Power and ideology
- The nature of the state
- Social control and policing
- Economics and criminal activity
The book has been carefully developed to support practical teaching and learning. It contains chapter summaries, further reading and a comprehensive glossary, which combined, provide a comprehensive understanding of the themes. The book is essential for upper level undergraduates, postgraduates and academics in Criminology and Criminal Justice. It will also appeal to professionals, academics and students in Law and Politics.
Chapter 4: Police and Policing
Police and Policing
… the political neutrality or independence of the police cannot withstand serious consideration. It rests on an untenably narrow conception of ‘the political’, restricting it to partisan conflict. In a broader sense, all relationships, which have a power dimension, are political. Policing is inherently and inescapably political in that sense.
For most people the sight of police officers on the streets is the most obvious evidence of the criminal justice system at work in their community. Historically, at least, the police have always been seen as a reassuring presence on the streets. Yet, as McLaughlin has recently noted:
The police constable [also] occupies a complicated position in Britain's highly stratified social structure. He is supposed to be from as well ...