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Policing in an Age of Austerity uniquely examines the effects on one key public service: the state police of England and Wales. Focusing on the major cut-backs .
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For Brogden and Ellison But preserving social order is not all bad and according to Reiner However, if these functions are defined too widely, then the police start to adopt roles more suitable for other agencies, community groups or volunteers. An emphasis on order preservation rather than order production is helpful for understanding the role of the police.

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Order production is for others such as parents and schools who have roles in producing orderly citizens although, of course, also citizens that challenge the status quo. Yet, as Reiner notes, the police have increasingly been required to produce order. Areas where the police roles have been stretched perhaps too widely - including in the production of order - are considered next.

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What are the police for? Re-thinking policing post-austerity | Andrew Millie -

How did the police become so wide? A wide definition of policing is not new. According to Lee , cited in Banton, Many of these tasks were passed onto other agencies; however, others were added to the police remit such that, by the s the Conservative government attempted to lighten the load — albeit unsuccessfully Wilson et al.

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Tasks that were suggested as superfluous included missing persons, schools work, noise nuisance, event stewarding, court summons, court security, immigration and certain traffic duties Millie, Some activities have since moved to other agencies, for instance, with local authorities taking over noise nuisance, private security being used for court work and Highways Agency Traffic Officers taking on some traffic duties.

Despite such developments, over time many responsibilities have been added to the police task, either by government or through processes of empire building. The question is why this might be the case. As Giddens pointed out In this context it made sense for the police to have greater involvement in wider aspects of social policy. Drawing on US practice Simon, , police officers were routinely stationed within school premises to deal with student behaviour and to provide a permanent link between the school and police.

In effect, discipline issues that were traditionally dealt with by the school became the concern of the police, in a form of criminalisation of education policy Millie and Moore, According to the Police Foundation It was thought that future offending could be risk-managed.


Individual officers may have the skills to fulfil these roles; however the involvement of the police changes fundamentally the relationship between supervisor and offender. If crime prevention is an overriding consideration then schooling is important because educated children are less likely to be criminals as much as going to school improves their life chances. Similarly, effective offender supervision becomes important because it reduces crime as well as assists with the rehabilitation process.

Such change in emphasis has alternatively been seen as the criminalisation of social policy Crawford, If police officers become less involved in such activities - leaving school discipline to educators and offender supervision to probation workers2 - then there is the prospect for the decriminalisation of aspects of social policy.

In these areas too, the risk paradigm has been influential. It is arguable whether the police are best suited for coordination, and whether this is a task more suited to the fire and rescue service. Similarly, others may be better placed for family liaison work. According to Davis Hillyard, may not wish to help the police or will not seek the assistance of family liaison.


A focus on risk has led to an expansion of policing responsibilities in other areas, even where such expansion causes conflict between these roles and traditional intelligence gathering. The police are actively involved in immigration control Weber and Bowling, ; Cooper, , working alongside the UK Border Agency.

With a focus on controlling future risks, those seeking immigration or asylum can be seen primarily as potential criminals or terrorists. Event security is also an example of wide policing that might be better suited to other providers. Potential conflict between crime control, order maintenance and social service functions was made clear in the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel However, more recently the failure of private security firm G4S to provide adequate security personnel for the London Olympics BBC Online, shows that private provision may not be the answer either.

The core policing task If policing has become too wide then what should constitute the core policing task? This chapter has demonstrated that the policing task comprises a mix of crime control, social service and order maintenance functions. Yet how these functions have been defined has been stretched to include activities that may be better suited to other agencies. With a focus on risk, the police have become involved in activities such as schools work, probation, event security, immigration control and disaster management. There is scope for less police involvement in all these activities, leading to the decriminalisation of areas social policy.

This chapter argues for a narrower definition of crime control, social service and order maintenance. For instance, within crime control is the job of crime prevention. British Journal of Criminology 40 1 , , An International Journal 11 , , Crime, Law and Social Change 50 , , The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 51 5 , , Criminology, conflict resolution and restorative justice, , Articles 1—20 Show more.

A blueprint for democratic policing anywhere in the world? Police reform, political transition, and conflict resolution in Northern Ireland G Ellison Police quarterly 10 3 , , Policing in an age of austerity: Globalization, police reform and development: If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Read more Read less.

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