In this first major empirical study of its kind, Jones and Newburn examine the growth of private policing as well as its relationship with, and implications for, the public police service. Beginning with a critique of the sociology of policing, the authors next provide a detailed analysis of the ideas of "private" and "public" as used here, and highlight the boundaries between different forms of policing. Competing theoretical explanations for the growth of private policing are then considered using a wide array of data extracted from the first-ever survey of the private security sector in Britain. Importantly, this book also studies the local level. By way of a case study, the authors examine the full range of Britain's police-work bodies, including the public police force, investigatory and regulatory agencies attached to the national and local government, and private security organizations. Jones and Newburn effectively rethink the meaning of "policing" in our time.