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Oxford University Press - Online Resource Centres

Hale et al: Criminology 3e

Chapter 23: Chapter synopses

The chapter provides a broad introduction to the key themes and debates that have been explored in the body of work on the police and policing in England and Wales. It is important to note that the concepts of police and policing are separate, with 'police' referring to the agency tasked with law enforcement and peace-keeping and 'policing' referring to activities carried out by a range of individuals and organisations rather than exclusively by the police. The chapter further addresses the meaning of policing and how the study of policing has become an important area of concern within criminology despite being largely ignored around the 1960s due to criminology's focus on criminals themselves. However since that time, such approaches have been increasingly challenged by the emergence of 'labelling' perspectives that highlight the socially constructed nature of crime and criminality. Policing was also receiving greater political attention due to the in increase in public disturbances since the 1950s culminating in such things as the miner's strikes in 1984. This coupled with highly publicised miscarriages of justice brought policing to the forefront of public concern.

The study of policing is now a major sub-field within criminology, with policing research undertaken by universities, national and local government, market research agencies, think tanks and pressure groups, as well as the police themselves (Newburn and Reiner, 2012).

This chapter provides an overview of some key themes within this major body of work. It begins by discussing the definition of ?policing?, and its growth as a focus of political concern and criminological enquiry, before outlining in brief the organization and structure of policing in England and Wales. The third section examines what the police actually do in practice and provides an overview of some contrasting models of policing. The next section explores several key debates within the policing literature. The primary focus is upon policing in England and Wales, although similar themes are visible across most Western industrial democracies.