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The Politics of the Police

Fifth Edition

Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James W E Sheptycki

04 June 2019

ISBN: 9780198769255

376 pages

In Stock

Price: £34.99

A fascinating critique of policing from a team of leading policing scholars.


The Politics of the Police offers a geographical and historical overview of the law and politics of the police. This fifth edition covers a wider range of empirical and theoretical issues, encompassing a transnational scope and reflecting the growing diversity of policing forms in today's globalized world.

  • Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner and James Sheptycki, regarded as leading figures in the field, draw upon the findings of police research to provide readers with a fascinating critique of the history, sociology, and politicisation of the police
  • A stimulating and insightful discussion of the debates and controversies that surround the police, the book encourages readers to engage actively with the subject and to question established theories and perspectives
  • An extensive bibliography is provided for those keen to broaden their knowledge of policing and the research undertaken by different scholars

New to this edition

  • Four new chapters on: theories and models of police and policing; the establishment and diffusion of the modern police from the French Revolution to the 20th century; the pluralisation of policing; the politics of global policing
  • The chapter on media and policing has been entirely rewritten, moving beyond a focus on the content of representations of policing to encompass analysis of the significance of media technologies
  • The chapter on the police role, justice and effectiveness has been split into two new completely revised chapter

About the Author(s)

Benjamin Bowling, Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Kings College London, Robert Reiner, Emeritus Professor of Criminology, The London School of Economics and Political Science, and James W E Sheptycki, Professor of Criminology, York University, Toronto, Canada

Table of Contents

    PART I: Policing: Theory and Research
    1:Watching the watchers: theory and research in policing studies
    2:Theories and models of police and policing
    PART II: History
    3:Out of the blue: the establishment and diffusion of the modern police from the French Revolution to the 20th century
    4:Learning the blues: the establishment and legitimation of professional policing in Britain 1829-2018
    PART III: Social Research on Contemporary Policing Practice and Imagery
    5:The police role, function and effects
    6: A fair cop? Policing and social justice
    7:Below, beyond and above the police: pluralisation of policing
    8:Cop cultures
    9:The politics of global policing
    10:Mass media technology and police cultural imaginaries
    PART IV: Law and Politics
    11:Police powers and accountability
    Conclusion:Histories of the future


The Politics of the Police is a classic. This is essential reading for anyone interested in why politics matters to policing. - Michelle D. Bonner, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Victoria

Long awaited, the new edition of this classic is the book that every student, scholar and practitioner of policing must read. - David Dixon, Professor of Law, University of new South Wales

A rich and informative book that will be an important addition to academic and student reading lists. - Jenny Fleming, Professor of Criminology, University of Southampton

This book is an indispensable resource for social scientists interested in this contentious topic. - Didier Fassin, Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

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