U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Police, Public Order and the State

NCJ Number
J D Brewer; A Guelke; I Hume; E Moxon-Browne; R Wilford
Date Published
245 pages
This study identifies trends in policing of public disorders across a sample of seven countries: Britain, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, the United States of America, Israel, South Africa, and China.
The analysis focuses on why the handling of disorder has become a controversial and topical issue in different parts of the world. The analysis for each country focuses on the background of law enforcement; its structure, organization, and finance; its formal structure of authority; the relationship between the police and the military; the types of public order situations that the police encounter; public perceptions of the police; and the role of the police as a political institution. The analysis concludes that the nature of the problems that provoke disorder varies considerably among nations. Sources of disorder include sectarian divisions, racial inequality, and the rights of national minorities. However, the degree to which a society is divided along ethnic, religious, or national lines does not necessarily match the extent of the challenge to public order. All the nations studied have public order legislation, but the procedures used, the powers of the government, and the frequency with which the powers are invoked vary. The military often assists the police in public order situations. The three main strategies for dealing with disorder are criminalization, accommodation, and suppression. These strategies are often combined. Tables, chapter notes, index, and 72 references.