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Policing After the Crisis: Crime, Safety and the Vulnerable Public

NCJ Number
Punishment and Society Volume: 11 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2009 Pages: 359-376
Stuart Waiton
Date Published
July 2009
18 pages
This article attempts to identify the role played by politics in advancing the 'safety industry' in the United Kingdom, a role based upon the decline of any meaning in political and public life, resulting in crime and safety becoming a field of governance.
The growth of laws, surveillance and policing across British society can be linked back to changes under the Conservative governments of the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher had fought a 'battle for domination'. After the tenure of Margaret Thatcher, a quantitative and qualitative shift in governing towards a form of 'governing through crime' occurred. This article argues that the obsession with crime, antisocial behavior, and the regulation of everyday life did not come about as part of an aggressive form of neo-liberalism. The growth in law and the more direct regulation of society is seen as a consequence of the collapse of politics on both the left and the right. The role of politicians is to act as advocates for a diminished subject, the crime victim and the vulnerable public. Crime expanded as a field of governance is due both to the political elite's sense of diminished capacity and control over society and the construction of a more fragile subject that needed ever more protection. Notes and references