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Policing: An Introduction to Concepts and Practice

NCJ Number
Alan Wright
Date Published
220 pages
This book is an introduction to the meaning and practice of policing. The author seeks to explore the concept of policing in light of challenges faced by the police and other criminal justice agencies in a modern democracy.
The central thesis of this book is that policing takes many forms and that the term "policing" is appropriately extended to other agencies in our increasingly complex society. The author focuses primarily on British policing, but the text is meant to be an introduction to the study of policing overall, not simply to British policing. Chapter one provides an introduction to police work and how that work was formed as a response to the problem of social order. In particular, it shows how policing is facing an increasing crisis that challenges the very meaning of policing in modern society. Chapter two raises the notion that policing is now more appropriately defined as something any number of agencies, groups, or individuals can do. As such, the author identifies different "modes" of policing, including peacekeeping, crime investigation, risk-management, and the promotion of community justice. Chapter three is a discussion of peacekeeping as a mode of police practice. Issues of liberty versus social order are examined as the author describes how different localities adopt divergent solutions to this problem. Chapter three also includes a discussion of paramilitary policing techniques used in many jurisdictions. Chapter four examines crime investigation as a policing mode. The author builds a typology of crime investigation work spanning from high volume crime investigation to the investigation of organized crime and serious crime. Chapter five analyzes the policing mode of risk management. The concept of partnerships with other agencies and with citizens is examined as the author discusses the emerging trend of a more holistic approach toward community safety. Chapter six examines community justice and distinguishes this mode of policing from that of law enforcement. The issues of policing diverse cultures are discussed as the author engages in a debate about the efficacy of "professional" policing versus community policing. Finally, chapter seven engages in a more philosophical discussion concerning the politics of policing in a late modern era. The author seeks to understand the direction policing must take in our increasingly complex society. References, index