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Re-Visioning Community Policing (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge With Experience From the West, P 127-137, 1996, Milan Pagon, ed. -- See NCJ- 170291)

NCJ Number
R T Stansfield
Date Published
11 pages
An analysis of the history of policing shows that there have been at least three major forms of policing in the modern era: vigilantes in the Agricultural Era, public police in the Industrial Era, and private police in the Information Era; although all of these police forms were in use during each of these eras, only one police form dominated and became the "average mode" of policing during any single era.
Three factors determine which form of policing will dominate and become the average model of policing during a particular era: the size of the economic surplus, the extent of private property, and the complexity of the community structure. The Information Revolution has produced additional increases in the economic surplus, the availability of private property, and the complexity of community structure. This has led to private police becoming the average mode of policing in informational communities. The ascendancy of private police during the Information Era, however, has not signaled the end of public police or vigilantes. To the contrary, the stratification of information communities has ensured that although private police dominate, public police and vigilantes continue to be used to reproduce order. In particular, vigilante groups are the police of choice among the poor in many communities; public police are the police of choice among the middle classes; and private police are the police of choice among elites. When viewed from the developmental logic of the "Spectrum of Policing," it can be seen that communities improvise the police forms they require to satisfy their security needs. Not only are public police not the dominant police form at present, but the community policing services they provide do not satisfy the safety needs of large parts of the community. True community policing is the result of the combined efforts of several different police forms. 6 figures and 6 notes