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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136494 Find in a Library
Title: Politics of the Police
Author(s): R Reiner
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 271
Sponsoring Agency: Wheatsheaf Books, Ltd
Brighton, Sussex, England
Publication Number: ISBN 0-7450-0092-4
Sale Source: Wheatsheaf Books, Ltd
16 Ship Street
Brighton, Sussex,
United Kingdom
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This book demonstrates the inherently political nature of policing, explores the concept of "policing by consent," and identifies its preconditions in an analysis of historical and social research on the police in Britain and America.
Abstract: The author argues that policing is at a critical watershed. Established in the early 19th century in the face of much political opposition, the police were able to legitimate themselves significantly with the public by the middle of the 19th century, both by depoliticizing policing and through the historical incorporation of the working class into the body politic. The turbulence of the 1970's repoliticized policing, with important factors being the 1981 urban riots and the 1984 miners' strike. These events made police strategy and control issues of partisan political controversy for the first time in over a century. Since 1981 and the Scarman Report, there has been a strong current of reform in police circles aimed at restoring their legitimacy. These efforts, however, are threatened by both government policy and the strength of some radical opposition to the police. This politicization of policing issues is dangerous both to the police and to citizens. Most discussions of policing are now polarized between the Tory view that the police can do no wrong and the radical demand for control by elected bodies. The hope for policing that respects the rights of minorities lies not in democratic control through elected authorities, but through a reassertion of the traditional legal and professional ideals of the police as a universalistic and impartial authority, albeit one that is sensitive to the need for public acceptance. Chapter notes, 506-item bibliography, and a subject index
Main Term(s): Political policing
Index Term(s): Foreign police; History of policing; Police subculture; Political influences
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