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NCJ Number: 78731 Find in a Library
Title: Guarding the State - The Police Response to Crisis Politics in Europe
Journal: British Journal of Law and Society  Volume:5  Dated:(Summer 1978)  Pages:69-88
Author(s): T Bowden
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Leverhulme Trust Fund
London, EC4A 1NR, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The historical development of police forces in Great Britain, France, West Germany, and Italy is traced, and the police response in these countries is assessed.
Abstract: The role of the police in the maintenance of public order has increased throughout Europe and in Britain since 1968, as Governments have found from bitter experience that the police are both financially and politically less costly than military forces operating in aid of the civil power. Moreover, the police seem less likely to exceed their defined role and seize the power of the State. All of the countries mentioned here have as part of their defense network one or more of the following: (1) military police forces, such as the French National Guard, which also serves as a civil force; (2) civil police forces with close army ties and styles, such as in Italy; and (3) special armed emergency police units, such as the British Special Patrol Group. Nevertheless, the potential for political excess by the police is increased by the necessarily discretionary nature of so many of the laws affect public order and national security. The risk of police abuse of discretionary powers increases in crises when established political and socioeconomic elites are fighting for their survival. Both government counterterrorism and repression can produce the State's collapse, just as can an irresolute, fluctuating response that swings between coercion and conciliation. A consistently balanced response is required. Forty footnotes are listed. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; Crisis management; France; German Democratic Republic; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Italy; Police discretion; Police response to terrorism; Police responsibilities
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