The Public–Private Dichotomy

Trevor Jones and Tim Newburn

in Private Security and Public Policing

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198265696
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682933 | DOI:

Series: Private Security and Public Policing

The Public–Private Dichotomy

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This chapter explores the multiple meanings below the surface of the concepts ‘public’ and ‘private’ and outlines the ways in which the public-private dichotomy retains utility in considerations of policing. The focus is upon the broad comparison between two analytically distinct versions of the public-private divide. The first type divides public from private by contrasting the collective (or matters pertaining to the collective) and the individual (or matters pertaining to individuals). The second focuses on the public sector and the private sector as well as public space and private space. A concern with what is happening to public space is central to the work of Shearing and Stenning, who explain the rise of ‘private policing’ primarily in terms of changes in the nature of property relations, and in particular the growth of what they called ‘mass private property’. They maintain that private security is growing, both in extent and pervasiveness, mainly because the amount of public space found on private property is increasing.

Keywords: mass private property; policing; collective; individual; public sector; private sector; public space; private space; private property; private security

Chapter.  10508 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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