Making Sense of the Policing Division of Labour

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

Making Sense of the Policing Division of Labour

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This chapter returns to a number of the central debates in the sociology of policing (and the sociology of the police) and reflects on the direction of some of the most significant changes that appear to be taking place in contemporary policing. In particular, it reconsiders what is meant by ‘policing’ and whether it is possible to develop some form of conceptual definition of policing that does not separate out those activities undertaken by the (public) police. In addition, and by contrast, it examines whether, and on what basis, one can distinguish the ‘role’ of the public police from those of other policing bodies. The chapter also considers how useful the public-private dichotomy is in the context of policing and, by implication, what part the notion of ‘hybridity’ should play in this context. This discussion leads directly to an analysis of how to understand and conceptualise the boundaries of ‘public’ policing and ‘private’ policing. Finally, the chapter offers some reflections on the future of policing.

Keywords: sociology; policing; police; policing bodies; hybridity; public policing; private policing

Chapter.  9545 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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