Policing and Social Democracy: Resuscitating a Lost Perspective

author Robert Reiner
journal Cahiers Politiestudies (ISSN: 1784-5300)
volume Jaargang 2012
issue 25. Tides and currents in police theories
section Artikelen
date of publication Dec. 12, 2012
language English
pagina 91

This paper analyses a sharp transformation in the problematic of police research that has occurred since the 1990s. The change is from a primary focus on sociology of the police to sociology for the police, from critical and theoretical concerns to providing practicable solutions to immediate policing problems. This is related to wider changes in the discipline of criminology, and beyond that to seismic shifts in the political economy and culture. These are the supplanting of an at least implicitly social democratic analysis of the ultimate sources and solutions of social problems including crime and disorder, to a neo-liberal one that highlights
the politics of law and order. Whilst in the short run these appear to have worked as reflected in the fall in crime rates since the mid-1990s, the longer term issue is whether this has been symptom suppression, as a social democratic perspective suggests, rather than a stable basis for security which would require wider socio-economic justice.