Policing, surveillance and law in a pre-crime society: Understanding the consequences of technology based strategies.

auteurs Rosamunde van Brakel
  Paul De Hert
tijdschrift Cahiers Politiestudies (ISSN: 1784-5300)
jaargang Jaargang 2011
aflevering 20. Technology-led policing
onderdeel Artikelen
publicatie datum 25 augustus 2011
taal English
pagina 165

The last decades have seen several trends emerging in policing, the policing landscape has become fragmented, (surveillance) technology is starting to play an increasingly important role in policing practices and recently new police models are more and more geared to predicting what will happen in the future. A first goal of this article is to explore new developments in policing and more specifically the focus will be on the huge expansion of the use of surveillance technologies by police, and the growing belief amongst both policy makers and police that it is possible, to a certain extent, by using surveillance technology to predict crime before it happens. A second goal is to explore a number of important unintended consequences that arise as a result of what we will call ‘preemptive policing’.
For this exploration the article draws from several disciplines; it reviews literature on policing, but will also venture into surveillance studies and science and technology studies. The goal of this contribution is not to present empirical data to test the literature but to discuss certain unintended consequences that are raised by preemptive policing and to critically analyse how European law deals with these consequences through a discussion of several judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. For our exploration Garland’s much cited theory of the ‘culture of control’ is used as a theoretical backdrop to contextualize the trends in policing that have led to the emergence of pre-emptive policing. The article shows the fundamental importance of taking into account social and legal issues arising when deciding upon the deployment of new surveillance technologies by police and that proportionality, transparency, non-discrimination and due process need to take centre stage in the development of new police models