The Future of Policing

The Future of Policing

The Future of Policing

The Future of Policing

Synopsis

This book offers a critical examination of the issues and dilemmas facing the future of policing in Britain. Based on a wealth of research and operational evidence gathered by the police service itself, the Home Office, and independent researchers, this book is comprehensive in its examination of the issues, but remains jargon-free and accessible, and will appeal to the general, well-informed reader.

Excerpt

Were we to resuscitate PC George Dixon he would find his surroundings somewhat strange. His uniform would be fairly familiar -- though he would notice that even that has subtly been altered -- but the entrance to his police station would be startling. There would no longer be uncontrolled access to members of the public and he would see that the open counter across which officers and local residents could in his day talk freely has been replaced with a glass screen and a voice box. Indeed he might think that the place had been re-designed with a siege in mind, an impression reinforced by the large police vans parked out back with wire-mesh visors to pull down over their windscreens. He would be equally struck by the changes in the cell block, now strangely termed the custody suite. Why, he might think, this extraordinarily elaborate form-filling, confinement for several hours, and recording by a sergeant for petty shoplifters and other minor offenders? Elsewhere there would be computers and electronic communications wizardry unknown in his day. But he would probably be most surprised that most of these aids -- aids handling vital and confidential information -- were being operated by civilians. Indeed he might remark that few of the personnel around the station were now in uniform. What are they? Detectives? Officers off duty? Clerks?

Policing, like most activities, has been transformed in the last thirty years. These changes reflect the changing character of the environment being policed. And the changes that have occurred in Britain reflect global trends. In this Chapter we shall consider some of these contextual trends in order to prepare the way for our discussion, in later chapters, of how and why policing has developed in the way that it has and what the options are for policing in the future.

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