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Zero tolerance policing

Zero tolerance policing

Maurice Punch
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  • Book Info
    Zero tolerance policing
    Book Description:

    What is policing about and who defines it? This book examines these key issues by exploring the notion of zero tolerance and its application in different settings. Following its introduction in New York, and the seemingly dramatic reduction in crime, zero tolerance policing was taken up in a number of other countries, including the UK and the Netherlands. This book examines that process. It argues that this policy was, in fact, nothing more than a return to old-style, crime control policing. While it did foster the swift analysis of crime patterns and more assertive policing of public places, it could lean towards repression and demonising of certain groups. Examining the EEE Examining the EEEExamining the negative response of leading police officers and the policy's debatable impact on crime, the author concludes that zero tolerance in the UK and Netherlands was more of a populist political and media creation than a coherent policy. This book is far more than an authoritative analysis of zero tolerance. It is a valuable source for entering the debate about the big picture in policing which many stakeholders now wish to see. The approachable style of this book makes it ideal for students, academics, police practitioners and the lay reader to enter that debate.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-303-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
    (pp. ix-x)

    In this examination of British and Dutch interest in American–style zero tolerance policing, I place this policy transfer in relation to influential developments in policing and criminal justice in the wider, even global, environment. Police forces everywhere are under constant pressure to change and have become increasingly internationally oriented; looking at police appraisal of zero tolerance in two societies can inform us of shifting paradigms in policing, policy formulation and implementation in practice. To a large degree, police in both Britain and the Netherlands had traditionally adopted a ‘service and consent’ model of policing that was particularly strong in...

  2. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The police organisation has been subject to constant pressure to change during the past two decades. In the UK this has come from successive governments determined to reform the police into an effective and efficient public service. The model to be followed in this reforming campaign was that of management practice in business corporations. And, fed by political interests and intense media attention, a focal element in this near frenetic thrust has been crime reduction. In effect, there has been a ‘maelstrom of reform’, unrelenting pressure, a battery of shifting demands, constant reorganisations, management training with fresh skills and a...

  3. 2 The New York ‘miracle’
    (pp. 13-22)

    In the early 1990s, the US was enjoying economic prosperity, but there were two things blighting the most powerful and wealthy country in the world.

    First, urban America was afflicted by serious and violent crime and there was widespread fear of crime. The cover of Time magazine on 23 August 1993 read ‘America the violent: crime is spreading and patience is running out’ (Smolowe, 1993). Business Week (13 December 1993) wrote on ‘The economics of crime: the toll is frightening; can anything be done?’, and estimated the country’s total annual expenditure on crime to be some $90 billion. It is...

  4. 3 Zero tolerance policing: UK and the Netherlands
    (pp. 23-36)

    Of considerable interest is the path that ZTP took in the UK when it crossed the Atlantic. The UK appeared to be the western European state closest to the US in relation to ‘toughness’ in criminal justice, and the natural ally in the UK was the Conservative Party. Originally under Margaret Thatcher and from 1979 onwards, it had played the ‘law and order’ card. Conservative views were later typified by the statement in 1997, by the then Home Secretary Michael Howard, that ‘prison works’. Howard was suggesting that the threat of long sentences for serious crime has a deterrent effect;...

  5. 4 Conclusion
    (pp. 37-46)

    The architecture of policing is changing, leading to fundamental alterations in the structure, culture, functioning and accountability of the police. Yet this is occurring without any debate on policies and principles. This should be a matter of grave concern.

    When the first ‘bobbies’ walked out on to the streets of London in 1829, they conveyed a highly symbolic message. In essence, the police agency they represented was benign and accountable: and its unarmed officers were ordinary citizens in uniform who would police by consent, for ‘the public are the police’ (Critchley, 1978). Sir Robert Peel had politically shaped this ‘consent...

  6. Appendix: The Dutch police
    (pp. 53-54)