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New Structure of Policing: Description, Conceptualization, and Research Agenda

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2001
54 pages
Publication Series
This report describes the forms that the restructuring of policing is taking in the modern world, the reasons for the restructuring, and the issues that it raises for governance, especially with respect to the issues of justice, equality of protection, and quality of service.
Information for the report came mainly from democratic countries, both developed and developing. A major finding was that policing was being reconstructed worldwide. Its distinguishing features are the separation of those who authorize policing from those who do it and the transference of both functions away from government. Privatization is an inaccurate description of the change; multilateralization is a more appropriate description. The five auspices under which policing is currently authorized include economic interests, both legal and illegal; residential communities; cultural communities; individuals; and governments. Commercial companies, nongovernmental authorizers of policing, individuals, and governments provide policing. Many nongovernmental providers now perform the same tasks as the public police. Governmental providers tend to prevent crime through punishing; nongovernmental providers do so through exclusion and the regulation of access. The role of public police may be changing significantly in response to the restructuring of policing. Among explanations for the current restructuring of policing are the shortcomings of the public police, increases in crime, and the nature of economic systems. These and other explanations are largely hypotheses; little empirical research has tested them. The analysis concludes that it is important for governments to continue to safeguard justice, equity, and quality of service in the current restructuring of policing and that factors inside and outside contemporary nation-states are challenging policing. 142 references

Date Published: July 1, 2001