The Policing Web
Nearly all research devoted to policing focuses on public uniformed police and their legal use of force. An overwhelming amount of this work draws on evidence from Anglo-American police forces. These twin emphases have led to a limited view. Agencies such as criminal investigation units, intelligence services, private security companies, and military policing organizations have almost entirely escaped scholarly attention. In The Policing Web, Jean-Paul Brodeur looks at policing as a whole. He illuminates its full diversity, showing how it extends far beyond the confines of public police working in uniform and visible to all. Brodeur considers military policing, both when it complements the values of democracy and when it does not. He also discusses criminal individuals acting as police informants, and criminal organizations enforcing their own rules in urban zones deserted by the police. Brodeur argues that the diverse strands of the policing web are united by a common definition that emphasizes the license granted to policing agencies-legally or with impunity- to use means otherwise forbidden to the rest of the population. Employing an international and comparative approach, Brodeur establishes a comprehensive model that links all the components of policing. The policing web, however, is not a neat and well-integrated structure. There is not just one policing web. There are several, depending on the country, police history and culture, and the various public images of policing. These often overlooked factors are essential components of the context of policing. Wide-ranging and authoritative, The Policing Web expands the very idea of what policing is and how it works, and presents a novel yet fundamental understanding of law enforcement.
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