Policing the Risk Society
University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 1997 - Political Science - 487 pages
'the most significant theoretical work on the police since Bittner's The Functions of the Police (1970).' -- Jerome H. Skolnick, Visiting Distinguished Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York 'extends the risk theory literature into new and important areas, while offering a radical reconception of police work and organisation.' -- David Garland, Centre for Law and Society University of Edinburgh The Information Age Has Left Few of us Untouched; individuals and institutions have undergone radical transformations in the race to get the most out of new technologies. The police are no exception. Policing the Risk Society introduces us to a shocking new vision of police work where information gathered by the police with surveillance and data collection technologies is brokered to other institutions. Richard Ericson and Kevin Haggerty contend that the police have become information brokers to institutions such as insurance companies and health and fare organizations that operate based on a knowledge of risk. In turn, these institutions influence the ways that police officers think and act. A critical review of existing research reveals the need to study police interaction with institutions as well as individuals. These institutions are part of an emerging 'risk society' where knowledge of risk is used to control danger. The authors examine different aspects of police involvement: the use of surveillance technologies, and the collection of data on securities, careers, and different social, ethnic, age, and gender groups. They conclude by looking at how police organizations have been forced to bureaucratize and to perpetually develop newcommunications rules, formats and technologies to meet external demands for knowledge of risk. Ericson and Haggerty revolutionize the study of policing and are the first to provide concrete evidence of the central tenets of risk society theory. Their work will impact heavily on scholars in criminology, social theory, and communications as well as on policing and the public.
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