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Different styles of policing: discretionary power in street controls by the public police in France and Germany

  • Berlin School of Ecomomics and Law
  • Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law

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By analysing French and German police stop and search on the streets based on embedded observations in police patrols and findings of a large school survey, this article comparatively questions their determinants. Control practices diverge in their frequency: the German police officers control less proactively than their French counterparts. The targets of controls also differ: a concentration on visible minorities is much more pervasive among the French police officers. These divergences may be explained by contrasted professional orientations, especially the importance given to the crime control agenda, and state/society relations.
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Policing and Society
An International Journal of Research and Policy
ISSN: 1043-9463 (Print) 1477-2728 (Online) Journal homepage:
Different styles of policing: discretionary power in
street controls by the public police in France and
Jacques de Maillard, Daniela Hunold, Sebastian Roché & Dietrich Oberwittler
To cite this article: Jacques de Maillard, Daniela Hunold, Sebastian Roché & Dietrich
Oberwittler (2016): Different styles of policing: discretionary power in street
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Different styles of policing: discretionary power in street controls
by the public police in France and Germany
Jacques de Maillard
, Daniela Hunold
, Sebastian Roché
and Dietrich Oberwittler
Cesdip-UVSQ-CNRS-Ministère de la justice-UCP and Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France;
Department of
Criminology, German Police University, Münster, Germany;
CNRS, Pacte-Sciences Po, University of Grenoble,
Grenoble, France;
Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg, Germany
By analysing French and German police stop and search on the streets
based on embedded observations in police patrols and ndings of a large
school survey, this article comparatively questions their determinants.
Control practices diverge in their frequency: the German police ofcers
control less proactively than their French counterparts. The targets of
controls also differ: a concentration on visible minorities is much more
pervasive among the French police ofcers. These divergences may be
explained by contrasted professional orientations, especially the
importance given to the crime control agenda, and state/society relations.
Received 1 November 2015
Accepted 24 May 2016
Discrimination; police; stop
and search; proactive
policing; street policing;
France and Germany are often presented as proximal cases in international comparisons on topics
related to policing. In the typology proposed by Mawby (2008), they are part of the continental
modeldened by a legitimacy directed primarily towards the state, a broad denition of the
police mandate and a rather centralised command structure. Comparative studies of crime policies,
drawing on categories of welfare regimes (Hough et al.2013, pp. 251254), classify France and
Germany in the same conservatistcorporatist category, characterised by a moderately generous
status-related welfare state, moderately hierarchical society and a penal ideology dominated by reha-
bilitation and socialisation (Lappi-Seppälä 2011, Cavadino and Dignan 2013).
A comparative sociology of policing may wonder whether police behaviours match these macro-
level divisions. Do policing strategies in neighbouring European countries reect a shared regime of
social and penal policies? More specically, by analysing how French and German police proceed to
control on the streets, this article questions the sets of values, norms and practical reasoning of police
ofcers in these two countries. We hence start with a microanalysis of police ofcersbehaviours on
the streets and later seek to relate their features, set of similarities and differences, to wider organ-
isational, political and cultural factors. By doing so, we echo seminal works exploring the international
contrasts in professional identities, police authority and uses of legal instruments (Banton 1964,
Bayley 1978), and more recent empirically grounded comparisons (Cassan 2011, Body-Gendrot
and Wihtol de Wenden 2014, Devroe and Terpstra 2015, Gauthier 2015) which have underlined
how the use of force, the representation of the public and the training practices differ between Euro-
pean countries.
This paper will focus on the practices of street control undertaken by police ofcers. The use of the
term police ofcersobviously needs further specication considering the varieties of the organis-
ation and policies of security forces within and between the two countries (see below). By street
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Jacques de Maillard
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control, we mean the practices of discretionary identity checks or stop and search (or stop and frisk),
and arrests that may accompany them. These control practices constitute an important starting point
for comparative analyses because they present a mix of similarities and potential differences (see
Bowling and Weber 2011). Identity checks, searches, questioning and arrests translate concretely
the ability of state representatives to limit the liberties of people. They thus represent a visible mani-
festation of the police legal monopoly of violence and intrusive nature of the state (Weber and
Bowling 2011). They also constitute the most frequent type of interaction between state agents
and citizens (and non-citizens) and, as such, can be a source of controversial relations between
the police and communities. Stop and search in Great Britain (HMIC 2015), Terry stops (especially
stop, search and frisk in New York) or trafc controls (with the famous Driving while black) in the
US or identity checks in France (Jobard et al.2012, Fassin 2013) have been a focal point of enormous
media, public and political attention. Excessive, unfair and discriminatory controls are seen by many
as damaging police legitimacy and as a major cause of tensions between police and segments of the
population (Hough 2013).
But these control practices may diverge in their frequency (from rare to systematic), in their inten-
sity (from a simple ID check to an arrest), in their handling (from decent and respectful to harsh and
violent) and in their distribution (from a concentration on the usual suspectsto more diversied
targets). In order to fully understand the implications of control policies, researchers need then to
know study how, why, when and where controls are exercised.
ID checks and more generally decisions to control are generally considered as involving dis-
cretion by police ofcers as legal frameworks (see below) often dene very broadly the necessary
requisites to initiate a control. For this paper, we have identied those interactions in which
police ofcers had discretion (what we call, see below, discretionary controls) in order to
analyse how police ofcers make use of it in controlling, searching and arresting people.
These decisions to control or not to do so, and then intervene in the lives of citizens are tied
to different styles of policing (Wilson 1968, Muir 1977, Hough 2013), that is, how the police
handle routine situations that bring them into contact with the public. In this research, we
pay attention to the type of police work (police-initiated work or responses to calls), to more
or less formal behaviours (enforcing the law or maintaining order), and to more or less adversarial
types of policing.
Three questions are empirically addressed in this paper: (a) To what extent is control exercised
during encounters, that is, which proportion of interactions between the public and the police are
made of control initiated by the police? (b) Why do police ofcers control, that is, what are the
implicit or explicit objectives followed by police ofcers, their proactive cues (Ericson 1982),
when they undertake controls? (c) Who are the controlled, that is, who are the most likely
targets? Each question resonates with important debates in the literature. The rst two ones
raise the issue of the balance between the right to control and the right to privacy and
freedom of movement (see, in a large literature, the collection of papers on different national
cases collated by Bowling and Weber 2011). The third one refers to the large debate on the over-
controlling and prolingof some segments of the population (mainly minorities) by the police (in
a very broad literature, see Bowling and Phillips 2007, Rice and White 2010). The howissue (how
the control is handled) is not directly addressed here for space reasons, even if we will inevitably
allude to it.
The analysis is developed in four steps. We rst precise the legal context (rules constraining control
in both countries) and the methodologies mobilised. Secondly, we analyse what we call the ration-
alities of control in the two countries and the part of discretionary controls, the reasons for enacting
them but also the potential reasons for avoiding controls. We then focus on the issue of discrimina-
tory controls by identifying the proportion of controls devoted to minorities. In Section 4, we interpret
the differences observed in the two countries.
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1. Context of the study: legal framework and methodological background
1.1. Reasonable suspicion and discretionary controls
In both France and Germany, the legal framework dening conditions of controls are broadly similar.
Controls may be used for investigatory or preventive purposes in relation to an individual suspected
of a specic offence. They must rely on reasonable suspicionby police ofcers. The public cannot
refuse to be submitted to an ID check (even if this ID check is illegal). In addition to suspicion by
an agent, stop and search may be triggered as part of a penal policy as decided by judicial authorities
(article 78.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). For example, in certain areas of Lyon and Grenoble
known for being drug-dealing places police are given authorisation by the local prosecutor to stop
and search anybody regardless of his behaviour. This also applies to Germany, where police is able to
dene so-called danger zones which permit ID-checks irrespective of behaviour (known as gefähr-
liche Orte, dangerous zones).
Legal rules give the police ofcers a large leeway to decide what course of actions to choose. As a
consequence, we dene discretionary controls as ID checks and/or stop and search based on an
extensive denition of reasonable suspicion. Identifying these discretionary controls is a way of iso-
lating them from other controls and ID checks that fall out of the decision of an agent, such as clear
infringement to the law (over speeding) or an indisputably suspicious behaviour (being aggressive,
exchanging a small package in a drug-dealing zone for example). Discretionary controls are spoken of
when the ofcers decide to control on criteria external to the possibly delinquent behaviour of the
person: an individual out of place, the general condition of a car, clothing and the attitude of a person
(for instance ironic looking). In all these cases, police ofcers decide to control based on a set of
factors that we could call proactive cues, that is, shared recipe knowledge about whom to stop
for what purpose in particular circumstances(Ericson 1982, p. 86).
1.2. Methodology
This article is based on a joint FrenchGerman project (called POLIS, Police and Adolescents in Multi-
Ethnic Societies) funded by the two Funding research agencies in the countries (the Agence nationale
de la recherche and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).
The research was multi-methods and
multi-sites. Four cities have been chosen: medium-sized cities between 300 and 400,000 inhabitants
and large cities of 1 million inhabitants (Grenoble and Lyon on the French side and Mannheim and
Cologne on the German side). These cities all have high proportions of minorities in their populations.
If the measure is difcult in Lyon and Grenoble due to the census counting, half of the population
under 18 is from a migrant background in Cologne and Mannheim, with Turkish being the largest
group (Oberwittler and Roché 2013). In Lyon and Grenoble, minorities are from North Africa and,
at a lesser degree, from Sub-Saharan Africa. The research was primarily based on around 800
hours of direct observation of police patrol, with approximately 200 hours in each of the cities. More-
over, 65 semi-structured interviews were conducted with police ofcers in Lyon and Grenoble and
about 50 in Cologne in the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia
) and Mannheim (in the Land of
Baden-Württemberg). In France, 293 policecitizen encounters have been observed, against 247 in
As the main focus of the study was on policeadolescents relations, police ofcers
were partly selected on the basis that they specialised on this age group, the observations are to
a certain extent biased towards interactions involving young people. The observational data are sup-
plemented by standardised data from a large school survey which was conducted in all four cities
among young adolescents (ca. 1316 years) using an identical design and questionnaire. The ques-
tionnaire follows the tradition of previous youth studies including the International Self-Reported
Delinquency Studies (Oberwittler 2004, Junger-Tas et al.2012) and includes questions on self-
reported delinquency, routine activities, social bonds and family situations of adolescents, as well
as a section with detailed questions on their contacts with police ofcers (i.e. experience at last
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contact) and their attitudes towards the police (cf. Hunold et press). The survey was conducted
in the paper and pencil mode in classes during school hours, in Germany in 2011 and in France in
These data enable us to mix quantitative (measuring the proportion of discretionary controls and
the various categories targeted by these controls) and qualitative (analysing the objectives, values,
norms that guide the behaviour of police ofcers based on their explanations of their actions)
data. Direct observation is particularly relevant as it enables to describe the concrete exercise of con-
trols. By informally discussing with police ofcers after the controls, it also allows us to infer the con-
textualised reasons that have generated the decision to control. In both countries, observations were
undertaken by trained observers during ride-along, and during the downtimes observers could
debrief informally about their interventions. In Mannheim and Cologne, observations have been
made with response teams (patrol ofcers), youth ofcers
and with community policing units.
Thus, this study covered the work of ordinaryGerman policemen (and women) who constitute
the largest subgroup of the profession in German cities, as well as of specialised ofcers whose
tasks are more tuned to variations of community-oriented policing. In Lyon and Grenoble, reecting
the diversity of police organisations, observations have been realised in a broader variety of units
(response teams, plain-clothes units with a crime-ghting mandate (Brigade anti-criminalité), uni-
formed units specialised in transport, uniformed unit dedicated to specic areas with reinforced pro-
tective equipment (Brigade spécialisée de terrain)). However, we did not observe any community
policing units, as community policing reforms introduced at the end of the 1990s have been since
politically challenged by the political right (especially by Nicolas Sarkozy when he was minister of
interior between 2002 and 2005) and suppressed from the French National police (Roché 2005).
As a consequence, the observed police units in the two countries differ to some extent in terms of
tasks and code of conduct. Nevertheless, these differences display the reality of everyday police
work in the streets. The observational data are supplemented by standardised data from a large
school survey which was conducted in all four cities using an identical design and questionnaire
which contained detailed questions on contacts with police ofcers, including the experience of
the last contact. Thanks to the very large sample sizes (13,500 in France and 7300 in Germany),
the survey offers unique opportunities to analyse the experiences and attitudes of adolescents
from ethnic minorities (as well as of native adolescents) without quickly running into the problem
of small numbers. Nearly, 2800 Maghrebian/African adolescents in France and 1400 Turkish adoles-
cents in Germany participated in the survey (Hunold et al. in press).
2. Rationales of controls: proactive ID checks and searches in policecitizens
In France, discretionary controls are clearly an important part of the toolbox used by police ofcers on
the streets, whereas this is true to a lesser extent among German police ofcers. The advantages and
the drawbacks of controlling are weighted differently by police ofcers in the two countries.
2.1. Rationales of controls
To measure the extent of the discretionary controls among all the interactions (Table 1), we have iso-
lated those involving a discretionary control (see the denition in the methodological note).
Differences are striking. In Lyon and Grenoble, more than one in four interactions are made of a
discretionary control undertaken by the police (27.3%), whereas the proportion is one in eight in
Cologne and Mannheim (12.6%). This discrepancy calls for a closer scrutiny of the concrete inter-
actions in order to understand the different approach of French and German police. Discretionary
controls (stop and search but also simply ID checks) may, in principle, serve several purposes that
we can divide into three categories: crime ghting, asserting authority and collecting information.
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Firstly, control may be seen as a way of detecting and arresting people engaged in, or planning,
crime (Bowling and Weber 2011). Reasons related to crime investigation or detection are pervasive
among the French police ofcers, some of them having a rather low threshold to dene suspicious
behaviours. Clothing, daytime and skin colour (as we will see later) are crucial factors, and they are
often combined. One example from the observed interactions may serve as emblematic illustration
I22 (Grenoble): The police ofcers see two young boys on a scooter, without a helmet and with a large bag. They
suspect it could be drug-related. They decide to stop and check the boys.
The location is important: we are in a deprived suburb of Grenoble nearby a housing project. The
issue of drugs is also crucial: in Grenoble and Lyon, police ofcers are often looking for drugs, not if
limited to personal use, however. In the interactions we witnessed, they most of the time underen-
forced the law (by simply destroying the hashish) when the quantity was an indication of personal
use only. In some (rare) cases, police ofcers have a maximalist conception of control in relation to
drugs trafc, as the example below illustrates:
I91 (Lyon): We are nearby Lyon-Part-Dieu railway station. Two males from Maghreb ask the two police ofcers for
directions. The police ofcers asks them to show their ID and if they have any drugs. They take a look at their ID,
tell them it is your lucky day, no friskand let them go after giving them the direction.
German police ofcers, too, are searching for drug-related crimes. The decision for a discretionary
control mainly relies on appearances or location:
I58 (Mannheim): The ofcers decide to control juveniles who are loitering at the street corner because of their
clothes which are suggestive of drug use.
However, as crime control is of little importance in general, corresponding actions were rarely
observed. This is due to the structure and tasks of the units community police ofcers and
patrol police that are potentially in charge of proactive identity checks. Although community
police ofcers predominantly operate proactively and are instructed to conduct identity checks, in
fact they rarely practice controls. While patrolling the streets they rather focus on relationship man-
agement with the public for what they are also responsible. In most instances, community police
ofcers already know the persons loitering at suspicious places and thus avoid checks, unless they do
not know the persons or have a reasonable suspicion for a crime. Therefore, most of the contacts
between young people and community police ofcers are informal (Hunold et al. in press) In contrast,
patrol police are predominantly dealing with citizen calls, and thus rarely perform proactive controls
(see below), simply because they do not have enough time for this kind of work.
The second rationale is asserting authority. It is expressed when police ofcers yearn to express
that they are in control of the streets. Discretionary controls that may result here from an attempt
to attest a visible presence in a neighbourhood show that we are not afraid of them, that we are
in controlas one French police ofcer told us. Controls may also result here from tense interactions
Table 1. Discretionary controls.
Total interactions (abs.) Discretionary controls (abs.) Share of discretionary controls (%)
Total 293 80 27.3
Assumed natives 71 10 14.1
Visible minorities 205 64 31.2
Mixed groups 17 6 35.3
Germany 247 31 12.6
Assumed natives 115 14 12.2
Visible minorities 120 15 12.5
Mixed groups 10 2 20
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between the public and police ofcers. ID checks are the product of a latent conict. Exchange of
sights, ironic expression or insults may trigger controls:
I287 (Lyon): three young guys from Maghreb are in front of a snack. The police pass in car and the sergeant hears
go away. They immediately make a half-turn and go to control the three guys.
In this kind of situation, control is connected to a disciplinary rationality (Gauthier 2015). Control
may resemble a form of street justice(Van Maanen 1978, Fassin 2013) for those who disrespect the
police or do not accept the police denition of the situation: the person is immobilised for a few
minutes, may be searched in front of other persons, is questioned potentially intrusively. This use
of discretionary controls reveals the poor relationship between the police and some segments of
the youth. Our results suggest that they are more frequent in France: we did not observe any such
incidences in Germany, although some German police ofcers mentioned in interviews that they
may handle some situations this way.
Collecting information is the third rationale. Controlling ID and questioning is a way of getting
information on (groups of) individuals. In France, the ID controls undertaken in hallways of social
estates are particularly emblematic: their purpose is to collect information on individuals shared after-
wards with other local actors (municipal agents and social housing companies). This logic is fuelled by
interorganisational processes: police, municipalities, the judiciary, social workers and housing estates
may be part of working groups in which information is shared between individuals (according to
certain rules of condentiality). In the two countries, ID checks may also be realised at the
demand of the transport companies when they ne people without their IDs.
In Germany, the collection of information follows a different logic. Community police ofcers and
youth ofcers, in particular, decide for a control when they notice youngsters in the streets they do
not yet know personally. Their aim is not to share information with other local actors but to get into
contact, generally in an informal manner, with these juveniles:
When I dont know a group of juveniles and they dont suit to the neighbourhood, then I control them, talk to
them in leisurely manner and then I just ask what they are doing here and then I see how they react. (Community
police ofcer, Cologne)
French police ofcers use control mainly in the three rst logics, German police ofcers more in
the two last ones. This implies that not only German police ofcers control less but they also
control differently, with a lesser law enforcement tone.
2.2. Avoiding controls
The issue of controls can be analysed from the opposite angle: when police ofcers could have done
a control but have avoided it. Two different situations must be distinguished here: either ofcers do
not control citizens because they know them or they deliberately avoid control for other reasons. The
rst situation reveals the interpersonal linkages between the police and public and the second a
certain reexivity of police ofcers about the consequences of control.
2.2.1. Non-control and interpersonal linkages
In the rst conguration, control is unnecessary by the mere fact that police ofcers know the indi-
viduals, and more specically the youngsters. In the four cities, such situations may occur. For
instance, in I90 (Lyon), police ofcers search for someone suspected of a robbery. When getting
closer to individuals matching the suspectsdescription, they realise that they are people they
know and who are no criminals and hence decide to avoid the stop and search. Non-control
results from an interpersonal knowledge. According to our data, the difference is a matter of
degree: interpersonal connections are simply more frequent in the German case. In France, we
have only two cases in which interpersonal connections may lead to an absence of control,
whereas the frequency is much higher in Germany. Let us give the following examples: A juvenile
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takes away his hood when the police ofcers aims a pocket lamp on him, they know each other(I10,
Cologne), the men are drinking alcohol in front of a house and hear music from a car radio, ofcers
and men seem to know each other(I16, Cologne), ofcers and juveniles have a chat about police
work, they know each other(I21, Cologne) and the young man is talking to his friends, the ofcer
and the young man know each other(I24, Cologne). These examples suggest that control would
be more limited in Germany due to more interpersonal linkages between police ofcers and citizens.
But this kind of policepublic relationship is specic to community police ofcers.
This is, however, not only an issue of interpersonal knowledge but also of professional values and
norms. In France, police ofcers might control someone because he is known for not carrying his ID
card: A young Maghrebin is well-known for never having his ID on him. He is checked for that reason.
The police ofcers teach him. His brother swears he will have it on him next time(I234 Grenoble). In
this interaction, if police ofcers underenforce the law (as they should have taken him to his home or
to the police station to prove his identity), they deliberately control him to remind the necessity of
carrying his ID card: the interpersonal knowledge does not lead to a non-control but rather to the
2.2.2. Non-control and police reexivity
In the second conguration, police ofcers eschew control because they consider that its advantages
in terms of police work do not overcome its drawbacks in terms of their relations with the youths. In
France, this kind of attitude, which remains rare, is expressed by experienced police ofcers seeking
to avoid unnecessary tensions with the youths. One sergeant, for instance, insisted on the need for
controlling only teenagers they did not know and expressed it clearly during controls (we control you
because we dont know you, but we wont do it again). It is more widespread among German police
ofcers. In the two quotations below, ofcers show a lot of caution to use ID checks. They adapt their
behaviour to the nature of the interaction (the control not being a requisite of the start of the inter-
action) and may use information from other colleagues to identify the persons they do not know:
Well when I see a bunch of young people trying to tamper with something, thats something I notice. When this
happens in my area for example, I would go to them on a very normal way and talk to them about commonplaces,
ordinary things. And through this dialogue I will see if its interesting to control them or not. Well, I wouldnever go
to them and to let the big mancome out, Im here now and you all give me your ID now. (Community police
ofcer, Kalk, Cologne)
As long as they simply hang around somewhere in the area where they grew up, and they hang around everyday,
all the time, then I dont need to control them. I can ask some people, listen, he looks like that and that, well I ask
older colleagues, community police ofcers, he looks like this and that I think he is from Turkey, he is always
wearing that and that, who is he? (Patrol ofcer, Kalk, Cologne)
These situations reveal that common practices of restraint may also rely on different logics of
specic units. The community police ofcers in Cologne have an interactional notion of their work:
they must be accepted by the youths to get information, adapt their approach depending on the
current interaction. Patrol ofcers have a more distant relationship, but they may avoid unnecessary
control by getting information by other means. They also have, in general, more reactive tasks in
which they have less time for proactive activities, thus reducing any opportunity of discretionary
In France, reexivity about the antagonistic effects of control is rather limited. The interaction 91
mentioned above is emblematic of a conception in which ID checks and searches are unquestioned
routine interactions. Control as a professional routine may also be illustrated by the interaction I122:
I122 (Lyon): The transit police stop two males (around 25 years old) in a subway station, dressed in a sporty
manner and ask them for their IDs. They say they are social workers and are taking a group of kids out. They
are indeed with a group of ve kids. OK, but you still need to have an ID,says one of the police ofcers. The
social workers say they dont have them. The police ofcer lectures them about the fact that its irresponsible
to not have their ID while taking care of children. The two men are a bit irritated but acknowledge the police
ofcer is right. They let them go.
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The decision to control is taken rapidly by one police ofcer, although there is no particularly sus-
picious behaviour. When he becomes aware that they are social workers accompanied by kids, he
decides to teach them of the necessity to carry their IDs (although he could again have taken
them to the police station). Another example illustrates a weak understanding of antagonistic effects:
I49-52 (Grenoble): After a rather calm shift, the patrol ofcers wanted to show some real police activityand
perform some stop and search in an area known for being near a drug-dealing place. In about 10 minutes,
they controlled ve males, whose one of them will be particularly tense.
These interactions were handled professionally by police ofcers (calm and respectfully). In an
informal debrief after these interactions, they expressed anger, emphasising that their authority
was constantly challenged, but did not reect on the fact these controls had been completely
This gives us a rather contrasted image of the French case: police ofcers have to deal with tense
interactions when they operate controls (and they professionally handle situations most of the time),
but most of them have a limited reection on the resentment that the repetition of controls may
engender, nor on the very limited hit rate of these controls. This leads us to a paradox: if French
police ofcers admit that ID checks may degenerate, they still maintain that to control is part of
their powers and as such their use should not be discussed. In Germany, the power to control
seems to be handled in a more exible way depending on workload, situational factors and behav-
iour of persons concerned. Additionally, most of the police ofcers are aware of negative outcomes of
control practices. This leads to the reserved control patterns we have observed.
3. Controlling minorities
The second aspect of the research concerns the targets of discretionary controls. If contacts focus
mainly young males in the two countries, the main question is on the potential overrepresentation
of minorities (see for England, Bowling and Phillips 2007; for the US, Rice and White 2010). Here again,
our ndings are quite divergent between France and Germany.
3.1. An overrepresentation of minorities? Evidence from different methods
We address this crucial question by drawing on both the observational and the survey data collected
as part of our study. The observed control interactions can with some caution be categorised accord-
ing to the ethnic backgrounds of the controlled persons. However, it seems appropriate to be careful
and to avoid false inferences from the visible appearance of persons. We therefore use the rather
broad categories of assumed natives(French resp. German) and visible minoritieswhich in
France are predominantly persons from Maghrebin and Sub-Saharan African backgrounds and in
Germany from Turkish or Italian backgrounds. During participant observations in Cologne and Man-
nheim, we were able to distinguish ethnic origins only very broadly, that is, Eastern vs. Southern
Europe origin. In police jargon, all people from Southern European, Turkish and Arabian backgrounds
alike are simply called, Southern, with skin and hair colour being the essential criteria. Mixed
denotes groups of persons from different backgrounds
(see Table 1). In France, most discretionary
controls are concentrated on minorities (64 out of 80), whereas in Germany, the proportion is very
much equal between the majoritarian population and visible minorities. In terms of their relative
shares of all observed interactions by ethnic groups, 31.2% of interactions with visible minorities
but only 14.1% of interactions with assumed natives in France are discretionary controls, whereas
the shares are around 12% for both groups in Germany.
These results are in line with those of the standardised school survey which are displayed in Table
2where the prevalence rate of police-initiated controls over the last 12 months is ca. 30% in Germany
for all male adolescents regardless of their ethnic group, whereas in France this rate is ca. 20% for the
native French and 39% for boys from Maghrebin origins (see also for convergent results, FRA 2010).
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We concentrate on male adolescents here because they are across ethnic groups more likely to be
controlled by the police. Looking to high-frequency controls (ve or more during last year) only,
the Maghrebin boys even have a threefold higher likelihood compared to native French boys
(17% vs. 5%), whereas no differences can be observed in German cities. Not reported here, these strik-
ing differences between France and Germany and the strong overrepresentation of migrant groups
in France remain after controlling for a range of sociodemographic and behavioural factors. Taking all
quantitative evidence together, we nd strong indications of ethnic proling by the French but not
by the German police forces. Our results give also credit to the hypothesis of a biased-policing of
French police ofcers (in particular see Jobard et al.2012 for systematic observations of 525 identity
checks conducted in several Parisian locations).
Such a discrepancy between France and Germany is also evident if we look at interactions in a
more qualitative way. Three congurations can be identied (as overcontrol is more frequent in
France, most of these congurations will be mainly illustrated by French examples). The rst one is
some specic interactions in which discrimination, if impossible to prove, may be presumed. One
interaction (91, Lyon) mentioned above is characteristic: two police ofcers check the IDs and
comment on the lucky dayof two Arabs who came to ask for directions. The stereotypes associated
with drug dealing by young Arabs constitute an underlying cause. The clothing, the location, the time
of the day or the workload of the patrol may be cause for controls combined with the physical
appearance. The case below (I12) is typical of this uncertainty: although the observer may speculate
on a potential discriminatory reasoning by the police ofcer, the situation in itself does not offer any
clear evidence of discrimination. It shows, however, a very low threshold for determining a suspicious
behaviour (see above):
I12 (Grenoble): A 16 years old boy from Maghreb is walking with a backpack in his hands. The police check him, to
make sure it is not stolen. He has no ID; the police take him to his place to check his ID.
I59 (Cologne): Two juveniles (Turkish background, streetwear style) are talking to each other in the front of a park;
the ofcers decide to control them without any obvious reasons.
In the second conguration, overcontrol results from targeting practices of specic police units.
Direct observation is here again useful to identify a series of discretionary controls in which minorities
may have been targeted. Two examples may be given: during their shift, a uniformed patrol unit in
Grenoble had eight encounters with the public, all of them with minorities, with ve discretionary
controls (May 2011). In the second example, a transit police unit in uniform in Lyon had eight inter-
actions during their shift, all of them with minorities (November 2012). The four discretionary controls
undertaken in the rst part of the shift (in a train) were all targeted at minorities.
The third conguration results from the poor relationship between the police and minorities:
discretionary control stems from prior tense interactions (which refers to the second motive: assert-
ing authority). In France, several controls have been initiated in response to ironic or deant
Table 2. Police-initiated discretionary contacts during last 12 months by male adolescents (self-reports, by ethnic background).
Countries of origin NTotal prevalence
Frequency of contacts
Cologne and Mannheim
Native German 1601 29.8 19.4 6.2 4.2
Turkey 706 30.5 19.3 6 5.2
Europe 344 25.4 13.1 7.6 4.7
Other 405 29.9 17.3 6.7 5.9
Mixed native/migrant 404 33.6 21.5 6.9 5.2
Lyon and Grenoble
Native French 3300 19.7 11.7 3.5 4.5
Maghreb 911 39.1 14.4 7.9 16.8
Europe 366 26.5 13.7 4.9 7.9
Other 686 26.6 11.8 5 9.8
Mixed native/migrant 1091 27.1 13.1 5.2 8.8
Note: POLIS youth survey, boys only (N= 3460 in Germany, N= 6354 in France).
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gestures of minority persons, whereas no equivalent cases could be found in Germany. In these
cases, the interaction often starts with a more symbolic exchange (police and youths watching
each other for instance) and then deteriorates (from irony to insults), leading to a control. These
types of control, caused by the sometimes rather deant attitudes of young minorities, arise
more generally from the long history of strained relationship between the police and some seg-
ments of young minorities. For all these reasons, apparent ethnicity, especially in France, is one
of the factors to initiate a control.
3.2. Explaining overcontrol: stereotyping, suspicion and control
The main interpretation relies on the link existing between specic stereotypes, the formation of sus-
picion and course of action (Bowling and Phillips 2007, p. 957). In both countries, police ofcers have
stereotypes towards the public. In Germany, most of the interviewed and observed police ofcers also
have ethnic stereotypes, as this quote from a patrol police ofcer illustrates: When I think about it
quickly the Germans steal scooters, the Russians booze and beat others and the Turks deal with
drugs.But the linkage between stereotypes and the course of action differs in the two countries.
An idea commonly shared by French police ofcers is that the minorities would be more often
delinquents, and it would therefore be more rational to control them. In various informal discussions,
police ofcers explained why overcontrol is rational: it is simply the best way to improve their hit rate.
Speaking of his colleagues as kids receiving candies, a sergeant from a juvenile unit in Lyon explained
us: If you give a kid two bags containing candies and tell him that one bag has eight sweet candies in
it, the other only three, which one do you think hes gonna choose?.
Three illustrations taken from our observations give an idea of the rationalities of overcontrol of
ethnic minorities. The rst one is the classical linkage between stereotyping, the formation of suspi-
cion and control, without any underlying hostility.
The van is passing the police car in the town centre of Lyon. The driver seems to have a coloured skin. How does
the driver look?asks one of the ofcers. I think its a Pakistani,retorts the sergeant. It would interest me if it was a
Gypsy, replies the driver. We follow the van, and stop it a few blocks away. (Field notes)
In this case, there is no hostility expressed towards minorities, either before, during or after the
control (and this will be conrmed during the remaining of the shift), but traditional crime-ghting
reasoning. We may have equivalent situations in Germany:
The ofcers stop a car driven by a Romas woman. They justify the stop with the fact that they thought the kids on
the back seat were not belted (but this is not the case). The woman is already known as Roma and by name by the
police ofcers. (I28 Cologne)
The second rationale is also a consequence of stereotyping that conducts to repeated controls. In
a train (see above), two police ofcers start controlling three young Arabs (one is in on parole or con-
ditional release), then check the ID and the train ticket of an Afghan asylum seeker (whose papers are
in order), then control two Arabs (both with criminal records, and a bit of hashish), the fourth one
targets two Arabs one of which has a criminal record and no papers. The police ofcers do not
arrest any of them for the small amount of hashish (although they could legally have). Answering
a question of the observer on how they choose to control one person rather than another, the ser-
geant commented: Its a matter of look, attitude and anyway 80% of offenders are Arab, there is
nothing racist in that, its a reality.Interestingly, all interactions were handled softly; the sergeant
did not hesitate to cool the atmosphere when the youths controlled expressed exasperation.
The third situation illustrates a control in which the rationale of control is affected not only by
stereotypes but also by an implicit hostility. A police ofcer stops a damaged car and controls the
driver (who happens to be an Arab) near Grenoble. The control is courteous and the police ofcer
chooses not to ne the driver for a minor infringement to the trafc regulation code. When debrieng
informally about the reason of the control, the police ofcer comments:
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I chose this car because I saw that it was badly damaged and I also saw the hand of Fatma, thus that means its
an Arab or an African, they often put it to avoid that their car could be f. up These people often dont have their
papers in order so for us, it is a good hit rate.
The police ofcer admits having targeted the car because of a religious sign and on the basis of
stereotypes (they often do not have their papers in order) but he adds an element of negative preju-
dice towards this group by implying the hand of Fatma would be a way of avoiding to get their car
damaged by (implicitly) other Maghrebins or Africans. In this case, statistical and categorical discrimi-
nation (Reiner 2010) are blurred. From this point of view, racism (as a set of belief and sentiments) and
discrimination (as attitudes and practices) may be tied for a minority of police ofcers.
In Germany, there seems to be a more differentiated idea of suspicion not predominantly focused
on ethnicity. Rather, many police ofcers associate certain crimes with visible attributes as clothing.
For example, streetand hip-hopfashion is seen as a signal for drug-related crimes. Lifestyle and
other behavioural criteria appear to be more relevant than ethnicity for the decision to conduct
an identity check. And those criteria are strongly connected to notions of place: lifestyle signs that
are associated with drug-related crimes become salient at places known for those crimes. Place is,
in particular, relevant for the proactive work of community police ofcers, as this quotation illustrates:
When we patrol the streets for identity checks, we selectively approach venues that are already
known for drug dealing juveniles.The same approach also applies to other crimes such as grafti
and vandalism. In addition, dress styles may inuence ofcersdecision-making by transporting
messages of social status which are atly equated with decency: I would decide whether they are
well-dressed come from a good family or whether they are dressed like juveniles who fuck up.
In contrast to Jobard and Levy (2009, p. 32) who identied clothing as a racialized variablebecause
they mainly observed minority youths wearing typical styles associated by the police with crime, in
Germany, style patterns are not primarily ascribed to ethnicity but rather to social disadvantage. This
may reect the fact that urban areas of concentrated disadvantage in Germany are characterised by
ethnic diversity.
4. Discussion and conclusion
Stopping, searching, frisking and arresting people are activities common to police all over the world.
It is therefore crucial to understand comparatively how, when, where and with whom this process is
accomplished. In this perspective, our research stresses four main ndings.
The rst one is a note of caution: the coherence and homogeneity of national practices, values and
professional norms must not be overestimated: there are intra-national contrasts dependent upon the
type of units and the prole of the police ofcers considered (for similar results in England and Wales,
see HMIC 2015). Community police ofcers in Cologne avoid control most of the time and have an
individualised knowledge of youngsters, although patrol ofcers in Cologne and Mannheim may
check IDs but in more reactive ways. Variations have also been identied in the French case, some
experimented police ofcers showing caution in resorting to control. However, our study is based
on more than one monograph in each country which strengthen the possibility of generalisation.
The second main nding is that two dominant professional orientations can be distinguished. In
France, a more proactive street control style dominates, whereas in Germany, a more informal and
reactive style of policing prevails. The categories of Wilson (1968) are useful to set these professional
practices into perspective. German police ofcers could be said close to the order maintenance style:
their concern is to ensure order in the community, operational autonomy and informalism are valued.
Police ofcers will, for instance, look for other ways to collect information than resorting to IDs checks.
French police ofcers would be closer to the legalistic style: they give priority to law enforcement,
relations and interpersonal contacts are more limited. However, as we have seen, the same French
ofcers often underenforce the law (either for limited possession of hashish, for the absence of IDs
or for infringement to the Highway Code). There is a paradoxical formalism, with a crime control
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orientation on the one hand and recurring practices of underenforcement on the other, that would
deserve further investigation in future research.
Thirdly, interactions with minorities display signicant differences. In France, interactions are
characterised by a pattern of overcontrol of minorities, whereas proportions are evenly distributed
in Germany. Explaining these variations is a difcult task, as often discrimination is based on physical
appearance mix with other social attributes (age, sex or clothing). Direct observation and informal
talks with police ofcers following controls provide support for the existence of a linkage between
stereotypes, formation of suspicion and decision to control, although in Germany, police ofcers
show a great deal of care in dealing with these issues. The existence of heterogeneous practices
according to units, especially on the French side, is also a dimension to be taken into account.
If this research has mainly focused on the descriptive dimensions, an important question is to
relate these practices to organisational policies, policing policies undertaken and, more globally, to
the relations between the police and the public. Our reasoning is here more speculative, but three
different sets of reasons (politico-institutional, professional and social) may be put forward.
The rst reasons are the policing policies and mandates existing in each country. The priority given
to the ght against crimeand the culture of performancein policing policies in France between
2002 and 2012 have encouraged practices of control, as a way of getting immediate results in the
ght against crime (policies whose effects have been discussed in the literature, see Roché 2012,
Jobard and Maillard 2015). More generally, the interpretation of the police mandate is broader in
Germany than in France: police is often described as dein Freund und Helfer(your friend and
helper). This orientation towards the public also translates itself into training policing: interaction
with the publicis a component of training curricula in police schools in Baden-Württemberg and
North Rhine-Westphalia, whereas interactions with the public are rather seen through the angle of
the protection of the police ofcer in France. Cultural and religious diversity are also addressed in
German police schools but not in French ones as a dedicated and well-identied set of courses.
Therefore, policing concepts/styles vary in the two countries with regard to the police mandate,
the content of training or the value given to the relation with minorities.
This leads to our second series of reasons, which are the implicit values, norms and assumptions
that guide police ofcers. Even if too homogeneous conceptions of national police cultures should be
avoided, several striking differences appear: controls are seen as a legitimate way to exercise power
and as a multi-purpose activity (control crime effectively, assert authority and collect information) in
France, although the antagonistic effects of controls are poorly internalised. In Germany, there is a
heightened awareness of these negative effects. These reections are shared by police ofcers
(more or less extensively) and internalised through a process of socialisation. It is also to be noted
the we/theydivide was more commonly expressed by French police ofcers during interviews.
One may even say that policies directed at ID checks are rather made of non-decisions. In France,
stop and search and ID checks are not registered by police ofcers in any systematic manner, there
are no guidelines on how to conduct them, no immediate supervisors, and, even more, administra-
tors have a poor knowledge of the controls undertaken. During our observations, it has never been a
topic of discussion and debrief between street police ofcers and their supervisors in France as in
Germany. As Jobard et al. comment (2012, p. 357), ID checks are a widespread practice, and, para-
doxically, benet from a legal cloak of invisibility.In both countries, no clear policy exists relating
to the practice of control. However, discretionary checks are less relevant in daily work in Germany
compared to France. This is to be explained by several factors that reect a different cop culture.
German police ofcers are not always hunting for the good case(Lukas and Gauthier 2011,
p. 191). Patrol police ofcers are mainly concerned with conict resolution by handling citizen com-
plaints and emergency calls, thus time for proactive controls is limited. Community police ofcers
indeed are in charge of proactive controls but their work is predominantly focused on the mainten-
ance of [good] relationships with the local public. Their habitus is consistent with watchman style
(Wilson 1968, p. 141). In consequence, crime ghting is not considered as a primary task in their
everyday work (Hunold 2015, p. 443).
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This leads us to our nal comments. The level of trust and legitimacy of the French police is lower
than in Germany (Hough et al.2013, see also Lévy 2016). Perceptions of unfairness are also in disfa-
vour of the French police (FRA 2010, Hough et al.2013), as are the experiences of violence during
interactions by the police (Oberwittler and Roché 2013). These various elements raise serious suspi-
cions on the causal link between the crime control style of policing prevailing within the French
police and its lack of social legitimacy. Our data imply that by multiplying controls, French police of-
cers put themselves in situations where they have to deal more frequently with deant attitudes and
1. In France, ID checks are regulated by the article 78 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In Germany, they are
dened by the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure and by the police laws of the different Länder.
2. These suspicious behaviours were identied through direct observation and/or informal debrief with police of-
cers. Among the interactions with an ID check and/or search, we have excluded: (a) controls resulting from a clear
law breaking (for instance the absence of valid tickets and IDs when controlled in public transport, breach of the
Highway Code or more rarely criminal act) and (b) controls resulting from a suspicious behaviour (such as
someone throwing away something as the police arrive, an apparently too young person driving a car,
persons involved in a violent dispute, etc.)
3. Grant reference: ANR-08-FASHS-19, Pacte research unit (Sciences Po, CNRS, University of Grenoble Alpes) and DFG
AL 376-11/1, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg.
4. Police are in the hands of Länder (apart from the Border Control police and the Criminal Federal police, but they
are not studied here).
5. By policecitizen encounters, we mean more or less durable contacts (either verbal or physical) between police
and citizens. It can be a mere verbal exchange or a sequence of interactions entailing verbal and physical
6. In France, the survey sample is representative of the young adolescent population in the metropolitan area of
Grenoble and of Lyon which are the major municipalities of the second largest and wealthiest region of
France, Rhône-Alpes. The sample population resembles urban France in terms of age, sex and school level. It
departs from the rural parts of the countries in terms of SES since such areas display more farmers or workers
as parentsprofessions than the urbanised sectors. In Germany, the survey population is representative of the
young adolescent population in the cities of Cologne and Mannheim, two large cities in the western part of
Germany with very high shares of migrant populations. The sample of schools includes public and private sec-
ondary schools of all academic levels excluding those for special needs. Thanks to the very large sample sizes
(overall ca. 13,500 in France and 7000 in Germany) and the high share of adolescents with migrant backgrounds,
the survey offers unique opportunities to analyse the experiences and attitudes of adolescents from ethnic
minorities (as well as of native adolescents) without quickly running into the problem of small numbers.
7. The work of youth ofcers is usually characterised by the supervision of serious juvenile offenders or specic
controls of young people during special events.
8. In Cologne and Mannheim, we did not observe plain-clothes units whose main mandate is to search for drugs.
These units may have more crime control-oriented practices than the ones we have observed.
9. In contrast to France, the concept of community police is well established in Germany. The 16 states (Länder) and
to some extend local police forces are responsible for the implementation of community policing. In Cologne,
each police precinct employs several community police ofcers who are in charge of local networking (e.g.
school visits) and crime prevention by proactive police work. The community police ofcers are frequently in
contact with local juveniles. Usually, they have already worked on their beat for several years or decades. In Man-
nheim, community policing is less elaborated, but reach outwork with adolescents is an important task of special
youth ofcers whereas patrol police ofcers are in charge of proactive police work as identity checks.
10. Contrary to other analyses, we are not here capable of comparing these numbers to the available population at
the time of control. If this limits the reliability of results, the use of the available population as benchmark has
been discussed. And our method authorised more qualitative input in the analysis (see below).
11. After controlling for the benchmark population, the authors demonstrate that depending on the location, a Black
was 3.3 times more likely to be stopped than a White, with similar gures for Arabs (1.8/14.8 times more likely)
(Jobard et al., 2012, p. 364).
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
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This work was supported by Agence Nationale de la Recherche and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
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... In practice, how do police officers exercise their discretionary powers? To determine this, we conducted a direct observation study of police officers to understand what contexts prompt them to take the initiative in making preventive stops (Maillard et al. 2018). It appears that the decision to perform a stop is typically motivated not by the behavior of those concerned, but by entirely different criteria. ...
... As elsewhere, the French police act on the basis of "unexamined, implicit and subconscious stereotypes, biases and cultural assumptions" (Bradford 2017, p. 83). Maillard et al. (2018), and Gauthier (2015), writing on France, have noted that police classification logics have a complex way of combining dress, behavioral, geographical, and ethnic-racial elements. While no single variable is determining per se, many officers do subscribe to the following syllogism: minority youths are more likely to be delinquents, therefore stopping them is the rational thing to do (this applies in England too; see Quinton 2015). ...
... We show that police work in France relies on a rather wide definition of what constitutes suspicious behaviour. Based on this definition, in cities A and B, more than one in four interactions are discretionary ID checks initiated by the police (27.3%, i.e. 80 discretionary stops in 293 interactions), a ratio that is far from that observed in Germany (de Maillard et al., 2018). ...
... First, by increasing the number of stops (with a low success rate), police officers risk creating the conditions for long-lasting defiance, as research has consistently shown the asymmetric effect of negative interactions on defiance (Skogan, 2006). Comparisons with Germany show that other logics of control -less frequent, less focused on minority groups -are possible (de Maillard et al., 2018;Gauthier, 2015) and are associated with higher levels of trust . These findings as a whole tend to undermine the validity of systematic reliance on ID checks as a proactive strategy for public safety units. ...
Full-text available
Styles of policing are reflected in the methods, decisions and priorities of law enforcement agencies. Based on an ethnographic study of police work in two major French metropolitan areas, this article identifies the styles of policing enforced in France, based on the use of discretionary stop-and-search. Despite nuances due to the variety of units, places and watch commanders, policing is delivered in a mostly proactive and confrontational way, which is reflected in a proliferation of units having an aggressive mandate. Stop-and-search is used to detect criminal activity, ‘take over’ territories and assert police authority, especially when the latter is challenged.
... Studies have shown that police-initiated contacts with citizens have a substantial impact on trust levels. The comparison between France and Germany (de Maillard et al. 2016) sheds light on the variety of national configurations in the perception of minorities by police officers and the use of stops by agents as an organisational technique. An interesting next step for comparative research would be to link the findings of the ESS and related survey to the actual organisational features of police forces, or findings from the regulatory framework and occupational cultures of agents. ...
... Studying local policing allows one to be more careful in descriptions and to avoid over generalisation of alleged national effects. Second, if questioning the relevance of the national level is a legitimate concern, it must not lead in return to throwing the baby out with the bathwater: there is here clearly a balance to be found between the careful analysis of infra-national configurations and the evidence of potential international contrasts (see de Maillard et al. 2016). ...
Chapter 3 focuses on the problematics of (non) belonging in Miano’s Tels, Afropean, and her essays, Devi’s Les Hommes and Mokkedem’s Mes Hommes. Drawing on Nancy’s notion of community I examine the in-between positionality of Miano’s male protagonists as immigrants’ children in France, through a reading of Critical Race theory, and Miano’s own theories of community. The notion of myth, which Nancy discusses as undergirding the notion of community is explored through the ‘Fils de Kemet’ group in Tels, while the concept of being in-between France and Africa is explored with ‘Afropean Soul’. I then discuss Mokeddem’s text as a singular voice fighting against Islamic patriarchal masculinity, through the lens of Ahmed’s (Willful Subjects. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014a; Living a Feminist Life. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017) notion of willfulness. The protagonist’s relationship with her father and her subsequent relationships with a range of men are analyzed. Similarly, Devi’s text creates a new community of men with whom she can dialogue and exchange ideas, a writing community, as outlined by Nancy, which allows her to recover her own individuality. Ultimately, the different forms which community takes in this chapter enable the writers to reconfigure masculinities as loving and vulnerable and equally affected by patriarchy as women.
This chapter focuses on the concept of hospitality as theorized by Derrida and Rosello. It maps the different levels of inhospitality experienced by protagonists in Miano’s Tels and Crépuscule 2, Diome’s Ventre, Chen’s Lettres chinoises and Thúy’s Vi. I examine how the new beginning experienced by the protagonists reshapes masculinities in the texts. Male protagonists’ unease in a host country, which rejects their alterity, in the case of Diome and Miano and renders them vulnerable, is central to this chapter. Kristeva’s Etrangers à nous-mêmes, Ahmed’s Strange Encounters and Kinouani’s Living While Black serve as an alternative way of conceptualizing this Black masculine strangeness in French society. While Canada allows for multiculturalism and maintaining traditions, Chen problematizes the male protagonist’s inability to harness the two cultures available to him. Conversely, Thúy depicts Canada as a hospitable country to refugees, but where extant traditions lead to a nineteen-year-old taking responsibility for his family in the absence of his father. While values are upheld, there are distinct shifts as the protagonist’s notion of masculinity and his relationship with his sister change. Thus the texts all foreground migration as a deeply transformative experience which allows women writers to reconceptualize masculinities.
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En los últimos años se ha generado un enorme debate público en torno a la regulación y uso de los controles de identidad en nuestro país, pero esto ha sido con una notoria falta de evidencia y antecedentes empíricos que permitan sustentar las distintas afirmaciones que se han entregado para justificar los cambios propuestos. En este contexto, el presente trabajo pretende contribuir al debate público y al mejor conocimiento de la práctica de los controles de identidad por medio de la presentación de un conjunto de datos estadísticos de diversas fuentes que permiten construir una imagen más detallada del uso que en la actualidad tiene este mecanismo en el país. Además, se avanza en su evaluación recurriendo a los parámetros más relevantes que han estado en discusión: su eficacia y el potencial uso discriminatorio que tendrían. Junto con el uso de estadísticas oficiales generales, el trabajo se apoya en el uso de una base de datos que contiene el total de controles de identidad realizados por Carabineros en el período de un año comprendido entre los meses de abril de 2017 y marzo de 2018 y que fue obtenida en enero de 2019 por los autores, luego de un dilatado proceso judicial bajo la regulación del procedimiento de acceso a la información pública.
Las paradas policiales son una línea de investigación jurídica y criminológica destacada en muchos países, sobre todo anglosajones, y cada vez más relevante en otros, como en general los países europeos y, en concreto, España. Sin embargo, existe poca literatura comparando la regulación de las mismas. Con la intención de contribuir en este aspecto, el presente artículo describe los dos principales modelos de regulación internacionales de las paradas policiales: el modelo anglosajón de Stop and Search o Stop and Frisk, presente en países como Reino Unido, y el modelo europeo continental de control de identidad, presente en países europeos como Francia y también en países latinoamericanos como Chile. Respecto a este último modelo se hará un análisis más detallado para el caso español. Pese a las diferencias entre modelos de regulación se puede observar que comparten una serie de características que en ambos casos dificultan el control legal efectivo de las paradas policiales. Por último, a modo de conclusión, se expondrán las principales similitudes y diferencias entre los dos modelos.
Law enforcement offi cers in France are often accused of carrying out identity checks on the basis of physical appearance (controles au facies), singling out particular ethnic groups, or "visible minorities". To show that discrimination is taking place, it is not enough simply to demonstrate that police stops affect one group more than another. It also has to be shown that this group is disproportionately targeted in relation to the population present in the relevant geographical area. This is a particularly diffi cult task. Fabien JOBARD, Rene LEVY, John LAMBERTH and Sophie NEVANEN report on a survey of identity checks carried out in Paris in 2007-2008 and describe the relatively complex methodology that was used. They fi rst conducted a "census" of the population available to be stopped, and recorded some of their visible features. They then unobtrusively monitored police stops and their targets, noting their characteristics based on the same set of features. By this means, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the "stop population" differed from the "benchmark population" not just in terms of visible ethnicity, but also of age, sex and style of clothing.
Most Western inner-cities experience difficult encounters between the police and marginalized youths. Yet there are few comparative studies on policing, race/ethnicity, space, and social order. There is dissatisfaction and resentment on both sides. While minorities complain of lack of mobility, harassment, and discriminations by the police, law enforcers resent doing a 'dirty' job—one which is largely ignored by their hierarchy and by mainstream denizens. This book analyzes and compares the police's inner city presence in France, the US, and Britain. A cross-national comparison is a complex task because the countries are not of the same size, the institutions respect common law or civil law, the state intervenes more or less in social processes, anti-discrimination policies have diverse elements of legitimacy, rebellious youths have different profiles and so do policemen. However, the complexity of such comparisons helps to prevent simplistic universalism and ethnocentrism. The research presented in Policing the Inner City in France, Britain, and the US points to the idea that the creation of a more inclusive environment is a sound approach for cities looking to better maintain peace, reduce discrimination, and manage the dynamic between police and citizens in inner cities. Citizens, posit authors Sophie Body-Gendrot and Catherine Wihtol de Wenden, are not merely passive. They can resolve and manage low-intensity conflicts. Good local governance as well as better channels of expression and representation for disaffected residents can alleviate the urgency for social protest. (Résumé éditeur)
Next to exclusionary and discriminatory practices in other live domains, tense police–adolescent relations and the treatment of ethnic minority adolescents by the police are discussed as the foremost trigger for urban riots across Europe. Discretionary identity checks and ‘stop and search’ practices are particularly contentious. Situated in a country that has not experienced urban riots by marginalized and ethnic minority young people yet, our study investigates the impact of police behaviour, in particular stop and search practices, on the quality of interactions between police and young people in Germany. The study is based on extensive participant observation of police patrols, in-depth interviews with police officers and a large-scale standardized youth survey. Qualitative and quantitative evidence unequivocally suggest the absence of discriminatory practices by the police based on the ethnic background of adolescents and an overall positive character of police–adolescent relations. However, transparency – explaining the reasons for police actions – and adhering to formal rules cannot be said to be the primary attributes of the proactive control actions we observed. Rather, informal adaption strategies seemed to prevail. These findings shed new light on the question of how police authority is negotiated on the streets and contribute to the search for causes of violent protests against the police.
The purpose of the article is to discuss how ethnic minority recruitment could improve police-citizen-contacts in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods in Germany. Therefore, research results concerning ethnic minority recruitment of German police forces as well as outcomes of an ethnographic study in one western German city focusing on police-juvenile relations in deprived neighborhoods are taken into account. The article details how the recruitment strategies of the German police prevent cultural diversity by targeting to the increase of police efficiency in 'problematic' neighborhoods using multicultural competences. In consequence, current recruitment strategies seem to result only in ethnic minority police officers that do not have these multicultural competences. The article further considers how socioeconomic diversity and local experience could have a bigger positive impact on effective neighborhood policing than ethnic diversity. It concludes that these aspects should be taken into account for police recruitment and personnel strategies.
This article synthesises the results from a number of recent French and international research studies dealing with relations between the police and public in France, based on procedural justice theory. Public opinion surveys converge to show that it is young people and the members of ethnic minotiries who have the most negative image of the police and show the least confidence in them. The article examines this negative image from surveys which concern the actual relations of these groups with the police, marked by reciprocal hostility and discrimination by the police, and then proposes an explanation based on the history of French policing, endeavouring to identify what is specific about the French police ‘style’ in relation to public security.
This book presents the first comprehensive analysis of the second International Self-Report Delinquency study (ISRD-2). An earlier volume, Juvenile Delinquency in Europe and Beyond (Springer, 2010) focused mainly on the findings with regard to delinquency, victimization and substance use in each of the individual participating ISRD-2 countries. The Many Faces of Youth Crime is based on analysis of the merged data set and has a number of unique features: The analyses are based on an unusually large number of respondents (about 67,000 7th, 8th and 9th graders) collected by researchers from 31 countries; It includes reports on the characteristics, experiences and behaviour of first and second generation migrant youth from a variety of cultures; It is one of the first large-scale international studies asking 12-16 year olds about their victimization experiences (bullying, assault, robbery, theft); It describes both intriguing differences between young people from different countries and country clusters in the nature and extent of delinquency, victimization and substance use, as well as remarkable cross-national uniformities in delinquency, victimization, and substance use patterns; A careful comparative analysis of the social responses to offending and victimization adds to our limited knowledge on this important issue; Detailed chapters on the family, school, neighbourhood, lifestyle and peers provide a rich comparative description of these institutions and their impact on delinquency; It tests a number of theoretical perspectives (social control, self-control, social disorganization, routine activities/opportunity theory) on a large international sample from a variety of national contexts; It combines a theoretical focus with a thoughtful consideration of the policy implications of the findings; An extensive discussion of the ISRD methodology of 'flexible standardization' details the challenges of comparative research. The book consists of 12 chapters, which also may be read individually by those interested in particular special topics (for instance, the last chapter should be of special interest to policy makers). The material is presented in such a way that it is accessible to more advanced students, researchers and scholars in a variety of fields, such as criminology, sociology, deviance, social work, comparative methodology, youth studies, substance use studies, and victimology. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012. All rights reserved.
"This timely volume brings together the leading scholars on the topic of race, ethnicity and policing in one collection. The selections provide a solid, evidence based treatment of the key criminal justice issue of our time."