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Devroe, E., Edwards, A., Ponsaers, P. (2017). “Processes of convergence and divergence in the policy formulation of policing strategies for European metropolises”, in Devroe, E., Edwards, A., Ponsaers, P. (eds.). Policing European Metropolises, The Politics of Security in City-Regions, London and New York: Routledge, 15-34.

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Abstract and Figures

This edited collection forms part of a broader, ongoing, research project, ‘The Policing European Metropolises Project’ (‘PEMP’). The Project has its origins in a network of researchers interested in the significance of sub-national policing for understanding processes of convergence and divergence in policing across Europe. The Project commenced in 2013 and reported the findings of its first phase (‘PEMP_1’) in a special issue of the European Journal of Policing Studies (Ponsaers, Edwards et al., 2014). The initial aim of the project was to address the question: ‘To what extent is a local police still present in European metropolises and how is this reality linked with other actors in the security field?’ (Ponsaers, Edwards et al., 2014: 4). This question was defined in relation to current debates in policy discourse and social science about the relationship of sub-national, specifically metropolitan, policing to developments in the European ‘internal security field’ (Bigo & Guild, 2005). This includes developments in supra-national policing policy, including the European Union’s objective of creating a Union-wide ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ (AFSJ), transnational policing arrangements, such as the Schengen Agreement, and the continued importance of national policing strategies given the variegated historical experiences of European countries, for example those in transition from former Soviet regimes in Eastern and Central Europe or Latin countries in transition from former dictatorship. In questioning any continued ‘local reality’ of policing, the Project seeks to distinguish itself from theories of convergence in European policing as a consequence of, for example, ‘Europeanisation’ (Bigo & Guild, 2005), ‘securitisation’ (Waever, 1995; Hallsworth & Lea, 2011), ‘responsibilisation’ (Garland, 2001), ‘neo-liberalisation’ (Wacquant, 2001) the formation of a ‘transnational state’ (Bowling & Sheptycki, 2012) or the promotion of ‘plural policing’ (Jones & Newburn, 2006). Rather, the Project acknowledges these ‘tendencies’ but seeks to identify their uneven impact and the adaptation of local policing to alleged master narratives of policing change. In turn, this interest in divergence has been stimulated by arguments about the particular importance of metropolises in the constitution of ‘global’ security threats and policing responses. These arguments reflect wider debates in social science about ‘glocalisation’ or the idea that, as a consequence of the greater mobility of capital, labour, goods and services across national borders, it is powerful metropolises or, in the argot of public policy, ‘city-regions’, that become a key focus of comparative social research. They become the principal centres of power through which globalisation is accomplished as they project their political, economic and cultural powers onto other, less powerful, localities, circumventing if not subordinating nation state authorities. This is akin to the concept of an evolving ‘world urban system’ (King, 1997) in which national states represent only one centre of authority within other circuits of power (Clegg, 1989; Edwards et al, this volume). In these terms, certain metropolises become the key nodal points (Castells, 1996) or ‘command centres’ (Sassen, 2001) in more networked and globally integrated social relations whilst other metropolises have to adapt to these forces with minimal protection from national authorities. In a further development of this argument it is suggested that national governing programmes are often subordinated to, and increasingly oriented around, the interests of powerful city-regions (Scott, 2012). A key implication of these broader debates is a need for comparative research capable of understanding the role of metropolitan authorities in driving policing change and whether this role enables a greater diversity in policing policies, generating opportunities for comparing and contrasting rival approaches and their outcomes, or whether the involvement of metropolitan authorities in transnational networks creates tendencies toward policy convergence (Pollitt, 2001). An important corollary of this research aim is to identify the political agency and discretion available to metropolises to define and accomplish their own policing agendas and to question what the role of social science can be in constituting such agendas. However, in pursuing these research aims, it is necessary to address major challenges of translation in cross-cultural analysis: linguistic, conceptual and disciplinary. These challenges can be elaborated through reference to developments in policy and social scientific discourse about public policing in Europe.
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Chapter 1
Processes of convergence and divergence in the policy formulation of policing
strategies for European metropolises
Elke Devroe, Adam Edwards, Paul Ponsaers
This edited collection forms part of a broader, ongoing, research project, ‘The Policing
European Metropolises Project’ (‘PEMP’). The Project has its origins in a network of
researchers interested in the significance of sub-national policing for understanding processes
of convergence and divergence in policing across Europe. The Project commenced in 2013 and
reported the findings of its first phase (‘PEMP_1’) in a special issue of the European Journal
of Policing Studies (Ponsaers, Edwards et al., 2014). The initial aim of the project was to address
the question:
‘To what extent is a local police still present in European metropolises and how is
this reality linked with other actors in the security field?’ (Ponsaers, Edwards et al.,
2014: 4).
This question was defined in relation to current debates in policy discourse and social science
about the relationship of sub-national, specifically metropolitan, policing to developments in
the European ‘internal security field’ (Bigo & Guild, 2005). This includes developments in
supra-national policing policy, including the European Union’s objective of creating a Union-
wide ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ (AFSJ), transnational policing arrangements,
such as the Schengen Agreement, and the continued importance of national policing strategies
given the variegated historical experiences of European countries, for example those in
2
transition from former Soviet regimes in Eastern and Central Europe or Latin countries in
transition from former dictatorship.
In questioning any continued ‘local reality’ of policing, the Project seeks to distinguish itself
from theories of convergence in European policing as a consequence of, for example,
‘Europeanisation’ (Bigo & Guild, 2005), ‘securitisation’ (Waever, 1995; Hallsworth & Lea,
2011), ‘responsibilisation’ (Garland, 2001), ‘neo-liberalisation’ (Wacquant, 2001) the
formation of a ‘transnational state’ (Bowling & Sheptycki, 2012) or the promotion of ‘plural
policing’ (Jones & Newburn, 2006).
Rather, the Project acknowledges these tendencies but seeks to identify their uneven impact
and the adaptation of local policing to alleged master narratives of policing change. In turn, this
interest in divergence has been stimulated by arguments about the particular importance of
metropolises in the constitution of ‘global’ security threats and policing responses. These
arguments reflect wider debates in social science about ‘glocalisation’ or the idea that, as a
consequence of the greater mobility of capital, labour, goods and services across national
borders, it is powerful metropolises or, in the argot of public policy, ‘city-regions’, that become
a key focus of comparative social research. They become the principal centres of power through
which globalisation is accomplished as they project their political, economic and cultural
powers onto other, less powerful, localities, circumventing if not subordinating nation state
authorities. This is akin to the concept of an evolving ‘world urban system’ (King, 1997) in
which national states represent only one centre of authority within other circuits of power
(Clegg, 1989; Edwards et al, this volume). In these terms, certain metropolises become the key
nodal points (Castells, 1996) or ‘command centres’ (Sassen, 2001) in more networked and
globally integrated social relations whilst other metropolises have to adapt to these forces with
minimal protection from national authorities. In a further development of this argument it is
suggested that national governing programmes are often subordinated to, and increasingly
oriented around, the interests of powerful city-regions (Scott, 2012).
A key implication of these broader debates is a need for comparative research capable of
understanding the role of metropolitan authorities in driving policing change and whether this
role enables a greater diversity in policing policies, generating opportunities for comparing and
contrasting rival approaches and their outcomes, or whether the involvement of metropolitan
authorities in transnational networks creates tendencies toward policy convergence (Pollitt,
2001). An important corollary of this research aim is to identify the political agency and
discretion available to metropolises to define and accomplish their own policing agendas and
to question what the role of social science can be in constituting such agendas. However, in
pursuing these research aims, it is necessary to address major challenges of translation in cross-
cultural analysis: linguistic, conceptual and disciplinary. These challenges can be elaborated
through reference to developments in policy and social scientific discourse about public
policing in Europe.
1. The changing policy and social scientific discourse on public policing in Europe
Public policy-makers in the institutions of the European Union itself have argued that the AFSJ
marks a major turning point in the reorganisation of policing amongst member states of the
Union, regarding it as an inevitable and inexorable consequence of the ‘four freedoms’
constituting the Union (freedom of movement of goods, workers, services and capital).
3
Realising these four freedoms creates, at one and the same time, an ‘internal security field’
within the borders of the Union and the necessity of ‘external border control’. In these terms,
the EU has claimed a competence for issues of home affairs and (criminal) justice, hitherto
regarded as the sole preserve, indeed core constitutive element, of national sovereignty. The
‘Europeanisation’ of policing can be traced in the multi-annual programmes for AFSJ which
commenced with the Tampere programme (1999-2004) and hitherto, the Hague (2005-2010)
and Stockholm (2010-2015) Programmes and which has culminated in the current New Security
Agenda for Europe, agreed in 2015 (European Commission, 2015). The Tampere programme
further justified the increasing competence of the EU in issues of home affairs and justice,
including the establishment of Union-wide policing (Europol) and justice (Eurojust) agencies,
through reference to perceived ‘threats’ to the shared internal security of member states,
specifically ‘transnational organised crime’ and ‘illegal immigration’.
Subsequently, the 9/11 attack on the United States and the bombing of the public transport
system in Madrid in 2004 promoted the concern with transnational terrorism as another major
threat and consequently the priority accorded to counter-terrorism in the Hague Programme.
Finally, the Stockholm programme extended the competence of the EU even further into the
realms of volume crime prevention and issues of social integration, variously referred to as
‘urban security’ (e.g. ‘citta sicura’), integral security (e.g. ‘integrale veiligheid’) and, in the
Anglophone world, ‘community safety’.
In turn, this evolving Europeanisation of public policy discourse about home affairs and justice
has been accompanied by a criticism of the limits to the capacity of nation-states to effectively
respond to transnational threats emanating from within the Union, as a consequence of the four
freedoms, and from without, including the post-Cold War liberalisation of the mobility of
capital, labour, goods and services and the advent of transnational terrorism in reaction to the
foreign policy commitments of European states in the Middle East. This policy discourse also
has an affinity with arguments about glocalisation as the uneven impact of transnational threats,
on certain metropolises not others, is increasingly recognised. Indeed it is precisely because
transnational threats have this uneven impact but circumvent the capacity of nation states to
effectively protect localities in their own national jurisdiction, that the EU has claimed an
increasing competence in home affairs. The conclusion of this policy discourse for research is
that understanding, and acting upon, problems of internal security needs to take metropolises
as basic units of analysis.
One response to this policy discourse within policing studies has been to identify the emergence
of a ‘transnational state system’ (Bowling & Sheptycki, 2012) that is compensating for, and in
turn challenging, national state sovereignty in matters of home affairs. A complementary
argument is that policing research needs to investigate how transnational networks are
constituted by powerful local actors as well as by transnational institutions (for example the
Schengen Area). This line of argument emerged out of PEMP_1 (Ponsaers et al., 2014; Edwards
et al, this volume).
However, theses on the withering of nation state power have been challenged for ignoring the
continued resilience, if not primacy, of nation states and of inter-national relations in shaping
home affairs including those within the internal security field of the European Union (Stenson,
2008; Lea and Stenson, 2007). Critics note the resurgence of popular nationalist movements
both within the electorates of member states, notably the ‘Brexit’ referendum in the UK in
favour of leaving the European Union (see Edwards et al, this volume) and in elections to the
European parliament. They also note the resurgence of nationalist conflicts on the Eastern
4
borders of the Union, most notably in the Ukraine and in the Baltics. Critics of the
‘transnationalisation thesis’ also note the emergence of national ‘security state’ formations
(Hallsworth and Lea, 2011) which, in the first two decades of the 21st century have enhanced
their intrusive powers of surveillance, detention without arrest, and prosecutorial powers,
including reversals in the burden of proof (as in the power to seize assets obtained by criminal
means). From this perspective, far from withering, the nation state is becoming an even more
assertive actor subject to less democratic oversight, scrutiny and legal constraint.
2. Translating the policing of European Metropolises
Investigating these competing policy and social scientific claims about the relative power of
national, supra-national, trans-national and sub-national authorities to determine policing
agendas implies a programme of comparative research. As noted in the introduction, however,
such programmes encounter significant problems of translation which need to be addressed if
European social scientists wish to avoid talking at, or past, rather than with one another.
Most obviously there is the linguistic challenge of translating the meaning of apparently similar
concepts that actually signify quite divergent practices. For example, the connotation of
‘policing’ in some European contexts with the public policies formulated and implemented by
state police actors and, in others, with strategies undertaken by a multiplicity of state,
commercial and voluntary actors working ‘in partnership’ to address issues of crime, public
order and social integration. Underpinning such linguistic differences is the further challenge
of translating the meanings ‘in-use’ of policing, both in public policy and social scientific
discourse. For example, the use of policy constructs like ‘community policing’ or ‘urban
security’ to signify a broad range of interventions against crime and civil unrest that can include
social and economic policies to promote social integration (e.g. work with young people,
families, employment and training and so forth) as well as the more conventional focus on
criminal justice policy responses. A key implication of this broader translation of policing
problems is precisely the necessary involvement of agencies beyond nationally constituted
criminal justice systems to include other actors at the sub-national level, given the perceived
importance of intervening at the level of the metropolis and at the sub-metropolitan level of
‘neighbourhoods’ which are the contexts in which problems of security are actually
experienced. In turn the use of social scientific constructs, such as ‘securitisation’ and
‘responsibilisation’, to interpret and criticise policy constructs presents a further problem of
translation, that of the ‘double hermeneutic’, in which social scientists have to interpret the
interpretations of their research subjects, a problem which exists in any social context but which
is accentuated in the cross-cultural contexts of ‘Europe’.
A final, yet further, aspect of these problems of translation is the communication amongst social
scientists from different disciplines in placing their interpretations on the interpretations of their
research subjects. In an earlier account of this problem, the policing researcher, Robert Reiner
(1988), identified a ‘parallel blindness’ between the research programmes of criminology and
political science which echoed David Matza’s (1969) broader criticism of positivist
criminology, ‘which achieved the seemingly impossible, divorcing crime from the state’. The
parallel quality of this blindness can still be detected in tendencies to divorce substantive
security ‘problems’ from the social reaction to them. In effect what persists in criminology on
the one hand, and political sociology on the other, is a treatment of security problems as if they
are either the artefacts of policing and governing rationalities (a form of extreme
constructionism) or as if they exist independently of these rationalities ( the positivist ‘sensing’
of crime).
5
In this regard the emerging inter-disciplinary subject of ‘security studies’ presents an
opportunity to understand policing as an emergent product of interactions between ‘problems’
and ‘responses’ (Balzacq & Dunn, 2016). Recognising this emergent quality of policing implies
an analytical concern with political competition, which includes but is not reducible to
governing rationalities or ‘governmentalities’ (Foucault, 1991; Rose 2000) and consequently
requires an understanding of other policing dispositions, how they are facilitated by
technologies of production and discipline but also how these are apprehended or neglected and
then acted on by competing policing actors (Clegg, 1989; Edwards, 2016). In short, policing
research needs to be located in an explicit analytic of power.
A fundamental proposition of the PEMP is that these linguistic, conceptual and disciplinary
problems of translation necessitate a collaborative approach to cross-national and inter-
disciplinary research. More provocatively, it can be argued that these problems of translation
are not specific to the analysis of policing but are constitutive of social science in Europe
(Bourdieu, 1998) including a distinctively ‘European’ criminology (Smith, 2004). The
implication of this collaborative approach is that research strategy needs to be accomplished
through a series of sequential phases of discussion and criticism in which the meanings of
policing across different European contexts can be established through dialogue and
deliberation rather than treated as given. Technically, this research strategy can be depicted as
‘inductive – adaptive’, where theoretical propositions enabling comparative social scientists to
criticise, not just reiterate, constructs in policing policy and research emerge out of initial phases
of conceptual clarification and description and are then revised, ‘adapted’, in the light of
empirical investigation. In these terms, the first phase of PEMP sought to establish the existence
of metropolitan policing strategies as objects of policing politics and governance that are
distinct from, and cannot be reduced to, policing policies formulated elsewhere, in, above or
beneath the nation state. The key insight of the first phase of the Project is that such strategies
do exist, for example in the ‘Axis Plan’ for Barcelona (Recasens i Brunet & Ponsaers, 2014)
and the ‘Police and Crime Plan’ for London (Edwards & Prins, 2014) although their relationship
to national and supra-national strategies affecting the policing in these and other metropolises
is less clear. In response to the presentation of this key insight, along with other findings from
PEMP_1, at the annual meeting of the European Society of Criminology in Prague in September
2014, a number of constructive criticisms were made which have driven the second phase of
the project whose findings are reported in this volume. These criticisms can be distinguished in
terms of the empirical, methodological and conceptual aspects of the Project.
The multiple but holistic case study design adopted for the first phase of the Project, in which
policing in one city per country was investigated, stimulated discussion about the need for
further research capable of clarifying the grounds for demonstrating the specifically
metropolitan, rather than national, effect on sub-national policing strategies. To this end,
PEMP_2 has adopted a multiple-embedded case study design in which the multiplicity of
national contexts has been expanded, beyond the original five (England & Wales, Bulgaria,
Germany, France and Spain) to include Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Britain (England, Wales,
and Scotland), Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Germany and France, and the units of analysis
within these cases extended to include an intra-national comparison of policing in at least two
metropolises.
Figure 1.1. : Sampling logic of embedded cases for PEMP_2
*** HERE FIGURE 1.1. ***
6
To this end, PEMP_1 adopted a more inductive approach seeking to build a cross-national
research network that accommodated the breadth of empirical and conceptual interests in
policing at the metropolitan level rather than an overly directive approach driven by a particular
theoretical approach or thesis. Rather, the intention of PEMP_1 was to explore whether it was
possible to reach a consensus about the appropriate empirical and conceptual approach to
comparison, not least to recognise genuine variegation in policing strategies across these
different contexts, for example the reduction of metropolitan policing to national police
strategy. As such, this inductive approach necessarily under-conceptualised the units of
comparative analysis but generated a rich repertoire of suggestions for further research.
3. Comparing the formulation of public policing strategies in European metropolises: a
conceptual framework
These parameters can be summarised, through reference to the methodological arguments of
the Polish sociologist Piotr Sztompka (1990), in terms of, ‘the scope of applicability, objects
and predicates’ of comparative analysis (see Figure 2). As implied in the background discussion
of PEMP_1 and its reception, the scope of applicability is metropolises within member states
of the European Union since the advent of the multi-annual programmes for AFSJ and, in
particular, the period of the Stockholm Programme and the extension of the EU’s interest in
matters of urban security
1
. This, of course, is not to ignore the significance of earlier periods of
policy making about policing strategies where they clarify continuities and key policy shifts in
particular national and metropolitan contexts (for example the shift from community safety
1
See the special issue of the European Journal of Policing Studies, volume 2, issue 1, 2014 (Ponsaers et al., 2014;
Aden & De Pauw, 2014; Devroe & Petrov, 2014; Edwards & Prins, 2014; Mouhanna & Easton, 2014; Recasens i
Brunet & Ponsaers, 2014);
See also the special issue of European Journal of Criminology, volume 10, issue 3, 2013 (Virta, 2013; Edwards &
Hughes, 2013; Edwards et al., 2013; Meško et al., 2013; Recasens, 2013; Gilling et al., 2013; Devroe, 2013; Frevel,
2013; Xenakis & Cheliotis, 2013).
7
back to narrower police-centred strategies in Italy post-2008 financial crisis and the onset of
‘austerity’ (Selmini, this volume).
Figure 1.2. : Conceptual frameworks for comparing the formulation of public policing
strategies in European metropolises
*** HERE FIGURE 1.2. ***
Source: Adapted from Sztompka (1990), Clegg (1989), Edwards & Hughes (2005).
The first phase of the Project also reflected a broader ambiguity and argument over the
relationship between ‘police’, ‘policing’ and various ‘social integration’ strategies (variously
translated as ‘community safety’, ‘integral security’ and ‘urban security’ (Edwards, Hughes, &
Lord, 2013) as either objects or predicates of comparison. Of course this is not particular to
PEMP but is an ongoing dispute within the contemporary sociology of policing, reflecting an
interest in the phenomenon of ‘plural policing’ and a broadening of the scope of objects of
comparative analysis to include commercial and voluntary, formal and informal, actors and the
distinction between policing as a process (that can be undertaken by a multiplicity of actors
beyond the state police) and ‘police’ as a very particular apparatus or modern institution (Jones
& Newburn, 2006; Reiner, 2010; Crawford, 2008; Loader, 2000; Terpstra, 2012; Devroe, 2015;
Devroe & Terpstra, 2015 ; Prins et al., 2012). More recently a further dimension of analysis has
been introduced through the distinction between ‘strategic’ and ‘operational’ policing, with the
former referring to the role of elected and appointed decision-makers in setting the medium-
term (four-five year plans covering terms of office) and overall direction and priorities for
policing across various territories and the latter referring to the mundane, everyday and
operational, tactical decisions made by those policing actors with responsibility for
implementation. This broader debate over ‘plural policing’ exacerbates the problem of
translating concepts for comparative research and increases the risk of researchers adopting
empirical foci that are not actually compatible.
To address this translation problem, the second phase of the Project delimits the scope of objects
to the formulation of public policies for policing European metropolises which, in particular
cases, are signalled by the formulation of medium-term ‘strategic plans’ that run concurrently
with elected terms of office (for example the four year term of office for the elected Mayor of
London). In these terms the comparative work undertaken for the second phase of the Project
delimits the objects of analysis to ‘public’ (not commercial, involuntary or informal etc.)
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policing, ‘policy formulation’ (not implementation or outcomes) that is ‘strategic’ and
concerned with medium-term planning and agenda-setting (not operational policing). This is
not to deny the significance of these other parameters of comparative policing research, some
of which will form a focus for research in subsequent phases of the PEMP, especially phases
considering policing metropolises ‘in action’. Rather, it is to ensure there is a compatibility
between the foci of comparison in the various case studies of metropolitan policing considered
in this volume and to privilege, in the first instance, a concern with the capacity of metropolitan
authorities to set their own policing agendas.
Having established the scope of objects for comparison in contributions to the second phase of
the Project, Figure 3 draws upon theories of power in social science, in particular Clegg’s
(1989) ‘circuits of power’ framework, to distinguish the kinds of power that can produce or
inhibit metropolitan policing strategies, that is, the ‘predicates’ of public policy formulation in
this field. These predicates, initially developed in Edwards and Hughes (2005), can be
distinguished in terms of the ‘standing conditions’, which policy actors necessarily inhabit and
which enable or constrain their capacity to advance particular policing agendas (for example,
the constitutional-legal powers that particular actors have to make or contest policing strategies,
the financial resources and organisational resources available to them and the kinds of
intelligence and ‘data’ that can inform or contest policing agendas), the ‘dispositions’ which
characterise these agendas and the strategic direction which policy actors wish to set (for
example, the pursuit of criminal justice and risk management or restorative and social justice
policing goals), and the ‘facilitative powers’, the technologies of production and discipline,
which can disrupt or help consolidate particular policing strategies, for example, economic
crises, such as the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent sovereign debt crises affecting a number
of European countries, the migration crisis, within and from without the European Union, or
the impact of innovations in digital technologies facilitating ‘smart policing etc.(Edwards,
2016).
Defining and differentiating these objects and predicates of comparison for the second phase of
the project was the remit of papers presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of
Criminology in Porto in September 2015. In these terms the main aim of the second phase of
the Project is to question:
What processes of convergence and divergence exist in the policy formulation of
policing strategies for European metropolises and how can these be explained?
4. Comparing metropolitan policing strategies in the context of multiple internal security
fields: a conceptual framework
Whilst an emphasis on metropolitan policing strategies helps to better clarify the scope of
comparative analysis, providing a logic for better identifying, characterising and explaining any
processes of convergence and divergence, there is a danger of presuming that metropolitan-
level strategies exist across all of the metropolises that are of interest. However, this would be
to reduce the complex reality of continuity and change in sub-national policing in ways that
obscure the ongoing importance of national authorities, indeed their centrality to the
formulation of policing strategies for cities in particular countries, as well as other centres of
power in the supra-national and transnational contexts of metropolitan policing. As discussed
in greater detail through the various contributions to Part One of the book, these strategies
inhabit a multiplicity of internal security fields rather than a (singular) European internal
security field as presumed in the first phase of the Project. Rather, findings from the first phase
9
of the Project implied the existence of a number of contexts which policing strategists in
particular metropolises can inhabit and which are envisaged here in Figure 3.
Figure 1.3. : Multiple, intersecting, internal security fields in Europe
*** HERE FIGURE 1.3. ***
This conceptual framework is informed by Bourdieu’s (1977; 1990) concept of semi-
autonomous fields. For Bourdieu fields are systems of objective relations between positions
that are constituted by various species of capital or power. Positions in a field are occupied by
actors and are interrelated. Fields are characterised by asymmetric power relations, as a
structured social space, with its own rules, schemes of dominance, subordination and legitimate
opinions which are, in turn, ‘relatively autonomous’ of the broader social structure. The
principal implication is that the formulation of policing strategies is an emergent outcome of
influences from a number of discrete but interrelated internal security fields. Rather than there
being a, singular, ‘internal security field’ (see Bigo, 2000), the implication of research
undertaken for PEMP_2 is that there are a multiplicity of semi-autonomous fields of policing,
which encompass competing objects of ‘freedom, security and justice’. It is precisely in
questioning how these are configured in particular metropolises but not others that explanatory
theories about divergence and convergence in policing at the sub-national level in Europe can
be built.
Apropos the scope of applicable comparisons, all metropolises inhabit a national security field,
all the metropolises considered in PEMP_2 also inhabit the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security
and Justice and are subject to its multi-annual programmes (although this could alter in future
phases of the project if non-EU metropolises are included or in the event that metropolises
currently in the EU exit, such as those in the UK post-Brexit referendum) and all metropolises
inhabit the global context of (for example, the internet and de-regulated financial services).
Within these national and supra-national contexts, however, there is an important variegation
in the particular trans-national contexts inhabited by some metropolises but not others. For
example, not all metropolises in the EU inhabit the transnational context of the Schengen
Agreement (e.g. the British cities of Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London), or inhabit various
10
informal policy networks amongst, for example, metropolitan authorities in the Nordic states
(see Virta, this volume) or amongst southern European countries (see Recasens i Brunet et al.,
2013). The proposition is that the particular insertion of metropolises within these overlapping
security fields helps to identify, characterise and explain significant divergences in policing
strategy.
Conceptualising the comparison of policing strategies in this way, also recognises the
variegated insertion of metropolises within a ‘world urban system’ (King, 1996) which, in
addition to their location within the European security field, shapes the particular opportunities
for, and threats to, freedom, security and justice, that specific metropolises export and import.
For example, London imports particular security threats as a consequence of its status as a
capital city involved in foreign policy networks and as its status as a centre of global financial
services (see Edwards and Prins, 2014; Edwards et al, this volume). Similarly, as horrifically
witnessed on Friday 13th November 2015, Paris imports major security threats as a consequence
of its insertion in the global struggle with supporters of the Islamic State. To this end, our
internal security fields’ heuristic alerts comparativists to the insights that can be gleaned from
the cross-national comparison of similar kinds of metropolis. In this example, comparisons
between London and Paris are liable to yield insights into processes of divergence and
convergence in policing strategies within metropolises experiencing comparable problems.
Heuristics are not, however, explanations and so a final ambition of PEMP_2 is to stimulate
argument over the possible causes of divergence and convergence in the formulation of policing
strategies. As such the ambition of the second phase of the project is to advance more explicit
analytical reflections on the formulation of policing strategies in particular metropolises. To
stimulate this kind of theory-building, contributions to the book draw upon broader ‘circuits of
power’ (Clegg, 1989) in social science to distinguish the causal power of particular policing
strategists (chief police officers, elected mayors, ministers of the interior etc.) and the various
‘standing conditions’ (the constitutional-legal mandates, financial resources, organisational
forms, political scandals and intelligence) in which this causal power is exercised from other
kinds of power that may also help to characterise and explain the policing strategies formulated
by these actors. In these terms it is possible to further distinguish the ‘dispositional’ power that
establishes the meaning of, and membership in, policing strategies oriented around ‘criminal
justice’ agendas and/or those of ‘risk management’, ‘restorative justice’ or ‘social justice’ to
name some familiar, if not exhaustive, policing dispositions. Finally, processes of divergence
and convergence might be conceptualised in terms of the ‘facilitative’ power that enables the
constitution and reproduction of certain policing dispositions whilst disabling and discrediting
others. For example, we might reflect on the impact of terrorist atrocities, such as the Paris
attacks on Friday 13th November 2015, on the consolidation or disruption of criminal justice
dispositions.
In limiting the object of comparison in PEMP_2 to policy formulation, it is acknowledged that
we cannot impute much about the actual practice and outcomes of policing strategies ‘in action’
(Latour, 1987; 1986). This implies a further phase of research capable of examining any
‘implementation gap’ between policy in formulation and policy in action through more
ethnographic research methods. Although this is beyond the scope of the current volume, this
is an ambition for subsequent phases of the Project.
5. Organisation of the book
The book is divided into four parts.
11
The first introductory part (Part I) contains this introduction, Processes of convergence and
divergence in the policy formulation of policing strategies for European metropolises, written
by Elke Devroe, Adam Edwards and Paul Ponsaers (Chapter 1), in which we elaborate and
exemplify our suggested conceptual framework for comparison, which understands
metropolitan policing strategies as the outcome of influences from multiple, intersecting, ‘fields
of internal security’.
This part also contains a second chapter, entitled European National Police Systems and
Metropolitan Realities, written by Elke Devroe and Paul Ponsaers (Chapter 2). They consider
the continued significance of the national contexts of metropolitan policing, which are often
neglected in accounts of transnational and supra-national internal security fields. The chapter
develops a typology of national policing systems, distinguishing between historically diverse
police systems, territorially divided police systems and unified national systems. As such the
chapter considers the alignment of national policing systems with the political constitution of
different European nation states, as a means of questioning the particular significance and
institutional effects of Federal and Unitary polities for metropolitan policing strategies.
In Part II, Convergence: The Dominance of National States in Agenda Setting, we focus on
those national realities that clearly dominate the formulation of metropolitan policing agendas.
Originally we thought that this part should look at trans-national policing issues, including
regional relations (e.g. policing agreements amongst Scandinavian countries, or the
distinctiveness of metropolitan policing in Eastern and Central Europe in countries still
experiencing the legacy of communist regimes, or of metropolitan policing in societies still
experiencing the legacy of dictatorship as in Portugal and Spain). As we received contributions
to this part, it has become apparent that variation amongst the politics and policy agendas of
policing in the metropolises under study was negligible because of the apparent dominant
position of national state agendas and the inability of metropolises to pursue their own policing
agendas through distinctive city-regional policies.
The first country considered in this part is France, the chapter entitled Governing Metropolises:
the False Pretences of Metropolisation, written by Jacques de Maillard and Christian
Mouhanna (Chapter 3). The authors are analysing the efforts of the local governance of four
metropolises (Paris, Lyons, Toulouse, and Strasbourg) to develop a policing agenda which is
divergent from the national one, starting from the 1983 Bonnemaison report, de Maillard and
Mouhanna illustrate the limits of local governance in the field of security and the manoeuvring
of central authorities to maintain their dominant position in this area.
Next Carla Cardoso and Josefina Castro discuss the interaction of internal security fields in the
context of Portuguese metropolises (Lisbon and Porto) since the transition from Salazar’s
dictatorship to a liberal democratic polity. In their chapter, entitled, Urban Security Governance
in Portugal: key-elements and challenges (Chapter 4), Cardoso and Castro argue that the
strategic power of the Portuguese nation state in formulating policing policy has been
maintained in ways that continue to restrict the discretion of Portuguese metropolises to
formulate their own policing strategies. Although the strategic power of the Portuguese nation
state has been maintained they identify three distinctive periods of the liberal democratic state
in which the disposition of policing has altered. Finally they characterise the current dominant
national policing strategy, since 2010, as one struggling to adapt to conditions of austerity.
12
In Policing regimes in transition in the Nordic countries, Some critical notes from the Nordic
reality, Sirpa Virta and Jari Taponen (Chapter 5) explore the interaction of national, supra-
national and transnational internal security fields in the particular context of Nordic
metropolises. In the first instance, these metropolises inhabit unitary nation states with powerful
central authorities that in the immediate post-War period were concerned to maintain social
democratic welfare states. In the second instance, these nation states established formal and
informal inter-national agreements for internal security. The authors argue this combination of
strong nation states engaged in international agreements has reduced the discretion available to
metropolises to formulate their own distinctive policing strategies and acted as a major driver
of convergence in policing dispositions amongst Nordic metropolises. Whilst the strength of
this inter-national internal security field continues, Virta and Taponen argue it is currently
undergoing a process of transition from a social democratic to a neo-liberal disposition as
Nordic states struggle to adapt to the impact of the increased freedom of movement for capital,
labour, goods and services across national borders.
In Chapter 6, entitled, Metropolitan Policing in Post-Soviet Countries: the case of Slovenia,
Maja Modic, Branko Lobnikar, Bernarda Tominc, Andrej Sotlar, and Gorazd Meško discuss
the interaction of national, supra-national and transnational internal security fields in the
particular context of Central and Eastern European metropolises. The distinctiveness of this
context is the shared history of experiencing policing in transition to liberal democracies from
former communist political systems. The provision of security is to a large extent under state
patronage, in both the metropolises under study (Ljubljana and Maribor). The legislative
regulation for all institutions of policing contribute to very little differences in both analysed
cities and mayors do not have much of an impact on the agenda of the centralized state police.
Furthermore, the national law on local police does not even allow municipalities to have full
autonomy with regard to the functioning of municipal warden services in these metropolises.
Part III, Divergence : Active City-Regions pursuing their own policing agendas, includes
contributions that distinguish metropolitan-specific effects on policing from national effects.
Here metropolises are actively encouraged to pursue their own policing agendas through city-
regional policies.
Chapter 7 is built on two contributions from Italy: firstly, Urban Policing in Italy: Some
reflections in a comparative perspective, written by Rossella Selmini, and secondly, Policing
and Urban Control in Rome and Milan: A View from the Southern Edge of Europe, written by
Marco Calaresu and Rossella Selmini. The authors consider the interaction of internal security
fields in the context of Italian metropolises (Rome and Milan), in which the nation state has had
the constitutional mandate for formulating policing strategy but has struggled to project this
strategic power over metropolitan authorities who, as a consequence, have significant discretion
to formulate their own policing agendas. The authors observe an asymmetric relationship
between a weak national state and relatively autonomous local states. They depict the current
period as one in which those metropolises that did adopt local urban security strategies
encompassing social and economic policy responses to problems of routine, volume, crime and
civil unrest have now withdrawn from these, not least under the pressure of the post-2008
financial crisis and subsequent sovereign debt problems experienced by Italy and other
Southern European states. As a result, there has been a re-emphasis on a national policing
agenda prioritising criminal justice and risk management but the capacity to advance this
agenda remains open to doubt with the possible consequence of policy vacuums and policy
drift. Nevertheless, Milan was able to develop a more socially inclusive approach and a less
‘law and order’ oriented policing style during Mayor Pisapia’s administration, demonstrating
13
a remarkable capacity to resist the punitive and exclusionary rationalities characterising the
national agenda for metropolitan policing in Italy.
In their discussion of Metropolitan Policing Agendas in Britain: Divergent Tendencies in a
Fragmenting State? (Chapter 8), Adam Edwards, Sophie Chambers, Nick Fyffe and Alistair
Henry consider the implications of major constitutional reforms for the politics of metropolitan
policing in Britain. They identify two recent periods of reform, both aimed at maintaining the
integrity of the United Kingdom and its membership of the European Union. Firstly, the period,
under the UK administrations of New Labour (1997 2010), of agreements to devolve powers
from the UK government to the Scottish Parliament and to assemblies in Wales and Northern
Ireland. Secondly, the period of ‘secessionist referenda’ covering the UK Coalition Government
of Conservatives and Liberals (2010 2015) and the election of the Conservative UK
government in May 2015. This latter period included a narrow loss of the referendum on
Scottish Independence from the UK by the secessionists in September 2014 but a rekindling of
the Scottish independence movement following the shock victory, in May 2016, of the Leave
campaign in the UK referendum on membership of the European Union. It is argued this
‘Brexit’ vote has compounded other tendencies toward the fragmentation of metropolitan
governance in the UK, including the ‘new localism’ of devolving responsibilities for both
setting and funding policing agendas, in conditions of austere public expenditure settlements,
to regional actors in England and Wales, in particular the recently established Police and Crime
Commissioners, and to municipal authorities working ‘in partnership’ with the PCCs to deliver
agendas for safer and cohesive communities.
In Policing metropolises in a system of cooperative federalism: Berlin as the German capital
and a City State compared to Cologne as the biggest city in North Rhine-Westphalia (Chapter
9) Harmut Aden and Bernhard Frevel discuss the situation in Germany. The 16 German states
enjoy a high level of autonomy. The Berlin police system had to deal with a completely new
political and administrative context since the 1990s, as a consequence of reunification.
Consequently, in the City State of Berlin, the police and local government are more closely
dependant on each other, while both belong to the same government and the political steering
of the policy agenda is more direct. By contrast, in Cologne, the police are an independent
authority belonging to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, disconnected from local
governance. However, the authors show that in spite of these differences in dispositions, the
German political system leads to convergence in agenda-setting in both cities, because of the
strong tradition of cooperative federalism, the dominance of cooperation with NGOs and other
actors outside the security sector and the fact that sharing responsibilities between state and
civil society seems to be a core element of the ‘activating state in Germany. This ‘path
dependency’ towards a ‘co-operative Federalism’ is underpinned by the more profound
commitment to Rechtstaat, the legal state, and an antipathy toward pre-judicial and extra-
judicial security strategies.
Evelien De Pauw and Marleen Easton’s contribution, Policing Antwerp & Brussels: two of a
kind?, considers metropolitan policing in Belgium (Chapter 10). The authors argue that,
notwithstanding Federal government attempts to steer metropolitan policing there are
significant opportunities for the exercise of local discretion. In Brussels and Antwerp we
observe a complex mixture of local and national police forces, steered by different policy
agendas. Especially in Brussels where there is a complex admixture of local and national police
forces, functioning according to different policy agendas on the territory of the same
metropolitan area. This complexity is, in turn, a consequence of the broader attempt to maintain
the integrity of the Belgian state by accommodating the competing regional and linguistic
14
interests of Flanders and Wallonia in the government of the Capital. The ongoing interference
from the regions on the one hand, and the strong autonomy of the municipalities on the other,
are simultaneously causing a greater ‘divergence’ in policing agendas. Local politics have a
huge impact on local security plans and can differ widely from national policy. This raises the
question whether or not we are dealing with ‘urban republics where the mayor’s political
affiliation determines security policy. Politics in Brussels and Antwerp seems to be largely
characterized by the competition of power between the national-state and municipal authorities.
The recent increase in the terror threat to level 3 (serious) and to level 4 (very serious) in
Belgium and Brussels, following the attack on Brussels airport in March 2016 and the use of
the municipality of Molenbeek in Brussels as a base by those involved in the attacks on Paris
the previous November, have provoked a major debate about the need to reconcile competing
national and municipal agendas for metropolitan policing.
In Local strategies for glocal challenges: Comparing policing agendas in Amsterdam and
Rotterdam Ruth Prins and Elke Devroe (Chapter 11) analyse the politics of policing, with a
specific focus on policing agendas in the two largest cities in The Netherlands. Both Amsterdam
and Rotterdam are considered metropolises facing ‘glocal’ challenges related to multicultural
populations in urban areas, social inequalities in terms of household income, international
harbors, crime and disorder. In order to get an understanding of the tendencies towards
divergence and convergence in urban policing in these city-regions, the authors sketch the
general trends in policing in the Netherlands. They discuss the national, regional and local
constitutional arrangements and discretionary powers entailed in public police management in
these cities. Prins and Devroe compare and contrast policing agendas in Amsterdam and
Rotterdam and conclude with an account of the possible explanations for convergence and
divergence in the politics of policing in these metropolises. In turn, these are related to the
political ‘circuits of power’ of the municipal ruling coalitions in these two citeis and in the
wider institutional environment they inhabit.
Part IV concludes this volume with a chapter on, The European World of Metropolitan
Policing: interpreting patterns of governance, policy and politics (Chapter 12), written by
Adam Edwards, Elke Devroe and Paul Ponsaers. This chapter elicits theoretical propositions
from contributions in Parts Two and Three of the book, which are capable of explaining
processes of convergence and divergence in metropolitan policing.
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