The European World of Metropolitan Policing: interpreting patterns of
governance, policy and politics
Adam Edwards, Elke Devroe and Paul Ponsaers
1. Introduction, The metropolis as an object of policing governance, policy and politics
It is presumed in the Policing European Metropolises Project (PEMP) that the metropolitan
area is an increasingly important object of policing governance, given the transnational
challenges encountered by European nation states, including the movement of capital, labour,
goods and services enabled by the Treaty on European Union: the ‘Amsterdam Settlement’.
In this sense, metropolitan policing is, in part, an artefact of the Amsterdam Settlement and
the four freedoms which facilitate mobility across national territories and, in doing so, create
new internal security fields. This is a principal insight of the concept of multiple,
overlapping, internal security fields introduced in Chapter One of this collection. Illicit, as
well as licit, capital, labour, goods and services move from particular localities to others and,
especially, to the metropolises in which the markets for these are concentrated. This can be
understood as a specific European instance of the broader process of ‘glocalisation’, a
concept coined by social scientists to characterise greater transnational mobility and how this
privileges certain localities that are able to project their political, economic and cultural
power, acting as ‘command points’ (Sassen, 2001; Massey, 2007) in emerging global
markets, whilst subordinating those localities that struggle to adapt to these global forces
(Swyngedouw, 1997). The basic assumption behind the PEMP is that this process is
producing a significant and uneven development of security problems and responses that
need to be registered at the level of the metropolis, given that city-regions have different
trajectories in the import and export of security problems. Contributors to this edited
collection were invited to reflect on the particular significance of metropolitan policing in
different nation-state contexts, as registered through reference to particular governing
arrangements and policy agendas, in order to test and to adapt this proposition (see Chapter
One, this volume).
Contributions to Parts Two and Three of this book reflect on different trajectories for nation
states in Europe and their implications for metropolitan policing, contrasting those nation
states in which there has been an explicit attempt to create city-regions with metropolitan-
specific policing plans or ‘metropolitan-centred metropolitan agendas’, as in Belgium (De
Pauw and Easton, this volume), Britain (Edwards et al, this volume), Italy (Calaresu and
Selmini, this volume), Germany (Aden and Frevel, this volume) and the Netherlands (Prins
and Devroe, this volume), with those in which national policing strategies are predominant,
or ‘national-centred metropolitan agendas’, produced by, inter alia, the defence of French
Republicanism (de Maillard & Mouhanna, this volume), the transition from dictatorship in
Portugal (Cardoso & Castro, this volume), the defence of Nordic social democracies (Virta &
Taponen, this volume), or the transition from communism in Eastern and Central Europe
(Modic et al., this volume). In Spain the reconciliation of regional conflicts between
Catalunya and the Basque country on the one hand, and the Castilian State on the other,
produces a series of quasi-national police agendas driven by each of these regional powers
(Recasens i Brunet & Ponsaers, 2014).
In interpreting the various contributions to Parts Two and Three of the book we argue here
that it is possible to identify the existence of a ‘European world of metropolitan policing’
characterised by a significant diversity of metropolitan policing agendas. To elicit theoretical
propositions from these contributions that are in turn capable of building explanations of this
diversity, we revisit the conceptual framework for comparing metropolitan policing that was
introduced in Chapter One, specifically the circuits of causal, dispositional and facilitative
power that constitute multiple, overlapping, internal security fields.
The concept of a European world of metropolitan policing captures the particularity and
urgency of the challenges currently confronting the politics of security in European city-
regions better than the conventional framing of security issues as problems of inter-national
relations. Most obviously, this concept is better placed to grasp the rapid and mass migration
of populations around Europe, as EU citizens with the freedom to relocate from more
economically depressed regions in the South and East of the Union into the more buoyant
labour markets of the North and West, and as there is an intensification in refugees and
economic migrants fleeing civil war and poverty in the Middle East and in Africa. This
mobility can generate major challenges to internal security, including pressures on social
cohesion arising out of the unplanned and significant demands for housing, labour, health and
educational services and the cultural adaptation between settled residential populations and
new arrivals, including, for example, sexual mores and expectations
. At the same time, the
recent history of terrorist attacks on particular metropolises has evolved from ‘home grown’
assaults on the public transport systems of Madrid (2004) and London (2005) into
paramilitary assaults undertaken by transnational networks such as the Islamic State (IS), as
in the attacks on Paris in January and November 2015, then on Brussels airport and the
subway station at Maalbeek in March 2016, as well as the earlier attempted assault on the
Thalys international train service from Brussels to Paris in August 2015 and the shooting in
the Jewish museum in Brussels in May 2014. Again, these emphasise the inadequacy of
framing internal security threats as either solely national or European-wide problems. Rather,
these threats, as with the longer-standing concern with ‘transnational organised crime’, are a
consequence of asymmetrical networks that traverse nation-states and in which particular
metropolises are the key nodes. Another cause of the metropolis as a distinctive object of
policing governance in this European world is the unfolding consequences of the financial
crisis of 2008, the subsequent sovereign debt crises, and their highly uneven impact. The city-
regions in the South and East of the Union, including Rome and Milan (see Caleresu and
Selmini, this volume), that are amongst the initial destinations for refugees, are the very
locations most under pressure from austerity measures and whose governing capacity has
been so degraded by these measures. In turn, pressure on public services in the Northern and
Western metropolises that are the ultimate target destination of these migrants has been
identified as a key factor in the rise of national-populist political movements and anti-
Celebrations of the New Year 2016 in Cologne and Malmo were marred by reports of a series of sexual
assaults on females by recently arrived migrants. It was claimed these and other assaults had initially been
covered up by the authorities for fear of exacerbating anti-immigrant sentiments. Subsequently, these assaults
were attributed to a basic cultural misunderstanding over the presentation of self by western women and
perceptions of their sexual availability on behalf of the migrants, see
festival, accessed on 10th August 2016.
European Union sentiment, epitomised in the ‘Brexit’ result of the UK referendum on EU
membership held in June 2016 (Tilford, 2016; Edwards et al, this volume).
This concluding chapter offers an interpretation of the key patterns of governance, policy and
politics arising out of this European world by distinguishing different types of metropolitan
policing ‘regime’. Section two presents a diagnostic tool for distinguishing between regimes
that seek to maintain, develop, reform or transform conventional criminal justice and public
order agendas on the basis of the ‘rules of meaning and membership’ that integrate various
policing actors into governing arrangements. These rules concern a regime’s orientation
towards particular kinds of offenders, victims and environments, their privileging of
particular populations, ‘at risk’ groups and individual offenders and victims known to the
authorities, and finally the balance of their objectives for reducing crime, maintaining public
order and/or enhancing social cohesion. It is argued that these rules have both the
dispositional power to integrate various actors into metropolitan policing regimes but also the
liability of generating contradictions that threaten their stabilisation and further reproduction.
Section three applies this diagnostic tool to case studies of metropolitan policing presented in
this edited volume and, in section four, their contradictions are discussed in terms of future
scenarios and further implications for the comparative analysis of metropolitan policing.
2. Understanding the European World of Metropolitan Policing
To characterise metropolitan policing agendas within this European world, we draw upon one
of the predicates of comparative analysis introduced in Chapter One: that of ‘disposition’,
which can be understood as a type of power, more specifically, the ‘rules of meaning and
membership’ which organise social actors, admitting those willing and able to adhere to these
rules into membership of the organisation in question, whilst excluding those neither able nor
willing to adhere to these rules (Clegg, 1989). In turn, dispositions can be distinguished from
our other predicates of comparative analysis: the ‘causal’ power and agency of particular
actors (strategic policy-makers such as elected mayors, chiefs of police, national ministers of
the interior) and the ‘facilitative’ power of various technologies of production and discipline
that can disorganise governing coalitions and shift their policy agendas (for example, the
external shock of economic crises, incidents of terror and mass migrations of people, the
invention of disruptive technologies such as digital communications and surveillance or
political scandals such as the corruption of public officials). By contrast, dispositional power
acts as a means of social integration, binding social actors together through rules of meaning
and membership such that any one actor couldn’t participate in an organisation, including
governing coalitions responsible for metropolitan policing, if they didn’t adhere to these
rules, rules which predate the involvement of particular actors and are not reducible to their
causal agency. For the purposes of this analysis, the concept of dispositional power can be
used to characterise the rules of meaning and membership in rival metropolitan policing
agendas. In applying this concept, we have developed a framework for diagnosing policing
dispositions, summarised in Table 12.1.
Table 12.1. : Diagnostic tool of Metropolitan Policing Dispositions:
Orientations, Populations and Objectives
*** HERE TABLE 12.1. ***
This framework draws upon two intellectual traditions. Firstly, the rules of meaning and
membership in policing dispositions are defined in terms of arguments over the different
orientations, populations and objectives of policing (Graham & Bowling, 1995; Crawford,
1998; Reiner, 2010). Secondly, these rules are related to different concepts of justice and risk
management, which are prevalent across Europe (Edwards and Hughes, 2012; Edwards,
Hughes and Lord, 2013). These can be summarised in the following terms:
- Orientations: the classical and positivist traditions of criminological thought orientate
policing toward offenders or those deviating from social norms, whereas the victimology
movement, that gathered pace in North America and Western Europe in the 1970s,
privileges a focus on victims and their vulnerability to further victimisation. A longer-
standing tradition, epitomised in the work of the Chicago School, privileges a research
and policy focus on the environments, especially within cities, which are thought to
generate problems of offending and victimisation.
- Populations: another way of conceptualising competing priorities for policing agendas is
to consider the different kinds of population that can be prioritised by alternative agendas.
Here criminological thought draws upon a distinction found in epidemiology and public
health policy between primary populations of interest, that is to say the entire population,
secondary populations or particular social groups who are thought to be particularly ‘at
risk’ of being victimised or of engaging in offending behaviour, and, finally, tertiary
populations of actual victims and offenders known to the authorities, especially as a
consequence of their multiple and repeated victimisation and/or their prolific offending.
- Objectives: a final set of concepts for diagnosing policing agendas draws upon the well-
established literature on the alternative objectives of policing, to reduce crime, to
maintain public order and to provide various social services.
These concepts help to define the necessary rules of meaning and membership in policy
agendas in ways which, we contend, translate across different political and cultural contexts
of policing governance whilst providing insight into the contingent political competition to
formulate policing agendas within specific contexts. In this way this analytical dimension of
the diagnostic tool addresses the basic problem of comparative research in defining concepts
that translate across cultural contexts without inhibiting contextualised insight.
This concern with reconciling the cross-contextual translation of concepts with context-
specific insight is also behind our use of a second intellectual tradition to define metropolitan
policing dispositions. This contrasts theories of justice with an increasing interest in the pre-
judicial, precautionary, management of ‘risks’ and ‘risky actors’. Again we contend that
concepts of criminal, restorative and social justice, along with concepts of risk management,
are now global in their scope of applicability and consequently translate across the different
contexts of metropolitan policing found in Europe. More specifically, these global policing
dispositions can be distinguished as follows:
- Criminal justice: Metropolitan policing is about the enforcement of criminal law by
supporting the prosecution and sanctioning of offences against this law. As such policing
is limited to a reaction to offences already committed and are thus essentially reactive.
- Restorative justice: Metropolitan policing is accomplished through the negotiation of
reparations between offenders and victims and through a deliberate attempt to circumvent
the criminal justice process and can be considered as a means of diversion. It is also
concerned with the role of non-state actors, such as churches and other faith
organisations, in the reintegration of offenders.
- Social justice: Metropolitan policing is accomplished through the use of social and
economic policies to address problems of social and political exclusion of citizens that
are, in turn, believed to cause social conflicts including criminal victimisation and civil
unrest. A social justice agenda seeks to extend the entitlements of citizens to improved
education, training, employment, housing, health, leisure and family support, and to
address inequalities in access to these entitlements by means of wealth redistribution.
Such a disposition is in essence aetiological in its concern with the root, social, causes of
- Managing the risks of opportunities for crime and disorder: Metropolitan policing
anticipates risks through such measures as reducing the situational opportunities for crime
and prudential advice and inducements enabling citizens to take responsibility for
reducing their own risk. It is in essence an anti-aetiological and proactive disposition.
- Managing the risks of criminal careers: Early interventions with groups ‘at risk’ of
embarking on offending careers and desistance programmes for prolific and priority
offenders. It is a proactive disposition but one premised on aetiological thinking and
informed by the insights of innovations in longitudinal studies of criminal careers.
In defining these dispositions, we have been careful to use concepts that are in-use by policy-
makers as well as social scientists although, of course, it is important for social scientists to
retain their ability to place their own interpretation on what these concepts actually signify in
practice if they are to maintain an important critical distance from policy-makers. As such
these dispositions provide an initial means of diagnosing the often complex and contradictory
admixture of dispositions that can be found in any one particular metropolitan policing
agenda, often as a consequence of the bargaining and exchange relationships that occur in
specific ‘assemblages’ of policing governance, policy and politics.
The concept of ‘governing assemblage’ (Bevir, 2013) alerts us to the bargaining and
exchange relationships that are central to governing in liberal democracies where mandates to
govern do not of themselves equip elected administrations with the financial, organisational
and informational resources to translate their policy agendas into practice and where powerful
organisations also need to legitimate their public authority. As a consequence of these
bargaining relationships there is always the possibility of governance ‘failure’ and ‘drift’ in
which a governing coalition cannot be stabilised long enough to deliver on its policy agenda.
An assemblage still exists, in the sense that minority administrations stumble on, keeping the
everyday machinery of public administration going but failing to advance the objectives of
their policy agendas. Where, however, governing coalitions are stabilised long enough to
implement their policy agendas or at least their key policy priorities, it is possible to diagnose
the existence of a governing ‘regime’ (Stone, 1989; 2002; 2009; Edwards & Hughes, 2012).
Using this differentiation of policing dispositions it is possible to define the following types
of governing assemblage:
- Maintenance regimes: in which the criminal justice disposition, the oldest and most
familiar, ever-present, policing disposition is maintained, even in the face of severe
criticism about the limits to this form of ‘punitive display’ (Garland, 1997), in which a
policy agenda is stabilised around the following rules: an orientation around offenders
rather than victims or environments, that are already known to the authorities for
predicate offences against criminal and public order laws (Nagin, 1998; Pogarski, 2002);
- Developmental regimes: in which a criminal justice agenda is augmented by forms of
risk management that are oriented around those known or suspected by the authorities of
embarking upon offending careers and/or reducing the opportunities for victimisation that
can include particular criminogenic environments and be targetted at whole populations
as well as ‘at risk’ groups of repeat victims and prolific offenders;
- Reformist regimes: in which a criminal justice agenda is reformed to place a greater
emphasis on the diversion of offenders and victims away from the criminal justice and
penal process towards civil remedies such as reparation schemes and other forms of
- Transformative regimes: in which a criminal justice agenda is transformed from a core
to a peripheral concern and replaced by a focus on social as well as restorative justice
objectives. These entail reducing crime and reordering public safety through policies
oriented towards the environmental conditions that produce offending, victimisation and
civil unrest, in particular, gross social and economic inequalities and the exclusion of
social groups from effective political participation;
- Failed regimes: in which rival agendas cancel each other out and effectively preclude the
stabilisation of a governing regime.
3. Contemporary Metropolitan Policing Regimes in Europe
It is suggested that this conceptual scheme for diagnosing and comparing metropolitan
policing encompasses the breadth of possible arrangements and agendas that seek to
maintain, develop, reform or transform criminal justice agendas for policing or which can be
characterised as failing to do so.
3.1. Maintenance regimes: the consolidation of criminal justice dispositions
Policing has been as, if not more, concerned with maintaining public order as it has with
reducing crime but in its modern form, policing became associated with the use of criminal
and administrative sanctions against particular offenders known to the authorities for
predicate offences (Bittner, 1970). Whilst this disposition continues, we argue it is possible to
differentiate those metropolitan policing regimes which have retained this core mission from
others which have acknowledged its limitations and have sought to either develop, reform or
transform it (van Dijk et al., 2015). In these terms, a maintenance regime can be diagnosed as
one which continues to reduce the policy agenda for policing to a concern with:
(2) already known to the authorities; and
(3) subject to tertiary interventions for reducing crime and maintaining order amongst
prolific and priority offenders, be these individuals concerned with particular
kinds of offence and/or engaged in behaviour labelled ‘anti-social’.
In these terms, there may not be a public policy agenda explicitly stated as such, just an
expectation that authorities responsible for enforcing laws on criminality and public disorder
simply execute this role. This is the implication of studies of metropolitan policing in the
context of Eastern and Central European countries in transition from former communist
regimes (Devroe & Petrov, 2014; Meško et al., 2013; Meško & Lobnikar, 2005; Modic et al.,
this volume). This disposition can also characterise the direction which metropolitan policing
has taken in France since the administration of President Sarkozy (de Maillard & Mouhanna,
this volume) and in the strong continuity of the policing agenda in Finland, where high public
confidence in established policing regimes has provided little stimulus for reform (Virta &
Taponen, this volume). There are different kinds of maintenance regime that share particular
orientations, populations of concern and objectives, but are nonetheless grounded in very
diverse governing arrangements and histories.
In European countries with a Napoleonic tradition, as in France, Belgium and the
Netherlands, police officers execute two different maintenance mandates: (1) they execute
judicial police tasks guided by the public prosecutor (‘crime fighting’, compliance with the
criminal code), with the objective of bringing criminal cases to court; and (2) they execute
administrative police tasks, under the supervision of an administrative authority, mostly the
local Mayor, who has important competences in this domain.
In the Napoleonic tradition, administrative police competences can be very broad, reflecting
the autonomy and discretion of the Mayor to set municipal policing agendas about the
maintenance of public tranquillity, security and health. Under the auspices of this mandate,
police officers have essentially a preventive and service function (surveillance, patrolling,
oversight during mass events including football matches and political demonstrations), but
they also have the function of maintaining and restoring public order in the event of civil
unrest. Interventions made under the auspices of the administrative police mandate are bound
to specific regulations (administrative arrest, administrative search and frisk, use of force in
the framework of public disorderly behaviour, administrative fines, administrative identity
controls, administrative information gathering), which are different from those in the
framework of judicial (criminal) police tasks. Administrative functions are considered in
Napoleonic countries as the core business of police forces, while the judicial mandate
accounts for only a marginal part of the police role
By contrast, in the governing arrangements for public policing in England and Wales the role
of elected officials, such as Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs|), is limited
by the ‘doctrine of Constabulary Independence’. This grants unelected police chiefs, ‘Chief
Constables’, autonomy over matters of the operational deployment and conduct of police
officers in their constabulary. Whilst PCCs and, in London, the elected Mayor, have the right
to formulate the strategic goals of a constabulary (for example, to prioritise certain kinds of
crime and anti-social behavior and even to aim to reduce their incidence by a specified
percentage over the course of a PCC’s or Mayor’s elected term of office) they cannot instruct
police chiefs, much less particular officers, on the operational details of how such goals are to
be accomplished. This distinction between policing operations and policing strategy is
regarded as an important means of insulating mundane policing from corruption. Further
checks and balances exist in the execution of operational police powers beyond the
enforcement of the criminal law, which is left to the discretion of individual constables, and
for the maintenance of public order. There now exist a number of civil injunctions for
controlling ‘anti-social behaviour’ between individual complainants such as household
neighbours, ‘Community Protection Orders’ that control the behavior of particular
individuals deemed to be damaging to the environment or local population and ‘Public Space
Protection Orders’ that impose restrictions on collective behaviour in public places, such as
group consumption of alcohol. In each instance, however, an application for an order or civil
injunction needs to be made by the police (but can also be made by other ‘responsible
authorities’ in multi-agency policing partnerships, including local authorities and
environmental agencies) to the magistrates’ court for approval before it can be enforced.
It is clear that mayors in countries with a Napoleonic tradition of public administration have
much more discretionary power and direct control over municipal policing than in common
law countries. Notwithstanding these significant variations in governing arrangements for
maintenance regimes, however, they share a policy agenda that privileges the enforcement of
criminal laws and civil/administrative sanctions over other methods of regulating public
behaviour. Maintenance regimes thus start from the conviction that sanctions have a
preventative effect on future behaviour.
3.2. Developmental regimes: augmenting criminal justice with risk management
At the time maintenance regimes first encountered a major challenge, in the early 1980s, it
was possible to identify a basic split between rival agendas that sought to develop these
regimes and those which sought to reform or transform them (see 3.3., and 3.4., below).
Whilst it is possible to distinguish different kinds of developmental regime, it is suggested
here that they all share the following rules:
(1) an orientation towards victims and environments as well as offenders;
(2) a focus on entire populations or ‘at risk’ groups as well as individuals already
known to the authorities; and
(3) in ways that augment criminal justice and public order agendas with policing
strategies aimed at managing the risks of victimisation and/or offending careers.
E.g. the functional division of labour in Belgium requires the local police to invest 7% to 10% of their funding
in criminal investigation. See the Law on the Police Function of 07.12.1998.
In turn, it is possible to distinguish different kinds of developmental regimes in terms of their
privileging of offender, victim or environmentally-oriented policing, of primary, secondary or
tertiary interventions and of crime reduction and/or public order objectives. Amongst the case
studies reported in the book, we think it is possible to identify three basic variants of the
developmental regime in metropolitan policing.
3.2.1. Offender-oriented tertiary strategies targeting prolific and priority offenders to
expedite their desistance from criminal careers.
This variant of the developmental regime is exemplified in the Regional Safety Plans of
Amsterdam (2010-2014, 2014-2018), Rotterdam (2010-2014, 2014-2018) and Antwerp
(2003-2017), which are premised on the increasing research and policy interest in crime and
the ‘life course’, in particular the idea that it is possible to identify common patterns in the
onset and reproduction of offending behaviour amongst prolific ‘career’ criminals and, on the
basis of this, to engineer desistance.
Allied to this interest is the belief that prolific criminals are responsible for the overwhelming
majority of offences in a locality, the policing implication being that substantial reductions in
crime and disorder can be accomplished quickly and can be sustained if these particular
individual offenders can be identified and subject to intensive supervision, surveillance and
rehabilitation. This conception of policing is neatly captured in the concept of the ‘Top 600’
programme that is the centrepiece of the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the U-turn projects in
the Antwerp Plans. These plans commit substantial resources to the involvement of a wide
range of agencies in the intensive supervision, surveillance and rehabilitation of prolific
offenders including their school or employers, their families, friends and extended kinship
networks as well as a breadth of relevant municipal agencies including social workers,
teachers, housing and health authorities as well as the police and probation services.
3.2.2. Offender-oriented secondary strategies targeting ‘risky’ groups on the basis of suspect
profiles such as age, gender, ethnicity and residential status.
In stark contrast to the research-driven agenda of developmental regimes concerned with the
desistance of prolific offenders, another kind of developmental regime is premised on the
punitive-populist concern with ‘outsider’, ‘suspect’, groups, in particular migrants and
refugees, homeless street populations and, more generally, young street populations. These
regimes are oriented around offenders but employ secondary interventions against whole
social groups, rather than particular individuals, whose members are thought to be ‘at risk’ of
offending because of their demographic profiles. Although such (ethnic) ‘profiling’ is now
proscribed by article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the related case
law of the European Court of Justice, it nonetheless persists, explicitly in some metropolitan
policing agendas in Europe, notably the security pacts signed between the Italian Minister of
the Interior and successive Mayors of Rome from (2008 onwards), and in the use of the
administrative orders passed by these Mayors, targeting ‘nomad populations’ street vendors
and unauthorised camps of ‘Roma’ (see Selmini, this volume; Calaresu & Selmini, this
The policing implication of this targeting is to employ aggressive, militarised, street
patrolling to disperse and ‘move on’ street populations, to disrupt street vice and narcotics
markets and tackle ‘incivilities’ or ‘anti-social behaviour’. It is precisely through this shift
from criminal justice to risk management that metropolitan policing in certain cities has
witnessed an exponential increase in the innovative and highly discretionary use of
administrative rather than criminal law to regulate citizens’ freedoms of movement, assembly
3.2.3. Victim-oriented and environment-oriented primary, secondary and tertiary strategies
aimed at reducing the opportunities for crime and disorder.
By contrast again, a third variant of the developmental regime, can be identified, which has
been driven both by populist demands for more immediate security than possible through
criminal justice and penal processes and by key innovations in applied criminological
research in the British Home Office and subsequently in the research wings of other
European ministries of the interior. The key innovation, as articulated by one of the principal
researchers behind this thinking, is to shift policing from a concern with the dispositions
offenders to the opportunities for victimisation, in particular those opportunities afforded by,
and remediable through, highly situational factors (Clarke, 1983). This approach has found
particular favour in the UK, in some sense the ‘home’ of situational crime prevention given
the amount of investment in the research and development of this agenda, and more recently,
can be discerned in Mayor Johnson’s Police and Crime Plan for London (Edwards et al., this
volume). Part of the political appeal and success of opportunity reduction is the perceived
economy and effectiveness of sustaining quick reductions in victimisation and/or deflecting
the harmful impact of victimisation from particularly vulnerable groups to more resilient
This agenda seeks to facilitate ‘security for all’ by embedding the reduction of opportunities
for crime and disorder into the routines of everyday life and accomplishes this, again, through
innovative applications of administrative not just criminal law to increase the effort of
commissioning offences, reduce the rewards and increase the risks of apprehension (Cohen &
Felson, 1979; Clarke, 1980). For example, improved surveillance, both natural and electronic,
of particular victims (those repeatedly and multiply victimised), ‘at risk’ groups (e.g. users of
car parks) and populations (e.g. all users of public highways). Of particular importance in the
impetus behind the agenda of opportunity reduction has been the use of intelligence and data
for analysing ‘crime patterns’ (Ekblom, 1988; Ekblom & Pease, 2005; Sherman et al., 1997;
Leeuw, 2005) and the identification of concentrations of crime and disorder in ‘hot-spots’ and
‘hot-times’ which provide a logic for targeting policing, often used within the framework of
problem-oriented policing strategies (Spelman & Eck, 1987; Tilley, 2003).
This logic is currently being developed further through ‘smart policing’, meaning the insights
into patterns of crime and disorder that can be gleaned from so called ‘Big Data’ arising out
of developments in the computation of digital communications, including social media as
well as digitalised administrative data sets that include police, educational, health,
employment and housing records. This intelligence-driven approach is also behind one of the
most dramatic developments in metropolitan policing and that is the rise of ‘predictive’
modelling in such programmes as the US National Institute of Justice PREDPOL (predictive
policing) and the UK Institute of Crime Science PROMAP programmes (Edwards, 2017).
The rapid development of smart policing has, in turn, provoked a dispute over the conceptual
and political assumptions that are being fed into the modelling of policing problems using
Not to be confused with the dispositions of policing policy responses considered here.
Big Data. A basic argument exists between advocates of the ‘contagion thesis’ and the
‘immunisation thesis’. Contagion understands, and now seeks to predict, the distribution of
crime and disorder in terms of its frequency in particular places (hot-spots) and times (hot-
times) (Braga, 2001; Braga & Bond, 2008). Critics of the contagion thesis argue that a
preoccupation with the frequency of crime and disorder ignores inter-relationships with the
distribution of non-victims. Once Bayesian analyses of how patterns of victimisation are
related to patterns of non-victimisation are taken into account, new logics of policing and
security emerge. A key example of this is the analysis of victimisation and non-victimisation
for high volume personal and property crimes in the UK (Hope, 2000, 2009a,b). This
identifies an 80:20 distribution in which it is estimated that 80 percent of the residential
population experience only 20 percent of crime (and most of the population experience no
crime at all), whilst 20 percent of this population are chronically victimised experiencing 80
percent of all personal and property crime as indicated through self-report studies such as the
British Crime Survey. Moreover, there is an interrelationship between populations of non-
victims, able to better ‘immunise’ themselves against victimisation through access to private
security goods (especially mobility in the housing market and the consequent capacity to exit
high crime neighbourhoods), and chronically victimised populations whose vulnerability to
victimisation is increased precisely by their lack of access to private security and their
dependence on limited public services. As discussed below (see section 3.4), this
‘immunisation thesis’ implies a very different policing agenda, one that self-consciously uses
social and economic policies to redistribute access to security particularly for chronically
victimised and vulnerable populations.
Risk management agendas share a concern with anticipating various ‘risks’ or ‘risky groups’
for the purposes of ‘early intervention’ to reduce, if not completely prevent, the actual
realisation of these risks and their associated harms. In turn, this generates a key strategic
dilemma for metropolitan policing agendas: how to reconcile due process in criminal justice,
prosecuting particular suspects on the basis of predicate offences and on the ‘facts’ of the
cases to establish guilt ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ prior to any executive action to punish
or ‘correct’ this behaviour, with the anticipatory and extra-judicial logic of risk management.
A further dilemma for reconciling security and justice arises out of the alleged displacement
effects of risk management regimes in which targeted, extra-judicial, action on particular
individuals, groups or places increases the vulnerability of the non-targeted individuals,
groups or places. This is a distinctively different complaint from that of the ‘deflection’
argument which uses concepts of ‘distributional justice’ (Pease and Wiles, 2001) to justify
the redistribution of offending and victimisation from more to less vulnerable populations (as
in the example of using risk management strategies to deliberately deflect street vice from
residential to deserted business districts). Rather, the dilemma here is that focussing
intervention on prolific or priority offenders or ‘high crime neighbourhoods’ or multiple and
repeat victims necessarily removes security from those who offend or are victimised but at
less prolific rates or who live in areas of significant but not ‘high’ rates of crime and disorder.
In these terms risk management regimes may enhance security but at certain costs to freedom
of movement and/or equality before the law, including the right to equal protection by state
authorities, a problem exacerbated by the enrolment of commercial security agencies into risk
management regimes whose primary duty is to their clients not to the broader citizenry.
Within this shared disposition, however, an important distinction exists between risk
management agendas that are oriented towards reducing the opportunities for victimisation
and those oriented towards the promotion of desistance amongst prolific and priority
offenders. This distinction can be registered in the contrasting developmental regimes found
in London Mayor Johnson’s Police and Crime Plan, which invested a significant amount in
opportunity reduction and Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which have prioritised investment in
managing the ‘Top 600’ prolific career offenders. In turn this reflects another strategic
dilemma and focus for political competition around metropolitan policing agendas: whether
to pursue a highly targeted, tertiary, policing strategy in the belief that targeting the Top 600
offenders will produce a much greater impact on the volume and concentration of crime and
disorder problems or whether to privilege secondary policing strategies aimed at those groups
‘at risk’ of embarking upon prolific offending careers or of becoming multiple and repeat
victims or else to privilege strategies that address offending and victimisation amongst the
whole population. This dilemma is represented most clearly in the use of administrative
orders and security pacts in Rome, since 2008, to manage the perceived risks associated with
‘nomad settlements’ and ‘mobile populations’, in particular robbery, inter-personal violence,
drug use and prostitution.
A key impetus behind the rise of developmental regimes since the 1980s and since the
explicit invitation of a plurality of governmental actors to participate in metropolitan policing
strategies, is the increasing recognition amongst municipal authorities of their ability to
formulate their own policing agendas through the use of the administrative laws and
sanctions under their control. The key analytical point here is that municipal authorities have
negligible powers to set policing agendas in maintenance regimes but can develop these
regimes through the use of the broad repertoire of administrative sanctions that are at their
We might identify a number of possible drivers behind the rise of developmental regimes
including: the saturation and increasing incapacity of criminal justice systems to cope with
the demands being placed upon them; evidence questioning the efficacy of criminal justice
sanctioning for accomplishing sustainable reductions in volume crimes; the political and
economic appeal of risk management policies promising substantial, sustainable and cost-
effective reductions in crime and disorder, and the increasing interest of municipal authorities
in using their powers in pursuit of this promise and for electoral gain. The promise of risk
management becomes even more attractive to those municipal authorities under particular
pressure from the ‘perfect storm’ of ‘austerity’, including severe reductions in public
expenditure for policing, combined with the concentration of victimisation on those cohorts
of the population who are most dependant on public services and least able to ‘immunise’
themselves through access to private security.
3.3. Reformist regimes: recognising the victim and the shift from criminal to restorative
Yet other kinds of regime can be distinguished in terms of their primary concern with
reforming rather than maintaining or augmenting criminal justice and penal processes. The
principal example of this in contemporary criminology is the global movement in restorative
justice popularised in the action-research of John Braithwaite (1989, 2002, 2003), whose
distinguishing qualities are:
(1) an orientation towards repairing the inter-relationship of victims and offenders in
the context of the familial and communal environments they inhabit;
(2) the use of tertiary strategies to divert disputes between victims and offenders from
criminal justice and penal processes and into reparations agreed directly between
particular victims and offenders; and
(3) repairing the harms experienced by victims whilst enabling the reintegrative,
rather than stigmatic, shaming of offenders.
In terms of the case studies of metropolitan policing agendas reported in part III, this
reformist regime can be most clearly identified in Cardiff and Edinburgh, reflecting, in part
the commitment of the Welsh and Scottish governments, post-devolution, to a rights-based
agenda particularly for youth justice (Edwards et al., this volume). A clear expression of this
can be found in the Welsh Government’s All Wales Youth Offending Strategy and the Child
Hearings system in Scotland, which both express a policy commitment to diverting young
offenders from the juvenile justice system and limiting the detrimental effects of early and
deep contact with this system. Restorative justice approaches are, in this context, promoted as
a means of diverting young offenders whilst recognising and repairing the harms experienced
by their victims (McAra & McVie, 2005). Such is the political priority accorded to this
diversionary strategy, that Cardiff explicitly portrays itself as a ‘restorative city’ (Cardiff
Council, 2010). Another aspect of Cardiff as a restorative city has been its support for the
street pastors movement and their role in repairing conflict in the night-time economy, in
particular their role in reducing alcohol-related inter-personal violence. In principle, the
priorities of reformist regimes can also be found in relation to corporate as well as volume
personal and property crimes (Braithwaite & Ayers, 1992), although, as yet, this is less
discernible in the particular metropolitan policing agendas considered in the second phase of
the Policing European Metropolises Project.
A major limitation on the diffusion of reformist regimes in metropolitan policing in Europe,
however, is its labour intensive and thus costly implications, particularly in the context of
austerity and major pressures on public expenditure. Whilst Top 600-style programmes are
labour intensive they are highly selective, whilst reformist regimes are extensive in replacing
prosecution with reparation for high volume crime and disorder.
3.4. Transformative regimes: recognising environmental conditions, the shift from
criminal to social justice
Further types of regime can be distinguished insofar as they seek not just to reform but to
transform criminal justice agendas, in accordance with principles of social justice, to
recognise gross inequalities in the experience of offending and victimisation within and
between specific city-regions and to redistribute security accordingly. In contemporary
criminology, this transformative agenda is most obviously related to preventive strategies that
(1) oriented towards the environments that generate unequal distributions of
offending and victimisation;
(2) undertake remedial action to reduce the concentration of offending and
victimisation in high crime environments; and
(3) use social and economic policies to reduce criminogenic inequalities of wealth
and opportunity throughout a social formation.
In relation to the case studies reported in parts II and III of the book, it is possible to identify
two distinctive social justice agendas for policing. The first transforms criminal justice
agendas by reorienting the focus from street crimes to ‘crimes of the powerful’ (Pearce, 1976;
Verhage & Ponsaers, 2009) as in Mayor Pisapia’s agenda for policing in Milan (Calaresu and
Selmini, this volume). This prioritises the policing of corruption amongst public officials and
various corporate crimes, including the health and safety of their workforces, an issue that has
become increasingly prominent in criminological studies of the failure to enforce protection
in the work place (Croal, 1989; Tombs & Whyte, 2009).
The second type of social justice agenda has a much longer provenance in criminology and in
public policy agendas, although one thought to have been ‘eclipsed’ in ‘late-modern
strategies of crime control’ by the combination of ‘punitive display’ and the risk management
agendas discussed above (Garland, 1997, 2001). This agenda locates problems of crime and
disorder as problems, primarily, of social and economic policy rather than of criminal justice
and public order policing (Crawford, 2002; 1998). Indeed, a logical implication of this
agenda is to challenge the very idea of crime and disorder as objects of ‘policing’, other than
in the very broadest sense of this term as equivalent to ‘government’ (Pasquino, 1991), and to
reframe them as objects of ‘social crime prevention’ (Hope and Karstedt, 2003), ‘community
safety’ (Hughes, 2007; Hughes & Rowe, 2007), ‘integral security’ (Devroe, 2013) or as
‘urban security’ (EFUS, 2012; Edwards, Hughes and Lord, 2013).
This latter sense of social justice can also be detected in Pisapia’s agenda for Milan (2011-
2016) (Calaresu and Selmini, this volume), in which problems of ‘street’ crime and disorder,
such as prostitution and young people’s use of public space for leisure and entertainment, are
reframed as issues of social and economic inclusion rather than as ‘risks’ to be controlled
through aggressive, militarised, street policing and/or managed through forms of opportunity
reduction or the targetting of prolific offenders. In Pisapia’s agenda these are issues to be
addressed by interventions in the social and economic environments of Milan’s housing and
labour markets and its educational and leisure services, promoting the social integration of
hitherto excluded street populations.
Still another example of a social justice agenda is that pursued by the current ‘Centre-Left’
regional government in Brussels (De Pauw and Easton, this volume). This regional
government is responsible for allocating funding for social policy to the 19 municipalities
under its administration and has used its control of this funding to privilege the use of social
and economic policy responses to problems of crime and civil unrest in these municipalities.
This, however, is in tension with the current Federal Government agenda for policing in
Belgium which seeks to maintain and further enhance criminal justice and penal policy
responses. It is suggested that the relative power of the regional government in advancing its
social justice agenda has, however, been disrupted by the series of terrorist incidents that
have either occurred in Brussels, such as the attack on Brussels airport in March 2016, or that
commenced in Brussels, in particular the use of the municipality of Molenbeek as a base by
those undertaking the attack on Paris in November 2015 (De Pauw and Easton, this volume).
These attacks have been used by the Federal Government and its supporters to discredit the
social justice agenda of the regional government for failing to tackle the threat of terrorism
and to reassert the case for a more punitive agenda.
The cases of Berlin and Cologne reveal other important challenges confronting social justice
regimes as a consequence of the particular conditions of the post-war constitutional
settlement in West Germany and, following reunification, in the Federal Republic (Aden and
Frevel, this volume). As part of de-Nazification, policing governance was distributed between
the Federal police (Bundeskriminalamt) and the state police (Landeskriminalamt). This, in
addition to the devolution of social and economic policy-making to the Lander, has created
the opportunity for social justice agendas on crime and security, particularly in those Lander
dominated by the Centre-Left social democratic party (SPD). When considered as a political
and cultural and not just as a constitutional process, de-Nazification has also placed certain
significant constraints on the adoption of pre-judicial ‘risk management’ agendas, most
notably on the kind of extensive deployment of CCTV surveillance experienced in British
city-regions. Such agendas run counter to the ‘Rechtsstaat’ principle of a state that adheres to
due process in the rule of law and limits blanket surveillance of populations. This political
and cultural anxiety over prejudicial and extra-judicial interventions has resulted in a ‘path-
dependency’ for metropolitan policing agendas in Germany that constrains divergence in
these agendas to varieties of criminal and social justice and helps to explain the relatively
limited uptake of restorative justice and risk management, a phenomenon described as ‘unity
in diversity’ (Aden and Frevel, this volume).
In considering the strategic dilemmas associated with social justice regimes it is useful to
refer to criminological work that explicitly seeks to shift the policy response to crime and
disorder in this direction. As noted in the discussion of the dilemmas associated with
opportunity reduction (see 3.2.3., above), an alternative to targetting policing on hot-spots
and times that are indicative of the ‘contagion’ of crime and disorder within a city is a
concern with the political economy of ‘immunising’ particularly vulnerable populations
against the risk of victimisation. This entails an appreciation of the immunity which the
majority of the metropolitan population already have against crime as a consequence of their
access to the ‘private club goods’ of security, especially their ability to exit high crime
neighbourhoods through their access to alternative accommodation in urban housing markets
and/or to better secure their accommodation through access to commercial security (Hope,
2000, 2009a,b). Those unable to access these private club goods are left dependent on
residual public services (including state policing and crime prevention measures) which, in
many metropolises, have been degraded through austerity programmes imposing severe
public expenditure cuts, thereby intensifying their lack of immunity. In countering the
concentration of victimisation on already vulnerable communities, a gross inequality that is
often masked by reference to nationally aggregated trends indicating an alleged ‘crime drop’
in many Western societies over the past two decades, social justice agendas seek to enhance
the collective efficacy of urban populations and thus their immunisation against problems of
volume crime and disorder (Sampson & Raudenbush, 1999; Morenoff et al., 2001).
However, a major dilemma encountered by social justice agendas for policing is the criticism
from libertarians that it ‘criminalizes social policy’ and further fuels the ‘securitization’ of
everyday life in cities (van Swaaningen, 2005; Hebberecht, 2002). From this perspective, the
dilemma encountered by social justice agendas is the subordination of (negative) freedoms
(from authoritarian welfare state intervention in citizens’ lives) to forms of collective
security. More recently, however, advocates of social justice agendas in security advance a
postive concept of the freedom to be an effective citizen, empowered by state social and
economic policies (Schuilenberg, 2015). This positive concept of security can, for example,
be detected in the post-war experience of Finland and in the social democratic programmes of
other Scandinavian governing arrangements, even though this has been eroded by the
influence of the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and by the broader struggle of
Nordic social democracy to adapt to the increased mobility of capital, labour, goods and
services arising out of European integration (Virta & Taponen, this volume).
3.5. Regime failure: inchoate and contradictory policing agendas
A final diagnosis of metropolitan policing implied by the conceptual framework advanced
here, is the absence of, or failure to stabilise, regimes as a consequence of governing
arrangements and political competition. An example of this is the case of policing in Rome
during Mayor Marino’s administration, in which his political weakness and failure to form a
stable governing coalition resulted in direct rule from national government (Calaresu &
Selmini, this volume). It has also been suggested that Cardiff is an example of regime failure
in that its agenda for restorative and socially just policy responses to problems of crime and
disorder in the city were effectively subverted by the severe reductions in public expenditure
it had to accommodate as part of the British government’s broader austerity programme
(Edwards et al, this volume). In such cases the dilemmas generated by competing
programmes of freedom, security and justice destabilise rules of meaning and membership in
metropolitan policing. Such a condition of governing ‘drift’ might, arguably, become a
central tendency in metropolitan policing given basic disputes over reconciling the
competing, in some instances mutually exclusive, conceptions of freedom, security and
justice present in Europe (see 4.5., below).
4. Future scenarios in the European world of metropolitan policing
Given the strategic dilemmas encountered by maintenance, developmental, reformist and
transformative regimes, it is possible to envisage a number of unfolding scenarios. The
anticipation of these is a necessary pre-requisite of the kind of role that criminology and
political analysis needs to play in continuing to constructively criticise metropolitan policing
agendas, especially those prioritising pre-emptive interventions against threats yet to be
realised over due process in prosecuting offences that have actually occurred. Proactive
policing strategies cannot be adequately criticised by retrospective social science. If social
science is to avoid being reduced to a backward facing narrative of success or failure, always
one step behind its subject matter, then it needs to acquire its own capacity for anticipation. In
terms of the conceptual framework adopted in this chapter, it is possible to engage in a
number of thought experiments about policing futures which reflect upon the dialectical
relations driving maintenance and other regimes and which may generate an increasing
tendency toward regime failure in metropolitan policing. In promoting the concept of
‘policing dialectics’, the focus of analysis shifts to the contradictions inherent in each regime
and their political-economic conditions for reproduction or failure. By way of conclusion,
these scenarios also imply further questions for comparative research.
4.1. A renewed commitment to maintenance regimes?
Notwithstanding the substantial criticism encountered by policing agendas premised on
criminal justice objectives, contributions to this book provide a number of reasons for
expecting the persistence, even predominance, of maintenance regimes in particular national
contexts. As noted above, maintenance regimes privilege a concern with due process and, a
‘path-dependent’ commitment to the rule of law and an antipathy toward pre-judicial and
extra-judicial policing. In this context, it is plausible, even likely, that political choices will be
made to subordinate the promise of greater security through risk management to the
‘Rechtsstaat’ tradition. If such maintenance regimes leave metropolitan populations more
vulnerable to various security threats then this is a price worth paying to maintain the rule of
law and constrain the proliferation of extra-judicial and pre-judicial interventions in processes
of ‘securitisation’ (Buzan et al., 1998).
The political calculation to subordinate such pre-emptive security to the rule of law, in which
individuals are prosecuted for predicate offences on the facts and only after these facts, is
however likely to come under a number of considerable pressures. Specifically, a growing
sense of injustice and popular frustration with criminal justice systems already saturated in
terms of the demands placed upon them, the slow throughput of cases through the courts, and
their incapacity to deliver ‘quick justice’ or at least timely justice for aggrieved victims.
Secondly, the political, as well as technical, feasibility of maintenance regimes is likely to be
challenged by the realisation of further catastrophic security incidents, such as the
paramilitary assault on the civilian population in Paris in November 2015. It is precisely in
relation to such ‘existential’ threats that commentators identify processes of ‘securitisation’ in
European policing, in which normal democratic oversight and scrutiny is continuously
suspended in favour of expediting executive actions capable of reducing the severity of such
threats (Buzan et al, 1998). Other existential threats might be identified such as the
vulnerability of critical infrastructures to being crippled by cyber-attacks as well as the
vulnerability of civilian populations to other kinds of viral assaults including chemical
warfare and the use of ‘dirty bombs’. In this climate, it is predictable that processes of
securitisation cease to be time-limited and exceptional moments in the governance of
metropolitan policing and segue into a permanent state. In this context, of the possible
technical and political exhaustion of the criminal justice disposition in policing, a key
question for further research arises, particularly in those metropolises, such as Paris or
Cologne, in which maintenance regimes can be diagnosed:
Can maintenance regimes adapt to pressures for pre-emptive interventions without
undermining their own conditions of existence?
4.2. The proliferation of developmental regimes?
Partly as a consequence of the perceived exhaustion of maintenance regimes, it is plausible to
forecast the further proliferation of developmental regimes premised on variants of risk
management. The prospective appeal of developmental regimes is enhanced by the political
agency they grant to municipal authorities to define their own policing agendas particularly in
national and broader European contexts which frustrate the formulation of more immediate
and responsive security strategies in response to the demands of metropolitan electorates. The
opportunities for such ‘metropolitan-driven, metropolitan agendas’ are enabled through a
broadening of policing agendas beyond the use and enforcement of criminal law to
innovations in the application of civil laws and the administrative regulations that are
available to municipal authorities. Extra-judicial and pre-judicial methods of risk
management also enable a greater role for commercial and nongovernmental organisations in
metropolitan policing and thus offer opportunities for ‘leveraging’ increased investment in a
context of austerity and substantial reductions in expenditure on public services.
As noted, however, the dialectics of developmental regimes includethreats to due process, in
particular the imposition of major constraints on the freedom of movement, assembly and
speech placed on entire populations as well as those targeted on particular groups believed to
be ‘at risk’ of offending or victimisation. These are the concrete, practical, consequences of
securitisation through risk management, elsewhere anticipated as the shift towards the
‘society of control’ (Deleuze, 1995) or, more provocatively, the advent of ‘micro-Fascism’
(Hallsworth and Lea, 2011) and increasingly used to refer to the forensic management of
everyday life and citizens’ mundane routines. In addition, targeting can generate miscarriages
of justice and other harms associated with the arbitrary exercise of policing discretion, the
Obrigkeitsstaat tendency against which the commitment to maintaining the rule of law, the
Rechsttaat tradition, was defined in post-war, de-Nazified, Germany. Precisely because risk
management regimes enable municipal authorities to better define their own policing
agendas, they can also be seen as existential threats to national political ideals aimed at
protecting an equal guarantee of freedoms for all citizens within the national polity, as in
French Republicanism or Scandinavian Social Democracy. In this scenario local discretion is
regarded as a major threat to a (national) concept of democracy rather than as an
unproblematic enhancement of local democracy. Again, the dialectics of developmental
regimes provoke a further question for research, particularly in those cases of metropolitan
policing, in Amsterdam, Antwerp, London, Rome and Rotterdam, that have pursued risk
Can developmental regimes sustain pre-emptive policing in ways that don’t undermine the
very conditions of the liberal democracies they aim to secure?
4.3. The shift to civil society and prospects for reformist regimes?
Amongst the metropolitan policing agendas considered thus far in the Policing European
Metropolises Project, regimes concerned to reform criminal justice agendas through reference
to alternative and restorative concepts of justice have been peripheral. Even so, it is possible
to identify episodic experiments in victim-offender conferencing, particularly in policies
aimed at diverting juvenile offenders from the penal estate given well-established
criminological research findings on the harmful effects of (criminal justice) ‘system contact’
on the stigmatic shaming of offenders and their subsequent recidivism (Braithwaite, 1989;
McAra and McVie, 2005). There is the political attraction of augmenting metropolitan
policing agendas with civil society-based conflict resolution, facilitating self-regulation
amongst, and direct reparations between, offenders and victims, in ways that are less
threatening to the freedom of movement, assembly and speech of other citizens not directly
involved in these ‘private’ conflicts. In these terms, the more specific targeting of policing on
the immediate parties of a conflict liberates other citizens to go about their business without
the kinds of controls placed on their freedom by primary risk management strategies. Public
authorities are envisaged as having a role in facilitating civil society-based policing and,
within this enabling role, municipal authorities are provided with another means of defining
their own policing agendas, a mission often expressed in the claim of some metropolises to be
‘restorative cities’ (see Edwards et al, this volume).
However, as conflicts between offenders and victims are effectively shifted from public
criminal justice into private conferencing, from the state and into civil society, due process in
their resolution is threatened. If risk management threatens the rule of law through the
enhancement of forms of arbitrary state and commercial power, then restorative justice
threatens it through the development of a kind of arbitrary private power to resolve conflicts
(Ashworth, 1993; 2007; 2014). Moreover, reformist regimes necessarily undermine the
collective symbolic power of public policing as conflict resolution is reduced from an issue of
public interest into one of private troubles between individual offenders, victims and their
immediate kin. These dialectics provoke the question:
Can reformist regimes establish forms of self-regulation and private conflict resolution
without undermining the public interest in policing?
4.4. The prospects for socially just policing?
Advocates of social justice claim that whilst rival regimes entail trade-offs between citizens’
freedoms, security and access to justice, their transformative agenda for metropolitan
governing arrangements can better reconcile these different aspects of citizenship. The claim
to prioritise intervention in the generative causes of insecurity distinguishes transformative
policing regimes from the alternatives considered here. The claim is that through a focus on
generative causes there is the possibility of accomplishing more secure and just metropolises
without undermining the freedoms of the general population.
This claim, however, recalls Offe’s (1984) criticisms of the ‘contradictions of the welfare
state’ and the argument that attempts to accomplish social justice in one country, much less
one city, encounter crises of rationality. One such crisis refers to the sheer magnitude of the
governing programme envisaged in social justice regimes, entailing simultaneous action on
generative causes of policing problems such as labour market conditions, access to education
and training, housing conditions and the cultivation of social cohesion through multi-cultural
awareness programmes. In turn such agendas can encounter a lack of clarity about the
direction of causality between these ‘distal’ conditions and specific, ‘proximal’, security
threats (Clarke, 2004). A second type of rationality crisis refers to the problems of collective
action encountered by social justice agendas, in particular the redistributive costs of investing
in socially just regimes requiring high tax localities provoking, in turn, the flight of corporate
and other taxpayers to other, lower tax, city-regions. In pursuing the ‘larger purposes’ of
social justice agendas, through necessary tax and spend programmes, transformative regimes
can undermine their own conditions of existence (Stone, 2005; 2006). An antidote to this
problem of the ‘competitive dumping’ of social justice agendas is to restrict the freedom of
movement for capital, labour, goods and services but this fundamentally challenges the idea
of a European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (see Edwards et al, this volume). The
attempt to pursue these larger purposes of metropolitan policing, for example in the cases of
Milan and Brussels and more generally in the social democratic conditions of ‘Nordic
criminology’, but without taking the British option of exiting the European Union, its single
market and its Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, provokes a further question for
How can socially just regimes be reproduced given the rationality crises they encounter in
the European world of metropolitan policing without undermining the freedom of movement
of capital, labour, goods and services that constitute this European world?
4.5. Prospects for regime failure?
Further reflection on these policing dialectics suggests another scenario in which
metropolitan policing becomes increasingly stymied, if not ‘ungovernable’, as a consequence
of the contradictions encountered by each of the regime types considered above. If social
justice goals cannot be reconciled with the ‘four freedoms’ of the Amsterdam Settlement, if
restorative justice cannot deliver common, equal, access to justice for the same kinds of
victimisation, if the prejudicial threats of risk management are politically unpalatable and if
criminal justice responses cannot adapt to the frequency and/or the severity of the case load
confronting them, then what could constitute regime success? ‘Failure’, however, is a relative
concept that provokes further reflection and argument:
What, in the context of the contradictions encountered by metropolitan policing regimes, can
constitute relative success or failure?
Ultimately, we return to the core refrain of PEMP, that comprehending and intervening in
these various scenarios necessitates a sociology of translation: literally, in terms of a common
language of argument about freedom, security and justice; conceptually, in terms of some
agreement over the terms of this argument, encompassing rather than precluding the breadth
of debates about the orientation, populations of interest and possible objectives of
metropolitan policing agendas and evaluative criterion for their success and failure; and
methodologically, in terms of collaborative and deliberative methods that can combine
extensive comparisons with contextualised insight. The contention of the Project is that in a
European world of metropolitan policing, the metropolis will continue to be a key object of
policing governance, policy and politics whether or not this is self-consciously acknowledged
by national and European-level policy-makers, indeed especially where it is not
acknowledged as this obscures an understanding of the experience of policing problems in
the key, city-regional, markets for illicit as well as licit capital, labour, goods and services in
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