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In this article, we seek to explain how one police organization, the Dutch police, has situated itself in various partnership arrangements that make innovative use of its authority and capacities. Such arrangements are notable for their strategic attention to high-risk places, and the flows of people, information and other goods in the spaces between them. We use the term ‘policing assemblages’ to capture the eclectic and rather fluid character of such partnerships. Four particular initiatives in Amsterdam are used to illustrate the ways in which such assemblages can emerge and function. We adopt the metaphor of ‘team play’ to characterize the relations between police and their partners in this ‘nodal’ policing field. We suggest that if nodal policing continues, the public police may play more varied and indirect roles in managing risky spaces and behaviors. Nodal policing could be helpful in a period of high public demand for security, but its stability and longevity requires further consideration.
Electronic copy available at:
The many faces of nodal policing: Team play and
improvisation in Dutch community safety
Ronald van Steden
VU University
Jennifer Wood
Temple University
Clifford Shearing
University of Cape Town
Hans Boutellier
VU University
Verwey-Jonker Institute
Final draft of paper subsequently published as:
Van Steden, R., Wood, J., Shearing, C & Boutellier, H. 2013. The Many Faces of Nodal
Policing: Team Play and Improvisation in Dutch Community Safety. Security Journal
Electronic copy available at:
Abstract: In this paper we reflect on how one police organization, the Dutch police, have
acted to embrace nodal assemblages and nodal governance while they have pioneered a form
of ‘conduit policing’ (Shearing, 1999). This strategy, conceived as policing with a ‘nodal
orientation’, combines policing attention on flows of people, information and things through
infrastructural nodes with the policing of local communities (Project Group Vision on
Policing, 2006). We examine four initiatives of the Dutch police that illustrate different
aspects of policing assemblages in Amsterdam. The analysis considers how these nodes have
worked to integrate different, but compatible, conceptions of nodal policing.
Since the mid-20th century police around the world have found themselves faced with what
O’Connor dubbed ‘the fiscal crises of the state’ (1973), and with what Innes (2010) more
recently has termed ‘an age of austerity’. Within the context of The Netherlands, this does not
necessarily mean that the police are low on budget. On the contrary, since 1993, the Dutch
police have seen considerable growth in both staffing and expenditure (Haagsma et al, 2012).
However, given the constant political and social focus upon safety and security issues (though
not necessarily based on ‘hard’ crime figures) and demands for policing, it is possible to argue
that the public police – even with the significant expansion of staff and resources – have been
unable to keep pace with the demands they face. Therefore, the Dutch police have reflected on
how and where to reduce burdens placed upon them while maintaining appropriate levels of
A common response by the Dutch police, and other police forces around the world,
has been to develop strategies – resonating with neo-liberal mentalities (Ferguson, 2010;
O’Malley and Palmer, 1996) – that seek to enroll others in ways that will assist the police in
achieving their security governance objectives by ‘lengthening the arm of the law’ (Ayling et
al, 2009). These responses have led police organizations to explore ways of engaging in what
has been termed ‘nodal policing’ (Bayley and Shearing, 2001; Wood and Shearing, 2005). In
the United Kingdom, for example, the move towards an acceptance of nodal forms of policing
– in which police collaborate with others to provide policing services – is reflected in the use
of the term ‘the policing family’ (Johnston, 2005) to signify nodal assemblages that work
together, typically with police playing a leadership or ‘anchoring’ role (Loader and Walker,
2007) to realize their security governance agendas.
In The Netherlands too, we see developments towards nodal forms of policing, often
termed ‘third-party policing’ (Buerger and Mazerolle, 1998) or ‘partnership policing’ (Wood
and Bradley, 2009), which have been actively encouraged by the police. In so doing, the
Dutch Police have drawn upon Castells’ (1996) conception of networked societies and the
idea that within societies ‘flows’ of people, goods and information often come together at
infrastructural nodal points. Castells conceived of these processes as ‘spaces of flows’,
including, for example, flows of people and things that go through harbors and airports. The
Dutch police have used Castells’ ideas to develop the idea of policing with a ‘nodal
orientation’ (Project Group Vision on Policing, 2006). The idea here is that police, and the
organizational assemblages that they participate in, should shift their attention towards the
managing of national and global nodes at which flows of people, good and things intersect,
while continuing their focus on local forms of community-oriented policing.
In this paper we use the metaphor of ‘team play’, developed by Boutellier and Van
Steden (2011), to explore how the Dutch police, within the city of Amsterdam, have sought to
realize forms of nodal oriented policing. The ‘team play’ metaphor refers to the
improvisational nature of the thinking and practice that the Dutch police have deployed across
a diverse set of policing settings. After sketching the political and societal trends that have
sparked the search for nodal forms of policing in The Netherlands, we examine in particular
four examples of security governance initiatives: (1) policing through spatial control; (2)
policing through coaching; (3) policing through responsive regulation; and (4) policing hot
spots and repeat violators. These examples should be considered as archetypal models, since
things appear to be ‘muddier and messier’ (Lindblom, 1959) on the ground. In fact, the
models described are, by themselves, products of complex and often ambiguous
improvisational processes. Therefore, our goal is not to measure the effectiveness and
efficiency of nodal networks, but to explore how ‘team play’ as a metaphor can help advance
our understanding of police efforts to become more agile in addressing contemporary
problems of crime and insecurity.
In the course of our analysis we seek to engage in a wider conversation about the
faces of nodal policing, not merely in The Netherlands, but in other parts of the globe (Button,
2008), and transnationally (Abrahamsen and Williams, 2011). This conversation centers on
questions about the location of police within ‘fields’ (cf. Moore, 1973) of policing. We argue
that the Dutch police are using nodal forms of policing to enable them to create a more
rational division of labor within security networks, but also to become more agile as they seek
to address a broad range of security concerns. In the final part of our paper we briefly discuss
the analogy of ‘team play’ and improvisation, suggesting an alternative understanding of how
power operates in the field of security governance.
Policing under pressure
The Netherlands has for sometime enjoyed a tradition of ‘partnership’ policing. Police
officers deployed to particular neighborhoods have long sought to encourage the engagement
of professionals and citizens as active agents in addressing a variety of local crime and safety
issues. For example, the concept of ‘neighborhood coordination’ (buurtregie), an idea that
resonates with established conceptions of community policing, has been a feature of police
practice in Amsterdam since the beginning of the new century. The Amsterdam region has
been divided, for policing purposes, into 217 neighborhoods, each with its own full-time
‘neighborhood coordinator’ (buurtregisseur) a kind of community policing officer (Van
Caem et al, 2013). While these officers are, of course, required to respond to offences they
come across in the course of their duties, their primary responsibility is to prevent crime and
disorder through engaging those present in their jurisdictions residents, shopkeepers, pub
owners, private security guards, social services, business associations, churches and,
(crucially) local government, from the mayor to the street-cleaners – in forward-looking
processes intended to anticipate and solve problems. Their focus is on, what Leman-Langlois
and Shearing (2004) have termed, ‘repairing the future’ so as to ‘make a better tomorrow’
(Froestad, 2013) for their neighborhoods.
Recently this partnership approach to policing has come under considerable pressure
as neighborhood coordinators have struggled to meet the high expectations of both citizens
and policy-makers to perform a range of roles. As Terpstra (2010, p. 70) puts it:
Often it is hardly realistic that one and the same person can fulfill all these demands:
maintaining relations with members of different (ethnic) groups, restoring trust in the
police, mediating in conflicts, solving a very wide range of problems of crime and
disorder, the enforcement of the rule of law, being approachable for citizens,
maintaining the authority of the police at the street level, cooperating with other
agencies, offering help and support to people with personal problems, collecting
relevant information about public safety problems and meeting organizational
performance targets.
In addition, rising crime rates, terrorist attacks, and the public fears that these developments
have generated, have fueled concerns that the forms of partnership policing practiced by
neighborhood coordinators have been overly tolerant of conflict and violence (see for further
discussion, Downes, 1993; Downes and Van Swaaningen, 2007). The concern has been that
policing has been too ‘soft’ in The Netherlands (Das et al, 2007; Punch et al, 2005). Such
sentiments have played a part in driving a ‘punitive turn’ (Pakes, 2005) in the Dutch criminal
justice system at the start of the new millennium. This turn has found expression at national
government levels in the emergence of a ‘tough on crime’ stance that has placed a greater
emphasis on punishing anti-social behavior, and providing police with more legal tools to
enhance their coercive capacities. Politicians have taken their cue from the United States,
deploying a rhetoric of ‘zero tolerance’. Taken together, political and social developments
have led to legal reforms that have authorized, and thereby encouraged, police officers to
undertake preventive searches for knives, drugs and other illegal objects on their own
initiative and to detain people for relatively minor public nuisance offences.
Also important in shifting practice has been the popularity of New Public Management
(NPM) philosophies associated with neo-liberal sensibilities (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992).
Within the Dutch police, new systems of performance management sought to establish
‘measurable’, quantitative targets, and placed emphasis on output. This, in turn, stimulated the
use of fixed penalties and the greater use of arrests by police (Hoogenboezem and
Hoogenboezem, 2005). Furthermore, on January 1st 2013, the Dutch police completed a move
towards centralization, which integrates the former 26 police regions within a single national
force. The main assumption driving this centralization process, accompanied by the hardened
criminal justice policies over the past decade, has been to improve the effectiveness,
efficiency, flexibility and transparency of the Dutch police system.
However, there is little, if any, evidence to suggest that these ‘tougher’ managerial
strategies have improved citizens’ trust and confidence in the police. Indeed, research has
shown that the general public is less satisfied with this ‘harder’ instrumental view of policing
than they were with the so-called ‘softer’ forms of policing (Terpstra and Trommel, 2009).
Attempts to turn the officers responsible for community-focused forms of policing into
‘bandit catchers’ (Brogden and Shearing, 1994), and to send policing ‘sliding back towards
the central-repressive quadrant’ (Punch et al, 2008, p. 72), may have reduced the
neighborhood coordinators’ accessibility in neighborhoods, creating an atmosphere that runs
counter to the close relations between them and citizens that was developed in prior years.
The current ‘hyperpoliticization’ (Van Swaaningen, 2005) of safety and security,
however, has not isolated the police from broader networks of agents in the field of security.
On the contrary, ‘police forces still cooperate in a variety of local networks and work together
with all kinds of public and private organizations, in some fields even more intensively than
before’ (Van Sluis et al, 2008, p. 430). In response to the high demands for safety and
security mentioned at the outset, and despite the punitive political turn, the Dutch police have
continued to reimagine themselves as a ‘new police’, with links to other relevant players at
local, regional, national and international levels.
In what follows we explore the ways in which police organizations within a Dutch
context – in particular the Amsterdam police have established linkages to private actors,
such as commercial security guards and street coaches, as a strategy to enhance the policing
resource pool. In particular, we examine the nature of these emerging ‘police assemblages’
(Brodeur, 2010), the ways in which they have been managed and coordinated, and the logics
and associated policing styles that have emerged. Before considering these issues, we lay out
the Dutch interpretation of nodal policing, a view that is founded on an understanding that the
police are simply one player, albeit an important one (Johnston and Shearing, 2003; Wood
and Shearing, 2007), in the field of urban safety.
Policing with a nodal orientation
Dutch police leaders and policing scholars have been active in assessing the impact of new,
and emerging, security threats and their implications for the ‘structure of policing’ (Bayley
and Shearing, 2001). A central challenge posed by these threats relates to the ways in which
security issues at the local level are tied to criminal nodes and networks operating nationally
and transnationally (see also Dupont, 2012). This concern with threats and their challenges
were well articulated in the 2006 Dutch report ‘Police in Evolution’ (Politie in Ontwikkeling):
Because of the significant increase in the mobility of people, goods and information,
local, interurban and international safety has become more and more intertwined
because open borders, freedom of mobility and computerization offer opportunities
not only to entrepreneurs and citizens, but also to criminal individuals, organizations
or networks…This has [led to] crime and increasingly international affairs that can no
longer be traced back to one single state jurisdiction (Project Group Vision on Policing
2006, p. 21-22).
In response to the fluidity of criminal behavior across space, the Dutch police have, as we
noted earlier, chosen to focus much of their gaze on flows of people, goods, money and
information that can create opportunities for local breaches of security. These infrastructural
nodes, such as airports, seaports, railways, highways and internet servers, constitute crucial
sites for police engagement because they provide the infrastructures that enable people,
information and commodities to travel across time and space. Policing with a nodal
orientation is defined as
… the intensive control and monitoring of infrastructure and the flow of people, goods
and money that move along the various forms of this infrastructure. The police act
where flows across infrastructures arrive at particular places, such as at the nodes in
the infrastructure networks. Each movement of flow and infrastructure requires
specific applications for police interventions that fit the characteristics of the particular
type of flow or infrastructure (Van Sluis et al, 2011, p. 366).
What this definition implies as the 2006 Report itself and the practices that have emerged
from it make clear – is that for police to achieve this policing mandate, they need to establish
collaborative networks. One of the sets of practices, which we explore further below, has been
the development of new policing practices to police nodal flows through ‘high-tech
applications, which automatically observe and register vehicles moving on ring roads around
cities while comparing data found with a wide range of databases (e.g. unpaid fines, known
suspects). An example is the control of infrastructural nodes that serve as access or exit
points, such as the use of traffic controls on highways. This experimental policing
arrangement has allowed the police to compromise people’s invisibility and anonymity.
Criminals and other unwanted persons can now be identified when entering a local area. In
the (near) future, mobile technologies may even allow police to directly alert private security
personnel working in businesses to the presence of known shoplifters in the area, which
encourages local guards to assist would-be shoplifters to pay for goods. The policing of
infrastructure thus necessitates the involvement of other players within security nodal
The nodal orientation of the Dutch police described above is an addendum to a more
traditional focus on local neighborhoods and communities: it ‘combines a perspective on
policing in infrastructural networks with one that considers the police a player in… security
networks’ (Van Sluis et al, 2011, p. 365). This decision to concentrate more closely on ‘joined
up’ (Crawford and Lister, 2004) police work by involving various partners is not new. As
early as 1985, the White Paper entitled ‘Society and Crime: A Policy Plan for the Future’
(Samenleving en criminaliteit: Een beleidsplan voor de komende jaren) clearly foreshadowed
that the Dutch police have come to depend heavily on the cooperation of different
organizations, both public and private (Punch et al, 2002). The White Paper promoted the
‘functional coordination’ between state and non-state bodies in the provision of public safety.
In the White Paper, neighborhood residents are, among others, conceived of as ‘responsible
associates’ in creating and maintaining a safe and livable social environment. From the early
1990s onwards, ‘responsibilization’ strategies (Garland, 1996) have been further confirmed
by the Dutch government’s wider emphasis on ‘integral safety’, which highlights
organizational responses that cut vertically through state agencies and horizontally through
non-state sectors to form assemblages of governance. Within such assemblages, flows of
power from one node to another are understood as de-centered and multidirectional, rather
than as top-down and unidirectional.
This conception of power resonates with both Foucault’s (1984/1992) and Latour’s
(1987) conception of power as having multiple sources – that is, as coming from everywhere.
Latour illuminates this conception nicely through his analogy of a rugby game, where the
outcome of the game is not determined by who takes, and who accepts or intercepts the first
kick, but rather by how the ball moves through the field of action throughout the entire game.
The course of the game is shaped by all those who make contact with the ball and all those
who influence this. To be a governing node, as Latour’s illustration – along with the metaphor
of ‘team play’ – makes clear, an agent (be it a person or an agency), if it is to be able to act as
a policing node within a wider network, must be capable of influencing the ‘flow of events’
(Parker and Braithwaite, 2003) with respect to security. In other words: a governing node
must have the capacity ‘to regulate self-regulating governance networks by shaping the
conditions under which they operate’ (Sørenson and Torfing, 2005, p. 202). In seeking to
become what might be thought of as a ‘nodal police’ an idea that the Victoria Police in
Australia referenced through the term ‘nexus policing’ (Wood, 2006) – the Dutch police have
not only continued to act as a crucial node themselves but have, in seeking to foster and steer
the direction of nodal assemblages, also emerged as a facilitator of networked forms of
Four examples
Keeping in mind the above context, we turn now to four concrete examples of ‘team play’,
which have given life to the Dutch vision of policing with a nodal orientation. We draw these
examples from our empirical studies in Amsterdam.
Policing through spatial control
The first example of policing with a nodal orientation aims to control the open spaces between
urban areas and the wider world (Project Group Vision on Policing, 2006; Van Sluis et al,
2011). Over the past few years, the Dutch police have experimented with the installation, and
deployment, of ‘smart’ ring-road cameras and Automatic Number Plate Recognition
technologies used to detect and register all vehicles that enter the city. The system checks the
vehicle and personal details against various other databases (municipal, police and tax office).
This initiative, designed to govern flows of people and goods through space, represents a
sophisticated form of ‘sorting’ and ‘gating’ that is not dissimilar to the use of, for example,
magnetic swipe cards and biometric iris recognition in high security facilities. Via the
installation of such technologies across Amsterdam, the Dutch police’s objective has been to
identify, limit and intercept ‘the mobility of “evil”’ (Project Group Vision on Policing, 2006,
p. 78) by using visual recording equipment – mostly CCTV cameras – to undermine the
anonymity and invisibility of known suspects.
The interaction between these technologies and neighborhood coordinators is
purported to enhance the Dutch emphasis on local communities by using information
technology to inform coordinators of threats, like suspicious vehicles and people entering the
city. Following the 2006 Report,
… the notion ‘from your local neighborhood to the world at large’ means in particular
that there is a relationship between the different levels on which safety can be
organized. For individual police officers and for the police as an organization this
means in practice that whenever there are national objectives (e.g. fighting terrorism),
local activities are expressly placed in the context of these broader safety objectives
(Project Group Vision on Policing, 2006, p. 21-22).
As such, the Dutch police emphasize that there should be clarity between various partners
about their perceptions of threats and their respective responsibilities in improving public
safety and security. In line with the examples noted above, the police utilize mobile
technologies to inform citizens and other stakeholders of information gathered by sending text
messages, through an initiative called SMS-alert (Korteland and Bekkers, 2007). The
intention is to enroll third parties, as co-producers of community safety, to engage with the
police, in the recognition, anticipation and prevention of local crime and disorder. This
constitutes an innovative program that seeks to promote the process of ‘knowing and being
known’, and which involves the police entering into relationships with citizens and
organizations – both public and private – for the purpose of exchanging information (Ericson
and Haggerty, 1997; Ayling et al, 2009). Community safety programs thereby integrate with
national and even global or transnational levels of policing with a strong emphasis on
Policing through coaching
The second example we will consider is the deployment of ‘street coaches’ who engage with
disorderly youngsters on the streets of Amsterdam. These coaches, provided by a commercial
security firm and employed by a private foundation a civil society entity under contract
with the city council, have been conceived of as ‘filling the gap’ between reactive policing
strategies and preventive youth care. The central idea underlying this initiative was to bring
together the worlds of policing and community-based care in an effort to reduce the problem
of youth ‘hanging around’ (Van Steden and Jones, 2008). Street coaches work in conjunction
with ‘home helpers’ (private social workers directly working for the foundation) who visit the
parents of youngsters in trouble. The coaches, who have no judicial and related powers (e.g.
they may not issue fines), cycle through Amsterdam neighborhoods and boroughs to reduce
the extent to which youth engage in activities that constitute a ‘nuisance’.
One strategy that both street coaches and home helpers employ is to activate
(problematic) youth and their parents, as local regulators, through signed agreements, to
commit to reforming their behaviors. A consequence of these agreements is that parents are
made more aware of their children’s misconduct and are encouraged, as parents, to play a
greater supervisory role of their children. This use of self-regulation within communities has a
long history and is found in a variety of guises in different places across the globe (see, for
example, Froestad, 2013). In addition to providing a visible presence on the streets of
Amsterdam, coaches and helpers guide troublesome youth through a range of complex, and
sometimes contradictory, set of bureaucratic services and regulatory provisions. The hope has
been that this initiative would streamline multifarious youth programs into a more integrated,
simpler and efficient set of processes.
As the daily work of street coaches illuminates, ‘capable guardians’ (Cohen and
Felson, 1979) in local neighborhoods are not necessarily police. In this instance, although
police officers are involved in the wider security network as neighborhood coordinators, they
tend to remain in the background. They see their role less as offering services directly, and
more as guarantors of order who act to ensure that networks of capable guardians exist and
are operating to promote safety (see also Wood and Marks, 2007). Their role is primarily to
provide informational support for the coaches and helpers by providing back-up support in
cases where the unique legal authority and coercive capacity of the police is required (see
Shearing and Leon, 1976). Particularly noteworthy in the case of street coaches is the fact that
the vast bulk of the infrastructure is provided by a private foundation. Street coaches thus act
‘in the shadow of the law’ (Mnookin and Kornhauser, 1979), meaning that they maintain
public order on behalf of government agencies that remain in the background, but that are
ultimately in control.
Policing through responsive regulation
Our third example is that of the Flying Squads (Vliegende Brigades) that are routinely
deployed across Amsterdam (De Groot and Van Steden, 2011; Van Steden and Stekelenburg,
2010). Flying Squads are made up of police, health care service officials, and social workers
under the political authority of the municipal enforcement department. As a component of
Flying Squads, municipal enforcement officers (see below) work under the operational
direction of police officers, most notably neighborhood coordinators. Municipal
responsibilities within this policing arrangement originated as an initiative designed primarily
to address long-term unemployment in 1989. Lacking any police powers, city wardens
(stadswachten) were deployed to perform a security governance function through their visible
presence as agents and via the provision of information to tourists and residents in Dutch
cities (Hauber et al, 1996). Again, schemes such as this can be found in different incarnations
elsewhere, for instance, the use of downtown ambassadors in the United States, Canada and
Australia (Sleiman and Lippert, 2010). In The Netherlands, the national government has
sought to professionalize city wardens over the past few years. They are now regarded as
‘municipal enforcement officers’, as professional order maintenance personnel holding
limited police powers.
Flying Squads embody flexible teams that, akin to street coaches and home helpers,
are intended to act to reduce nuisance behavior. Within these Squads, municipal enforcement
officers are uniformed officials who posses powers that enable them to issue on-the-spot
penalties for anti-social conduct, such as public urination, public drunkenness and
intoxication. Some of these officers carry handcuffs, though their coercive powers are more
limited than those of Dutch police officers. Municipal enforcement officers, like the Police
Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Britain, provide a second tier of ‘police’ who are
appointed to undertake street patrols and apply a problem-solving approach to crime and
disorder (Johnston, 2005). Unlike PCSOs, Dutch municipal enforcement officers are
employed by local government, not by a police authority. Their work can nevertheless be
situated in debates about ‘security governance’ (Johnston and Shearing, 2003) and the
‘pluralization’ or ‘multilateralization’ (Bayley and Shearing, 2001) of policing, referring to
the rise of visible (quasi-)policing professionals alongside the blue-colored state police.
The emergence of Flying Squads must be interpreted against the background of
widespread unease about low-level, but annoying, disturbances like public drunkenness, drug
abuse and panhandling in Amsterdam. Two important policy objectives of Flying Brigades
are (a) to tackle problems caused by, among others, (homeless) drug addicts through imposing
fixed penalties upon them, and (b) to offer vulnerable people personal and medical care if
necessary. These goals translate into combining strategies of care with harder edged policing
tactics to provide both ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ models (cf. Ayres and Braithwaite, 1992). By
using the ‘soft power’ of social workers who work to convince people like drug addicts to
visit doctors or a rehabilitation center, the Squad typically initiates its interventions at the base
of the enforcement pyramid. If a gentle approach what Braithwaite (1997) terms ‘speaking
softly’ fails, then municipal enforcement officers, who carry a ‘small stick’ in the form of
the ability to impose fines, are able to escalate matters up the pyramid. In the course of taking
these various actions, the Squad is able to build up dossiers outlining their lower-level actions,
which enable them to escalate matters to the top of the pyramid by eventually mobilizing the
police officers within the Squad, who have the power to arrest offenders Braithwaite’s ‘big
Policing hot spots and repeat violators
Our fourth and final example is a neighborhood safety team (buurtveiligheidsteam) program
in Amsterdam. A major principle of this program is that both the police and the municipality
invest in a targeted approach to public disorder in local urban areas. Although the municipal
enforcement department is in political control, as with the previous examples, police are
recognized as the team leader. A neighborhood coordinator, who is assisted by a police
colleague and two municipal enforcement officers, form a team. Depending on the issues
being addressed, teams are supplemented by others, such as private security guards, street
coaches, caretakers, and youth workers. Since February 2008, when the program was
initiated, four teams have been active in the northern and eastern parts of Amsterdam. Their
purpose has been to improve the ‘quality of life’ in appointed neighborhoods by addressing
(minor) safety problems such as litter, illegal parking and troublesome youth.
The most striking element of the teams’ working method is that residents have a direct
say by identifying ‘hot spots’ and other pressing local disorder problems. On account of
people’s complaints and concerns about public nuisance and antisocial behavior, professionals
adopt a focused policy on the most ‘prominent’ people (notorious lawbreakers) and places
(such as disorderly squares and drug scenes) in town (Van Stokkom, 2013). This policy has
been inspired by British experiments with ‘reassurance policing’ (Innes, 2004) and expresses
the business principles of Intelligence-Led Policing by focusing resources on the most
harmful people and places (Ratcliffe, 2008). As part of the processes initiated by the teams,
neighborhood coordinators frequently set up interactive gatherings of citizens, drawn from a
mixture of community groups, to promote dialogue, active listening and feedback about
pressing safety issues. In addition to formal gatherings, neighborhood coordinators also
organize other channels of communication, such as surveys and e-mail exchanges. The
gatherings between professionals and citizens approximate the ‘beat meetings’ Skogan (2006)
studied in Chicago.
Our purpose so far has not been evaluative, but rather suggestive of the agility and nodal
imagination of the Dutch Police in larger ‘teams’ of security governance players. In the above
examples, we hope to have made clear the fact that the Dutch police are now routinely
positioned within assemblages of resources to collectively address security issues. Our
examples reveal that such network engagement can, and does, take place, with the police
neighborhood coordinators in particular mostly playing a central role. At the same time,
however, the municipality of Amsterdam also takes up a pivotal position in shaping team
play. Team leaders vary, depending on the problem at hand, and the logic deployed to address
it. Due to this morphing character, the position of police within security networks is
sometimes stable, but often it is not.
The challenge for nodes, including the police and municipal agencies, has therefore
been to determine which assemblages work best for different types of problems. Depending
on the nature of the problem, questions arise as to who should take which positions within a
policing field, and what the rules of the game should be (Ayling et al, 2009). The Dutch
police have begun to consider these issues, but to date have done so in a rather improvised
fashion in which the enrollment and alignment of third parties are central features of
community safety (Boutellier, forthcoming). Nodal team work, much similar to the
improvisations of a jazz ensemble,
emerges as an important medium for exhibiting as well as a means of conceiving
and (re)enacting interpersonal relationships. It derives particularly ‘from the force of
the context, one that challenges players, listeners and all those caught up in its social
field, to reevaluate the “space” in which the conjoined activities of making music and
community happen’ (Fischlin cited in Cobussen, 2008, p. 54).
As we alluded to earlier, such experiments have been happening simultaneously, and in
parallel with the move to introduce tougher forms of policing. In practice, as Ayres and
Braithwaite’s (1992) picture of a regulatory pyramid shows, governance arrangements
function as a sort of incremental ‘regulatory pyramid’. This pyramid is most obvious in the
case of the Flying Squads, but lies concealed in the other examples too. Coercive measures of
law enforcement are merely seen as an ultimum remedium, as a last straw. If citizens, social
workers, home helpers, street coaches, municipal law enforcement officers and other partners
in community safety fail to solve problems and restore public order, the police can be brought
into action (Boutellier and Van Steden, 2011). Neighborhood coordinators and other police
colleagues are, at any moment, capable of intervening when escalation up the pyramid is
The above examples suggest that although the Dutch police are certainly being
encouraged to make greater use of their ‘big stick’, this has not meant that neighborhood
coordinators are not continuing to be very active at the bottom end of the regulatory pyramid
where they, and the policing assemblages they are a part of, speak much more softly. The
police are essential players because of their big sticks, but oftentimes, these can be
subordinated to softer tools used by other nodal players. Within nodal networks, police
officers, like the neighborhood coordinators we considered, act in ways that fully recognize
that ‘what works’ (hard and soft) depends on the situation.
A vital development within the governance of security has been the mobilization of resources
outside of state bureaucracies in the pursuit of safety and security. This is a strategy that
citizens, corporations and non-profit organizations have used to create nodal assemblages that
stretch beyond states’ resources and capacities. The Dutch government generally, and the
Dutch police specifically, have actively designed and implemented policies to identify,
enhance, mobilize and integrate a wide variety of capacities both local and national in
pursuing their security governance agendas. In considering how this has been done, our
examples show that the emergence of the nodal assemblages that now define Dutch policing
evolved through a number of innovative and opportunistic processes that have, and are
continuing to, profoundly reshaped policing and police work. We have argued, via an
analysis of actions taken by the police in Amsterdam, that a variety of different developments,
which share a distinct ‘family resemblance’ (Wittgenstein, 1953/2001) are collectively
reshaping Dutch policing by moving it in a nodal direction.
In summary, policing operates in many forms, with different entities taking up various
positions in the field of action in which security nodes operate. As we have seen in the case of
neighborhood coordinators, the police may play a central role in managing assemblages. In
such instances they act as a coordinating hub that determines what security capacities exist
within a policing field and decides ‘who should do what’ to reduce crime and disorder. The
nodal assemblages that are emerging within the Netherlands and elsewhere have experienced,
and continue to present, difficult challenges with respect to coordination. Our examples
illustrate that these challenges are being explored through the innovative and experimental
processes. In the developments taking place, what we are witnessing is the Dutch police
playing an active role in the shaping, but not controlling of the emergence of nodal security
arrangements in the Netherlands. In our case illustrations we have confirmed that power, as
Foucault and Latour have advised, operates both horizontally and vertically. Through their
security assemblages, the police may govern us more indirectly (although perhaps no less
effectively) than ever before.
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... Our findings suggest that offenders favour nearer targets to those further away and offenders' residential locations are important for understanding where poaching occurs. We examine the implications of these findings within a situational crime prevention (SCP) framework (Clarke 1980;2017) and explore a 'nodal orientation' approach (van Steden et al. 2013) for compliance management in protected areas (PAs). 1 We purposefully use the term conservation criminology to specifically refer to the application of environmental criminology and crime analysis theories and methods to wildlife crime. For a more detailed discussion on the distinction between conservation and green criminology perspectives, we suggest Moreto and Pires (2018). ...
... Conservation criminologists argue that the application of SCP techniques (increase risk, increase effort, reduce rewards, reduce provocations, remove excuses) could provide protected area managers with pragmatic low-cost, evidence-based solutions to wildlife crime problems (Pires and Moreto 2011;Lemieux 2014;Petrossian and Clarke 2014;Kurland et al. 2017;Moreto and Pires 2018;Petrossian 2018;Weekers and Zahnow 2018). Additionally, and in line with crime pattern theory, Van Steden et al. (2013) suggest that a nodal-orientated compliance management framework could be used to increase the effectiveness of enforcement resources by focussing operational attention on the places where the flow of people and things intersect (van Steden et al. 2013). It has been argued that such an approach may also increase the effectiveness of management efforts to control wildlife crime in PAs (Hubschle and Shearing 2018). ...
... Conservation criminologists argue that the application of SCP techniques (increase risk, increase effort, reduce rewards, reduce provocations, remove excuses) could provide protected area managers with pragmatic low-cost, evidence-based solutions to wildlife crime problems (Pires and Moreto 2011;Lemieux 2014;Petrossian and Clarke 2014;Kurland et al. 2017;Moreto and Pires 2018;Petrossian 2018;Weekers and Zahnow 2018). Additionally, and in line with crime pattern theory, Van Steden et al. (2013) suggest that a nodal-orientated compliance management framework could be used to increase the effectiveness of enforcement resources by focussing operational attention on the places where the flow of people and things intersect (van Steden et al. 2013). It has been argued that such an approach may also increase the effectiveness of management efforts to control wildlife crime in PAs (Hubschle and Shearing 2018). ...
The emergence of conservation criminology over the past decade provides a unique insight into patterns of wildlife crime. Wildlife crime has a dramatic impact on many vulnerable species and represents a significant challenge to the management of protected areas around the world. This paper contributes to the field of conservation criminology by examining the travel patterns of fishing poachers in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia. The results demonstrate that distance is a key feature of offender target selection, reflecting the established environmental criminology concept of distance decay. The analysis also reveals a significant relationship between individual no-take zones and regional population areas. The applicability of a nodal-oriented approach to wildlife crime prevention is discussed.
... Neo-liberal governments, including in Aotearoa, increasingly 'responsibilized' private individuals by "shift[ing] much of the burden of crime control back to [them]" (Dupont et al. 2016, p.482). The resulting array of public, private, and semiprivate policing (Terpstra and van Stokkom 2015) is referred to as the 'policing complex' (Hoogenboom, 1991), 'plural policing' (Loader 2000), the 'extended policing family' (Johnston, 2003), the 'new security complex' (Terpstra 2010 as cited in Boels andVerhage 2015), the 'mixed economy of policing' (Crawford 2013), and "nodal policing" (van Steden et al. 2016 In his influential model of plural policing, Loader (2000) argues that contemporary policing is undertaken not only by government (NZP) but also above government (transnational police agencies); through government (subcontracted private businesses); beyond government (private security sector); and below government. Below-government policing encompasses all forms of organized citizen-led crime-preventative surveillance under state supervision, such as neighbourhood watches and citizen patrols, but also acts of "reactive 'vigilantism' directed at capturing and punishing suspected [criminal] 'offenders'" (p.328). ...
... Instead of using the opportunity to acknowledge Iwi as Treaty partners and re-think who should be responsible for the 'public health policing' in the diverse communities of Aotearoa and "what it means to 'police', how it can be delivered and by whom" (Stanley and Bradley 2020, p.4), the government outright denied Indigenous policing rights. Moreover, the statement does a disservice to NZP's motto 'Safer Communities Together' because establishing 'togetherness' and 'community building' as recommended by the Ministry of Health (2020) happens not only within localized communities but also at the synapses between communities -in this instance at the synapses between two 'policing nodes' (van Steden et al. 2016), i.e., Iwi checkpoints and NZP. ...
International media have praised Aotearoa New Zealand for its response to the coronavirus pandemic. While New Zealand Police played a fundamental role in enforcing pandemic control measures, the policing landscape remained plural. This article employs Loader [2000. Plural policing and democratic governance. Social and legal studies, 9 (3), 323–345] model of plural policing to understand responses to public health emergencies. It identifies two forms of policing which were evident in Aotearoa during the COVID-19 lockdown that should be added to Loader’s model. First, we argue that contexts with colonial history require that the model not only includes by-government and below-government policing but also next-to-government policing by Indigenous peoples – such as the ‘community checkpoints’ run by Māori. Second, and further developing Loader’s model, we argue that the category of below-government policing be expanded to include ‘peer-to-peer policing’ in which government responsibilizes members of the public to subject each other to large-scale surveillance and social control. Since plural forms of policing affect each other’s functionality and legitimacy, we argue that what happens at the synapses between policing nodes has profound implications for the process of community building. Because community building is essential to fighting pandemics, we conclude that the policing of pandemic intervention measures may require an expanded understanding and practice of plural policing to support an optimal public health strategy.
... Intelligent manufacturing technology is a technology that governments and industries around the world are gradually paying attention [18][19][20]. e following is a chronology of the national development strategies proposed by various governments for intelligent manufacturing: ...
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This study uses financial indicators dismantled by DuPont’s identity as evidence to invert the resource allocation of top companies in the electronics manufacturing industry and then delineates their strategic groups through factor analysis and cluster analysis. Also, the timeline is divided into two periods: from 2010 to 2013 and from 2014 to 2017. The impact of Industry 4.0 was determined by studying and comparing the strategic groups of top companies in these two periods. It is confirmed that the competitive environment in the electronics manufacturing industry did change in the period after the rollout of Industry 4.0, with the general trend being in capacity. In the late Industry 4.0 period, there was an increase in the number of top-performing companies in the group of companies whose competitive strategies were based on production management and supply chain management capabilities. Companies that invest more resources in fixed assets are able to use digitization, networking, and automation. Companies that achieve greater efficiency in their own factory’s production facilities can reap more benefits and widen the gap with their competitors.
... This metaphor recognises the importance of cross-sectional assemblages on the streets, while acknowledging system-factor dynamics that may obstruct or run counterproductive to law enforcement-public health partnerships. The key query for all kinds of players, including community police officers and district nurses, is to determine who should take which positions within a 'nodal' or 'networked' governance field (van Steden, Wood, Shearing, & Boutellier, 2016). As such, team play, much similar to the improvisations of a jazz ensemble, derives particularly "from the force of the context, one that challenges players, listeners and all those caught up in its social field, to reevaluate the 'space' in which the conjoined activities of making music and community happen" (Fischlin cited in Cobussen, 2008, p. 54). ...
The nexus between law enforcement and public health represents a new and emerging policy field. Yet, most scholarly work has been devoted to police attitudes and interventions involving people affected by mental illness. This paper draws attention to a law enforcement - public health partnership in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. We present a qualitative study based on interviews and some observations. Three major themes emerged from our fieldwork that involved policy makers, community police officers, and district nurses: how these officers and nurses perceive the problem of disorderly and confused people, how they work together in practice, and how they relate to a wider network of many other players. We argue that community police officers and district nurses have developed a kind of informal 'team play' consisting of three steps: receiving and analysing a signal, undertaking action, and providing aftercare. These steps offer a preventative approach aimed at avoiding and forestalling crisis situations. Difficulties arise in terms of tracing so-called 'care avoiders' (people who do not present a 'readiness for treatment'), hampered information exchange, and the governance of partners beyond our respondents' own organisations. In particular, we argue that today's society is not only governed through crime, but also through care. There is no such thing as a robust 'punitive complex' in which policing and criminal justice logics prevail. Rather, we witness a multi-agency network of police, public health, mental health, youth care housing associations and other nodal actors, each with their own bureaucratic logics and working methods tending to clash with, or even undermine, informal team play on the streets.
... New perspectives in the literature on plural policing, however, suggest that illicit networks and flows could be disrupted through nodal forms of policing. 12 Likewise, although transnational responses are of crucial importance, the argument made here is that communities should be considered fulcrum institutions when it comes to the prevention of wildlife crime and disruption of trafficking networks. The supply chain and trafficking networks are rendered useless when communities pull out and no longer support illegal wildlife economies. ...
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A large number of anti-poaching, conservation and management measures have been implemented to protect rhinos. None of these responses has achieved tangible results in lowering unnatural rhino deaths through illegal hunting in southern Africa. The international donor community, conservation NGOs and governments have disbursed millions of dollars to fight this illegal wildlife trade, and continue to do so. We argue in this report that these measures are bound to fail, as they do not engage with the most important change agents in conservation: local people who live in or near protected areas and game reserves. The report therefore aims to provide a better understanding of why African rural communities participate in wildlife economies, both legal and illegal, and how alternative, community-oriented strategies can help build a more resilient response to organized wildlife crime than has hitherto been achieved.
... Een netwerk van uiteenlopende organisaties laat zich vaak lastig besturen (Gerspacher & Dupont, 2007;Raab et al., 2013;Van Steden, Wood, Shearing, & Boutellier, 2016). Betrokken organisaties hebben verschillende belangen, achtergronden, competenties en inzichten, waardoor er gemakkelijk meningsverschillen en conflicten tussen organisaties ontstaan (Booher & Innes, 2002). ...
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Onder druk van globalisering en glocalisering wordt de politie steeds meer geconfronteerd met nieuwe en complexe veiligheidsvraagstukken. De oplossing van deze vraagstukken ligt in samenwerking met andere overheden en maatschappelijke actoren in netwerken. Netwerken worden echter veelvuldig geconfronteerd met governancedilemma's. In dit paper onderzoek ik hoe overheden tijdens de tijdens de vluchtelingencrisis met governancedilemma's geconfronteerd werden, hoe oplossingen op governancedilemma's tot stand kwamen en wat voor effect dit had op het optreden van de politie. Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat in de onderzochte Veiligheidsregio een nieuwe bestuurlijke oplossing werd geïntroduceerd die zeer succesvol was. Voor de betrokken politie-eenheid was het echter zeer lastig om (voldoende) bij deze nieuwe bestuursvorm aan te sluiten.
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This is an extensive international literature review about the practice of community policing in the Netherlands and beyond.
Studies into organizational networks and governance tend to analyze professional behavior through the lens of rational (self)interest, resources, conflict, and power relations. However legitimate, this viewpoint overlooks the normative dimensions of networks. Therefore, in studying nodal security governance, the authors introduce the concept of “social practice,” which highlights the intrinsic normativity of what networked actors do. Social practices, they argue, deepen the theory of nodal governance by focusing more precise attention on the mentalities and value-laden characteristics of actors in highly complex settings. Drawing on this insight, the chapter presents a theoretical framework for analyzing social practices in nodal security governance, after which an empirical example concretizes our rather abstract line of reasoning.
Der Beitrag beschreibt die Anforderungen an kooperative Sicherheitsarbeit vor dem Hintergrund einer sich ändernden Sicherheitskultur und -architektur. Neben die „klassischen“ öffentlichen Institutionen treten zunehmend auch privatwirtschaftliche und zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure, die mit spezifischen Kompetenzen an der Sicherheitsgewährung – bei einem erweiterten Sicherheitsbegriff – mitwirken. Es werden Formen kooperativer Sicherheit vorgestellt, das Konzept des Safety and Security Governance erläutert und die Herausforderungen an die Polizei verdeutlicht, in den Netzwerken der Sicherheitsarbeit mitzuwirken.
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For some time now a debate has been taking place both within academic and police circles with respect to the role of the police. This debate has taken the form of a challenge to the popular conception of the police officer's role as principally a crime-fighter and law-enforcer. Social scientists and police administrators have argued that in fact policemen, at least at the patrol level, spend relatively little of their time fighting crime or enforcing the law; rather, they spend the vast majority of their time doing social service type work.
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This article first lays out a short history of regulation conceived in this broad way. It then considers whether ours is a society that regulates more because it has become a 'risk society'. Next it uses Gunther Teubner's model of the 'regulatory trilemma' and a consideration of the key regulatory mechanisms to review the literature on the finer grain of how regulation works. Finally it returns to the pluralization of regulation as a crucial dynamic in creating spaces where 'democratic experimentalism' is emerging as a possibility.
In the 1970s the Dutch police developed a paradigm of policing that married ideas from the United States on community-oriented policing to a strongly social and democratic role for the police in society. From the early 1990s there was a gradual shift to the right in Dutch society that was reflected in concerns about crime and safety. The paradigm came under scrutiny. Then Dutch officers began to visit New York in considerable numbers and returned with ideas on 'zero tolerance'. This 'tough' approach to crime reduction appears to conflict with Dutch 'tolerance' in criminal justice. The paper argues that there is reluctance to abandon that original paradigm, ambivalence about the new concepts from abroad but, above all, an inability to develop a new, comprehensive paradigm. This may well be true elsewhere and we assume that modern policing needs to be based on a well-thought paradigm on the police role in society.
Highly popular with both the public and political leaders, community policing is the most important development in law enforcement in the last twenty-five years. But does it really work? Can police departments fundamentally change their organization? Can neighborhood problems be solved? In the early 1990s, Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, instituted the nation's largest community policing initiative. This book provides a comprehensive evaluation of that citywide program, examining its impact on crime, neighborhood residents, and the police. Based on the results of a thirteen-year study, including interviews, citywide surveys, and sophisticated statistical analyses, it reveals a city divided among African Americans, whites, and Latinos. By looking at the varying effects community policing had on each of these groups, the book provides an analysis of what works and why. As the use of community policing increases and issues related to race and immigration become more pressing, it will serve the needs of an increasing amount of students, scholars, and professionals interested in the most effective and harmonious means of keeping communities safe.
What is intelligence-led policing? Who came up with the idea? Where did it come from? How does it relate to other policing paradigms? What distinguishes an intelligence-led approach to crime reduction? How is it designed to have an impact on crime? Does it prevent crime? What is crime disruption? is intelligence-led policing just for the police? These are questions asked by many police professionals, including senior officers, analysts and operational staff. Similar questions are also posed by students of policing who have witnessed the rapid emergence of intelligence-led policing from its British origins to worldwide movement. These questions are also relevant to crime prevention practitioners and policy-makers seeking long-term crime benefits. The answers to these questions are the subject of this book.
This book seeks to give a comprehensive theory of policing. To set out the background for such a theory, the diverse types of agencies involved in policing, the history of policing, and the representations of policing in the press and in police literature are examined. The police are then defined by their use of a wide array of means, including violence, which are prohibited as legal violations for all other citizens. This definition is tested in the subsequent chapters bearing on the main components of the police web. First, the public police working in uniform are described in respect of who they are, what part of their activities are devoted to crime control, and the ways in which they operate. Second, criminal investigators are put in focus and empirical findings on how they clear up cases are discussed. The security and intelligence services are the subject of the next chapter, which develops a model that contrasts "high policing" (intelligence services) with "low policing" (public constabularies). The following chapter addresses the crucial issues that relate to private security, stressing the uncertainty of our current knowledge, and proposes a fully developed model integrating public and private security. The last chapter is devoted to military policing in its democratic and undemocratic variants, and to the extra-legal social control exercised by criminal organizations such as the Mafia. In conclusion, the book tries to link the theoretical issues raised throughout the book and make his position explicit with respect to all of them.