Entrepreneurship in Policing and Criminal Contexts: Volume 12

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(10 chapters)


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This chapter introduces the two main topics of ‘entrepreneurial policing’ and ‘criminal entrepreneurship’ and begins in Section 1.1 by considering the concept and scope of entrepreneurial policing around which this monograph is organised. Its definition and ontological development are considered. Thereafter, the author briefly discuss what entrepreneurship is (and is not) and set out examples of entrepreneurship of interest to policing, including – ‘Corporate’ and ‘Team’ Entrepreneurship, ‘Intrapreneurship’, ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Animateurship’, ‘Civic Entrepreneurship’, and ‘Public Service Entrepreneurship’. The author then discusses why entrepreneurship is of critical importance to the police service and discuss worked examples. Having developed a basic understanding of the power and utility of entrepreneurship, then in more detail what the term entrepreneurial policing means and how it evolved in practice and in the academic literature are considered. In Section 1.2, the foundations of entrepreneurial policing considering its ontological and epistemological development from ‘New Public Management’ to ‘New Entrepreneurialism’ and also the influence of the merging literatures of ‘Criminal Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Leadership’ are critically examined. In Section 1.3, our consideration to include a more nuanced understanding of the what is referred to as the ‘Entrepreneurship–Policing Nexus’ including consideration of the influence of dyslexia on policing and crime and the power of the ‘Entrepreneurial’ and ‘Gangster’ dreams on entrepreneurial motivation and propensity are expanded. In Section 1.4, an attempt is made to identify who the stakeholders of this new policing philosophy are? Finally, in Section 1.5, the chapter takeaway points which both articulates and confirms the inherent importance of entrepreneurship in policing and criminal contexts are discussed and detailed.


In Chapter 1, a broad overview of the scope of entrepreneurialism in policing and criminal contexts which are broadly positive in nature was developed. In Chapter 2, the scrutiny to cover socio-cultural and organisational barriers to the implementation of entrepreneurial policing are extended. These include police culture, organisational traits such as ‘Machismo’ and ‘Conformism’, the restrictive nature of the police rank structure, the military model of policing, bureaucracy, risk-aversion, anti-entrepreneurialism, anti-intellectualism, the ‘Maverick’ stereotype, and the ‘Questioning Constable’. Many of these elements are of a negative nature and inhibit the implementation of entrepreneurial policing and practices. Also the entrepreneurial organisation and issues such as privatisation, commercialisation, innovation, and technology which also inhibit entrepreneurialism in policing contexts, but which also offer significant opportunities, are considered.


There is a proven linkage amongst the theories, practice, and literatures of entrepreneurship, management, and leadership. Accordingly, this chapter explores these linkages in policing and criminal contexts. Traditionally, the police have adopted a combination of heroic, bureaucratic, and autocratic approaches to leadership although individual police leaders do utilise a wide variety of appropriate leadership styles including charismatic and Laissez–Faire leadership. Great Man theory also influences police leadership styles and actions. Other novel appropriate leadership styles such as ‘humble’ and ‘agile’ leadership are also considered because of their potential fit with entrepreneurial policing philosophy and practice. Police leadership is immersed in the Military model of policing discussed in Chapter 2 and this includes its semiotics and symbolism. There is an inherent and ongoing tension between two very different competing leadership styles namely the ‘Commander Model’ versus the ‘Executive Model’. Both are relevant in different circumstances.


There is an evolving literature on criminal entrepreneurship which situates it as a sub-topic of the organised crime literature and either mythologies and elevates the criminal entrepreneur to Mafioso status or ascribes it to being an activity carried out by criminal cartels; or else it trivialises and minimises it as being ‘White-Collar Criminality’. In reality, entrepreneurship pervades everyday criminal life as it pervades the everyday practices of policing. In this chapter, the author acknowledges the existence of a ‘Crimino-Entrepreneurial Interface’ populated by a cast of criminal actors including the ubiquitous ‘Businessman Gangster’. These criminally entrepreneurial actors operate within a specific milieu or ‘Enterprise Model of Crime’ and operate alongside the legitimate ‘Entrepreneurial Business Community’. Within the two conjoined systems, there is a routine exchange of interactions either parasitical or symbiotic and these coalesce to form an ecosystem of enterprise crime in which it is not only the ubiquitous criminal entrepreneur who is present but a veritable cast of entrepreneurially motivated criminal actors. As well as the established business community there is a parallel, alternative community which is situated in the so-called ‘Criminal Areas’ where the traditional criminal fraternity carry out their nefarious entrepreneurial activities. Within such areas, an underclass exists which provides the criminal workforce for organised crime. The traditional criminal ecosystem is the natural habitat for the police, and it is around this activity that police are traditionally organised. A perpetual cycle of crime is set up which requires policing, but this leaves an unpoliced void which the entrepreneurial criminals exploit. It is necessary to understand the criminal places and spaces exploited by Organised Crime and what roles other criminal actors and facilitators play in the enterprise model. It is also necessary to understand the so-called ‘Perverse Model of Policing’ which distorts and magnifies the true scale of the problem and to appreciate how Serious and Organised Crime corrupt and infiltrate the legitimate ‘upperworld’ before one can understand the true scale of entrepreneurialism in policing and criminal contexts.


Having developed a more nuanced understanding of how entrepreneurship pervades everyday policing systems, practices, and processes and how it imbues ‘Organised Crime’ and ‘Organised Criminals’ with a competitive advantage it is incumbent upon us to consider new methods of implementing entrepreneurial policing. A strength of longstanding systems of policing is that they work because they systematically perpetuate consistent and proven ways of working which achieve measurable results. Such systems operationalise the conventional and maintain the ‘status quo’. Conversely, innovations do not implement themselves and new ways of ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ require to be designed, trialled, and put in place. People innovate and initiate change and it is necessary when seeking to initiate changes such as ‘entrepreneurial policing’ to assess the entrepreneurial propensities and capacities of staff within an organisation because this is the starting place for both change and entrepreneurial action. As a consequence, various possibilities including utilising academic research methodologies as analytic tools are examined.


Having considered models and frameworks which assist in the implementation of entrepreneurial policing, it is now helpful to consider complex scenarios where entrepreneurial innovations would help change policing practices. Policing systems and practices are based on the knowledge gained from years of practice and on what works. This entails following procedures and often general orders which act as instructions on ‘how to do’ particular tasks. Indeed, the on-the-job training which officers receive reinforce the rigidity of thinking and inflexibility of thought and action often associated with police practices. Following the rules and being seen to follow them are important. The traditional ‘crime fighting model of policing’ is one such tried and tested system. However, what do officers do when they face a new phenomenon, or other complex scenario where their standard operational procedures do not work or produce the expected results. They must of necessity innovate, improvise, and make changes. In Section 6.1 the pernicious scenarios of the Albanian Mafia in the UK is discussed, and ideas presented on how to implement a more entrepreneurial approach which may help disrupt of interdict such Mafia gangs. In Section 6.2, a contemporary US problem namely that of so-called ‘Police Gangs’ which appear to operate as neo-criminal fraternities is considered. Both of these complex scenarios are ongoing situations which will require a more entrepreneurial multiagency approach in the future to bring them under control. In Section 6.3, two examples from the authors own policing career which are examples of the power and utility of ‘intrapreneurial policing’ practices which were implemented to bring about change in local policing scenarios are considered. Finally, in Section 6.4, the take-away points are discussed.


So far, in Chapters 1 and 2, we have explored the scope and power of entrepreneurship in policing and criminal contexts, and in particular, entrepreneurial policing, as well as having examined the inherent cultural and organisational dynamics within the service which make its implementation problematic. In Chapter 3, the author looked at how the philosophy and practice of entrepreneurial leadership has initiated entrepreneurial change in respect of organisational governance; and, in Chapter 4, the author examined the related concept of criminal entrepreneurship and established that there is also an inherent entrepreneurial nature to crime and in particular organised crime. This inherent phenomenon is also present in ordinary disorganised crime. Accordingly, the author developed an enterprise-based ecosystem model of crime and discussed what this means in terms of the entrepreneurial organisational capabilities of the police and in turn how this affects how they interdict serious and organised crime. There is a palpable mismatch. In Chapters 5 and 6, the author turned to further explore how the service can inject entrepreneurial vigour into its structures, philosophies, and everyday practices, processes, and procedures by understanding the mismatch and taking steps to initiate change. In Chapter 7, the author draws the threads of the argument together by discussing the critical need for change and provide suggestions on how to overcome obstacles and difficulties. This will entail reversing the cultures of risk-aversion, anti-entrepreneurialism, anti-intellectualism and by learning to lead entrepreneurially. Policing is a complex social process which changes as a result of social pressures and political changes and accordingly the author briefly examines some important changes brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic which may change the way the police in the twenty-first century. Finally, the author ends by considering how to move towards a more entrepreneurial future in policing and criminal contexts.


Pages 213-220
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Cover of Entrepreneurship in Policing and Criminal Contexts
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Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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