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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2020

Christopher S. Koper, Cynthia Lum, Xiaoyun Wu and Noah Fritz

To measure the practice and management of proactive policing in local American police agencies and assess them in comparison to recommendations of the National Academies…

Abstract

Purpose

To measure the practice and management of proactive policing in local American police agencies and assess them in comparison to recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Proactive Policing.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted with a national sample of American police agencies having 100 or more sworn officers to obtain detailed information about the types of proactive work that officers engage in, to quantify their proactive work and to understand how the agencies measure and manage those activities. Responding agencies (n = 180) were geographically diverse and served populations of approximately half a million persons on average.

Findings

Proactivity as practiced is much more limited in scope than what the NAS envisions. Most agencies track only a few forms of proactivity and cannot readily estimate how much uncommitted time officers have available for proactive work. Measured proactivity is mostly limited to traffic stops, business and property checks and some form of directed or general preventive patrol. Many agencies have no formal policy in place to define or guide proactive activities, nor do they evaluate officer performance on proactivity with a detailed and deliberate rubric.

Originality/value

This is the first national survey that attempts to quantify proactive policing as practiced broadly in the United States. It provides context to the NAS recommendations and provides knowledge about the gap between practice and those recommendations.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 November 2019

Xiaoyun Wu and Cynthia Lum

Empirical research suggests that traffic enforcement is the most common type of proactive activity police officers engage in on a daily basis. Further, agencies often use…

Abstract

Purpose

Empirical research suggests that traffic enforcement is the most common type of proactive activity police officers engage in on a daily basis. Further, agencies often use traffic enforcement to achieve both traffic safety and crime control. Given these goals, the purpose of this paper is to investigate whether (and to what extent) officers are accurately targeting their proactive traffic enforcement with crime and vehicle crashes in two agencies.

Design/methodology/approach

The study examines traffic enforcement patterns in two agencies to see whether proactive traffic enforcement aligns spatially with crime and vehicle crashes. This study employs negative binomial regression models with clustered standard errors to investigate this alignment at the micro-spatial level. Key variables of interest are measured with police calls for service data, traffic citation data and vehicle crash data from two law enforcement jurisdictions.

Findings

High levels of spatial association are observed between traffic accidents and crime in both agencies, lending empirical support to the underlying theories of traffic enforcement programs that also try to reduce crime (i.e. “DDACTS”). In both agencies, traffic accidents also appear to be the most prominent predictor of police proactive traffic enforcement activities, even across different times of day. However, when vehicle crashes are accounted for, the association between crime and traffic stops is weaker, even during times of day when agencies believe they are using proactive traffic enforcement as a crime deterrent.

Originality/value

No prior study to authors knowledge has examined the empirical association between police proactive traffic activities and crime and traffic accidents in practice. The current study seeks to fill that void by investigating the realities of traffic stops as practiced daily by police officers, and their alignment with crime and vehicle crashes. Such empirical inquiry is especially important given the prevalent use of traffic enforcement as a common proactive policing tool by police agencies to control both traffic and crime problems.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Arrick L. Jackson and John E. Wade

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between social capital and police sense of responsibility and their impact on proactive policing.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between social capital and police sense of responsibility and their impact on proactive policing.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained from surveys of 353 police officers from a mid‐Western police agency. Structural equation modeling was employed to examine the relationship between social capital and proactive policing and the mediating impact of police sense of responsibility for explaining proactive policing.

Findings

Social capital demonstrates a significant relationship with both sense of responsibility and proactive policing. However, findings suggest that the amount of crime within the community has the most significant impact on police sense of responsibility and their subsequent proactive behavior. Further, social capital is only moderately mediated by sense of responsibility in explaining proactive policing.

Research limitations/implications

The research limitations of this study include: results may be skewed toward reflecting the perceptions of younger officers; this study is a cross‐sectional study, therefore, no data are provided in this study to indicate whether police opinions and behavior might change if their job assignments were different; and the scales utilized in this study may not be exhaustive.

Originality/value

Many explanations have been advanced to account for police proactive behavior. Social capital is the least developed concept in this regard. The mediating role that officers' sense of responsibility has in the relationship between social capital and proactive policing is assessed.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1999

Robert C. Ankony and Thomas M. Kelley

This study examines the impact of perceived community alienation on levels of self‐reported mastery and motivation for proactive law enforcement for 272 police officers…

Abstract

This study examines the impact of perceived community alienation on levels of self‐reported mastery and motivation for proactive law enforcement for 272 police officers from 11 law enforcement agencies in a large Southeast Michigan County. Also, it investigates the impact of three highly publicized “anti‐police” judicial verdicts (i.e. Rodney King, Malice Green, and O.J. Simpson) on the predicted alienation‐mastery‐proactive enforcement relationship. Results support the study’s major hypothesis that, as officers’ perceived level of alienation increases, they will report less mastery, and express less willingness for proactive enforcement efforts. One regression model confirms the study’s second hypothesis that the inverse relationship between alienation and motivation for proactive enforcement increases significantly following the “anti‐police” judicial verdicts.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Thomas Andersson and Stefan Tengblad

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how new public management (NPM) reform from the national level is implemented as practice in a local unit within the police

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how new public management (NPM) reform from the national level is implemented as practice in a local unit within the police sector in Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative case‐study approach is applied using semi‐structured interviews, participant observations and analysis of documents.

Findings

The paper illustrates different kinds of resistance at the organizational level. The dominant form of resistance was found to be cultural distancing. The paper demonstrates a tendency among police officers to deal with a changing and more complex work context by embracing a traditional work role.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that reforms that add complexity may fail because of potential contradictions and the limited capacity and motivation of employees to deal with the complexity in the manner prescribed by NPM.

Practical implications

The paper shows that the popular trend to adopt multi‐dimensional forms of control (for instance the balanced‐scorecard approach) may fail if there is a lack of consensus about what goals and measurement are important and/or there is a lack of dialogue about how the new goals should be implemented in practice.

Originality/value

Research about NPM‐reforms in the police sector is rare. The original contribution of this paper is to study NPM‐reforms with a focus on the role of complexity in relation to resistance.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 6 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Kelly Amy Hine, Louise E. Porter and Janet Ransley

This paper explores the applicability of environmental theories to understanding patterns of police misconduct. In turn, it aims to offer a method for identifying…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the applicability of environmental theories to understanding patterns of police misconduct. In turn, it aims to offer a method for identifying prevention techniques that can be practically applied by policing agencies.

Design/methodology/approach

The study empirically examined 84 substantiated matters of police misconduct in Queensland, Australia. The matters were content-analysed for elements of the first level of the crime triangle. These elements were then analysed to identify their relationships with the situational precipitators that initiated the misconduct; proactive misconduct and situational misconduct.

Findings

The two types of initiating misconduct had differing relationships with the crime triangle elements. Therefore, specific prevention techniques can be tailored by policing agencies to address and prevent each type of misconduct more successfully. The paper discusses these findings in terms of preventative measures according to the second preventative level of the crime triangle and situational crime prevention techniques.

Originality/value

This paper provides an alternative approach to understanding and preventing police misconduct by exploring the applicability of environmental theories. It finds that environmental theories offer a feasible approach for policing agencies to understand and tailor prevention of police misconduct in their jurisdictions.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Blair J. Berkley and John R. Thayer

Entertainment is now the largest trend in retailing and urban redevelopment, and is credited with revitalizing many downtowns. Consequently, many other cities are…

Abstract

Entertainment is now the largest trend in retailing and urban redevelopment, and is credited with revitalizing many downtowns. Consequently, many other cities are attempting to replicate this success by developing pedestrian‐oriented entertainment districts consisting of movie theaters, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and retail shopping. This paper summarizes the results of 30 police‐manager interviews and a nationwide survey used to identify entertainment‐district features that create problems and demands for police resources, and effective strategies and tactics for policing entertainment districts. The most effective policing is done at the district planning and design stage by engineering out features that cause problems. Good entertainment‐district policing then requires continuous training and education of business managers and private security personnel. Finally, night‐time district patrol requires a multi‐prong effort to pre‐empt problems and assure public safety.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Kenneth J. Novak, Brad W. Smith and James Frank

Shaping and monitoring the behavior of street‐level officers has continued to be a difficult task for police managers, and this task may prove to be more difficult as…

Abstract

Shaping and monitoring the behavior of street‐level officers has continued to be a difficult task for police managers, and this task may prove to be more difficult as modern departments increasingly rely on proactive law enforcement for the delivery of police services. A popular method to shape police behavior is holding officers, departments and municipalities civilly liable for street‐level behavior. While it may be assumed fear of civil litigation influences the manner in which the police interact with the public, there is little empirical evidence for this claim; in fact, the frequent use of civil liability claims is poised to have an unanticipated side effect on contemporary policing. Officers may engage in fewer proactive law enforcement activities as a way to insulate them from litigation. This study examines whether experience with and attitudes toward civil liability influence the behavior of police officers, with particular attention on officer propensity to make arrests, use force, conduct searches and initiate encounters with suspects. Multivariate results indicate attitudes toward civil liability are weak and inconsistent predictors of behavior.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

Leonie Howe

This paper addresses the issue of deaths in police custody. The role and effects of ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’ policing in addressing suicidal and non‐suicidal deaths is…

Abstract

This paper addresses the issue of deaths in police custody. The role and effects of ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’ policing in addressing suicidal and non‐suicidal deaths is considered. Failings in the training and public accountability of police services and forensic medical examiners are discussed. Some of the past failings, it is argued, seem set to continue in the face of the Secrecy Bill (1999).

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

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Book part
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Michael McCahill

This chapter aims to make a contribution to recent debates on the ‘governance of security’ (Johnston & Shearing, 2003) by drawing upon empirical research conducted by the…

Abstract

This chapter aims to make a contribution to recent debates on the ‘governance of security’ (Johnston & Shearing, 2003) by drawing upon empirical research conducted by the author and other writers on ‘plural policing’ and the construction of closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance networks. The chapter attempts to avoid the tendency in some of the ‘governmentality’ literature to ‘airbrush out the state’ (Hughes, 2007, p. 184), whilst at the same time showing that the aims and intentions of dominant state forces and elites are not always realised in practice. The chapter also tries to avoid any simplistic notion of a shift in policing strategies from ‘crime fighting’ to ‘risk management’. The aim instead is to show how the construction of surveillance networks is blurring the boundaries of the ‘public–private’ divide along the ‘sectoral’, ‘geographical’, ‘spatial’, ‘legal’ and ‘functional’ dimensions (Jones & Newburn, 1998), giving rise to a plural policing continuum.

Details

Surveillance and Governance: Crime Control and Beyond
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1416-4

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