Forms of policing and the politics of law enforcement : a critical analysis of policing in a Merseyside working class community
This study examines the role and development of contemporary policing within the context of the social, political and economic conditions of late capitalism. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part 1 (FORMS OF POLICING THE WORKING CLASS) seeks to provide historical illustration and analysis of the development of the class role of the police under capitalism, its inherent para-militarism and some of the key events and processes which have determined its formal development. The analysis examines the development of preventive policing under early capitalism, and its transformation into reactive forms of policing under late capitalism. Part 2 (POLICING KNOWSLEY) centres on a study of the contemporary events and processes underlying the development and impact of reactive forms of policing on Merseyside working class communities. It examines the factors which have played key roles in shaping police organisation and law enforcement policies at Force, Divisional and Sub-Divisional levels. These factors, such as the development of corporate organisation, the centralisation and expansion of forces, the development of mobile patrols, deteriorating social conditions, greater use of coercion, specialisation in operations and administration, the introduction of new communication and computer systems, and the reactionary ideologies underlying the law enforcement policies of senior police command, are given particular consideration in relation to their development and impact on the Knowsley Borough area of Merseyside. Part 3 (THE POLITICS OF LATE ENFORCEMENT IN THE 1980's) examines the extent of the political autonomy of the police from central and local government. The analysis develops firstly a study on police power and privilege, centred on the inquest in Knowsley into the death of James Kelly at Huyton Police Station. This is then followed by analysis of the confrontations and conciliations between Merseyside Police Committee and the Chief Constable, arising out of 'K' Division incidents of 1979 and the anti-police riots of 1981. Central to the politics of law enforcement in the 1980's has been the development of new reactive forms of policing the daily lives of working class communities, and the formation of a nationally centralised and politically autonomous para-military third ford. Part 3 concludes by situating these developments within the wider social, political and economic conditions of late capitalism in Britain.