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Title: A sense of security? : the ideology and accountability of private security officers
Author: Michael, Deborah Francis.
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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Policing in the UK is undergoing fundamental transformation. In an emerging 'mixed economy' of social control, policing has become a complex assortment of public and private inputs. As non-emergency policing has gradually shifted away from the Home Office police service monopoly, the private security industry is acquiiing a much wider role. This small-scale qualitative study provides an original insight into the ideology and accountability of 50 security officers working for three of the market leaders in the manned-guarding industry. Particular attention is paid to their attitudes towards: their role in crime control, their relationship with the police service, and their own powers and accountability. Information is also provided about the professionalism of security officers, by presenting data about guards' social backgrounds, training and general orientation to work. The research suggests that guards are primarily concerned about providing a service to the private employers who pay them, and have flmdamentally different attitudes towards their work compared to public police officers. The conclusions underline the implications of the pnvatisation of policing for social and criminal justice, indicating the emergence of forms of 'private justice' as policing is increasingly undertaken by guards without even any nominal concerns to serve the public interest. Although this might be acceptable to the neo-liberal approach that has come to dominate public policy debate in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it would be regarded as worrying by more traditional social or political perspectives whether conservative, liberal or socialist. The low levels of professionalism suggested by this data gathered from the market leaders in the security industry also raise important questions about the potential effectiveness of the guards.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Policing Law Law enforcement Prisons Sociology Human services