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Title: The geographies of policing : a case-study in South Wales
Author: Henderson, J. R.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2000
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Following on from geography of crime studies, the thesis investigated the spatial aspects of policing, using a participant observational methodology. Conceiving the police as both labellers and shapers of space, the project explored how the policy construct knowledge of the city, identified police spatial constructions and also investigated the influential factors of police action. It was discovered that 'local knowledge' was primarily built up from personal experience and differed greatly between officers working in other roles due to their different experiences with the public. Due to a culture of limited communication, the officers tended to be reliant on informal flows of information to gain 'common knowledge'. The policy officers divided the city primarily between residential areas and public areas. Significant residential areas were labelled as 'problem estates' and/or 'vulnerable communities'. The officers distinguished public space by the different users of that space, conceiving areas which were used in a disorderly way as 'trouble spots' and labelling places which were used in a conflicting manner as 'vulnerable spots'. The shift supervisors had considerable influence over where the officers patrolled, sometimes instructing them to patrol certain 'law-abiding' streets in an attempt to reduce the public's fear of crime. Police management also determined the style of policing at particular police stations. However, most of the constables had substantial freedom to concentrate their patrolling time in, what they viewed were, significant communities and public places, the primary aim being 'to observe' - to detect crime and disorder. The officers' discretion also allowed the spatial-temporal context of an incident to be an influential determinant of police intervention. By deciding whether a behaviour was acceptable in time and place, the police officers had a significant impact upon the meanings attached to space.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available