When people witness occasions when police use their powers to investigate crime and arrest offenders, how do those members of the public assess what they have seen? This book reports research in which a variety of groups from the West Midlands watched short video-clips of such real-life incidents and then discussed their appraisal amongst themselves. What emerges from those discussions is that the practice of policing is deeply controversial. On most issues, group members were divided and strongly, often passionately arguing their case. There was no 'blank cheque' for the police, neither was there unremitting criticism, even though some of groups comprised young offenders or the homeless. People worried about whether or not the police on the video-clips had justification for their suspicions; how they managed situations to prevent them getting out of hand; and whether any use of force was justified.
Allowing the reader to 'hear the voices' of dissension that were analysed, the authors present implications which are profound for the police and for all those who are policed - suspects, victims, bystanders, and the public at large - as well as practical proposals for police officers and police governance.
P A J Waddington is Professor of Social Policy and Honorary Director of the Central Institute for the Study of Public Protection at the University of Wolverhampton. He has over 30 years of academic research and is the initiator of the BSc(Hons) Policing degree. He began his working life as a police officer in Birmingham, before embarking on an academic career where he continued his interest in policing and has been a prominent author of nine books and numerous articles. This latest book is based on research commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council. Martin Wright, is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Canterbury Centre for Policing Research. He is a retired police officer and previously worked at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the Managing Editor of the journal, 'Policing: A Journal of Policy & Practice' published by Oxford University Press. Tim Newburn is Professor of Criminology and Social Policy at the London School of Economics. Prior to joining LSE, he was Director of the Public Policy Research Unit at Goldsmiths College from 1997, having previously worked at the Policy Studies Institute, the National Institute for Social Work, the Home Office and Leicester University. He is the author or editor of over 30 books, including Private Security and Public Policing with Trevor Jones (Oxford University press, 1998). Dr Kate Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Wolverhampton. She teaches in the areas of introductory criminology and sex work - one of her specialist research areas - and, together with Professor Kate Moss and Pram Singh, she is involved with an EU funded study into women rough sleepers who suffer violence. She is also currently the Executive Secretary of the British Society of Criminology.