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date: 22 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

A growing body of police scholarship demonstrates that, in order to explore policing fully, it is necessary to study a much wider range of policing agents. Among these, private security personnel play a particularly significant role in urban life by securing retail and leisure spaces, transportation terminals, and business parks and large residential complexes. Such activities have often been described by scholars as private policing. The expansion of private security, as detailed in this essay, can be attributed to a number of factors, including increased prosperity with more private property and consumer goods to protect, and the rise of outsourcing within the private and public sectors as organizations have found it more economic to concentrate on their core business and expertise. It is observed that, while operational policing has been largely immune from deliberate policies of privatization or commercialization, the rapid growth in demand for private security has promoted a de facto privatization of policing to varying degrees around the world, resulting in a revolution in how policing is being done. For the future of policing, as we elaborate in the essay, this presents both benefits and challenges.

Keywords: private police, public space, private security, plural policing, privatization

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