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date: 21 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Order maintenance is the police role in defining and regulating the fair use of public spaces, and it has been a central aspect of police work since the inception of modern police agencies. The confusion and ambiguity that have always surrounded it have left it vulnerable to abuse, as police have repeatedly used their order maintenance authority as a covert tool to detain suspicious and unpopular people in circumstances where doing so overtly would be forbidden. One of the most important priorities for reforming order maintenance policing today lies in the need to rein in these pretextual uses of order maintenance authority, providing patrol officers with clearer guidelines about its legitimate uses. Another involves the development and wider use of more restrained forms of police authority short of arrest, including prevention tactics, persuasion, civil penalties, and temporary detention.

Keywords: order maintenance, public space, pretext stops, alternatives to arrest

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