1st Edition

Interpreting Policework Policy and Practice in Forms of Beat Policing

By Roger Grimshaw, Tony Jefferson Copyright 1987

    In the 1980s there existed wide and often acrimonious disagreement over the purposes and objectives of police organizations, the ways in which their activities were structured, and their relations with the wider society. Interpreting policework requires a rounded conception of policing, based on both a thorough critique of the main theoretical trends in police sociology, and close familiarity with actual patterns of policing, on the streets, in the stations, and inside the police headquarters where key policies are formulated.

    Originally published in 1987, the achievement of this book is that it combines rigorous theoretical analysis with a wealth of descriptive material drawn from first-hand observation of policing and decision making at all levels, and thus relates sociological theory to practice and political debate at the time. The introduction provides a careful analysis of central theoretical and political strands in police sociology, and proposes a new general conception of policework. The authors go on to provide vivid illustrations of this conception from the worlds of uniformed unit beat patrols and resident beat officers, and from the fora in which policy for operational practice is considered. A final section draws the wider lessons of these concrete analyses for sociological theory and for our understanding of past policy shifts from one form of beatwork to another, and spells out the radical implications of the study for the political debate on the future of policing.

    Interpreting Policework thus had relevance to students and researchers in police studies, sociology, public policy and the law at the time and will still be of historical interest today. The authors are experienced researchers, practised in investigating a wide range of criminological and social control issues.

    Foreword and Acknowledgements.  Part I: Theories and Methodologies  1. Shaping a Structural Lens  Part II: The Unit Beat System  2. Patrol Report 3. Decoding the Message  Part III: The Resident Beat System  4. Working the Patch  5. A Pattern Emerges.  Conclusions to Parts II and III.  Part IV: The Policy System  Introduction to Part IV.  6. What Do We Mean by Policy?  7. The System at Work I: Meetings  8. The System at Work II: Policy Files  Part V: Conclusions  9. From the Theory to the Politics of Policework.  Appendix: Interview Schedules.  References.  Index of Names.  Index of Subjects.


    Roger Grimshaw and Tony Jefferson