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Organised voluntary action in crime control and community safety: A study of citizen patrol initiatives in Northern England

Butcher, Sean Barry (2019) Organised voluntary action in crime control and community safety: A study of citizen patrol initiatives in Northern England. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Within contemporary policing and community safety discourses, citizen-led initiatives have rarely commanded the degree of attention afforded elsewhere. Typically, research has tended to focus upon state, and more recently market provision. This thesis addresses that deficit by investigating volunteer citizen patrol initiatives. It adopts an exploratory approach to conceptualise and determine the composition of patrols, and subsequently offers insights into the reasons why individuals partake in organised patrols, the nature of their activities, and how they are received by other citizens and local stakeholders. In the first half of the study, citizen patrols are defined, charted across extended historical periods, and located within the contemporary policing landscape. The second half presents the empirical findings of a qualitative study that explores three citizen patrol case studies in northern England. Data collected within these sites consisted of a total of 150 hours of participant observation and 40 semi-structured interviews, with participants, coordinators and external stakeholders. The findings indicate that despite state dominance and more recent market expansion across the policing landscape, the presence of citizen patrols illustrates a space for civil society that demonstrates continuities with the past. Participants exhibited a range of motivations for partaking and completed various activities; as responses to perceived threats, broader vulnerability, and for the purposes of information sharing. Elsewhere, a distinction emerged between those that the patrols engaged, and those that more broadly benefited. Serving the interests of the latter presented implications not only for the fair and even spread of patrol activities, but also for the delivery of policing provision more generally. Finally, the patrols were well-received by stakeholders, who connected with initiatives both strategically and operationally. There was evidence of positive relationships and collaboration, though frontline police articulated concern about their capacity to effectively support initiatives in light of reductions to personnel and resources.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Plural policing; citizen-led policing; community safety; active citizenship; volunteering
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds) > Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.797997
Depositing User: Mr Sean B Butcher
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2020 12:08
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 10:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25768

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