Managing Suspicion and Privacy in Police Information Systems

Negotiated Work in Local Police GIS in Romania
  • Vlad Niculescu-Dinca


Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Romania in the local police station of a major city between July and August 2010, this chapter examines the mediating role of geospatial information systems (GIS) in policing practices, specifically the ways in which they help shape the decisions of local police workers in their activities in the control room of managing police forces and policing the public space. The analysis illustrates both the negotiated process of mutual shaping of technology and policing practices as well as the negotiated character of constructing suspicion in technology-mediated policing. In particular, the way in which the labour of data gathering, classifying and processing, rather than being completely standardized by new information systems, emerges out of the complex negotiations between technological systems, organizational arrangements and police officers’ situated knowledge. By examining these phenomena, the article suggests that the processes of digitalization and interoperability of public administration systems need to continually account for such aspects of socio-technical ensembles. The chapter situates itself in the strand of empirical philosophical investigations grounded in day-to-day practices and takes an actor-network theoretical position (Social Problems 35(3), 1988). The methodology pursued in gathering material for this paper follows the work of Norris and Armstrong (1999) and Dubbeld (2004) whose empirical work offers, through participant observation and interviews, an account of surveillance practices in control rooms.


Local Police Police Agent National Police Police Management Integrate Information System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seven Framework Programme (FP7 2007–2013)/Grant. No. 201853.

Besides the formal support of the DigIDeas project, the author wants to thank Irma van der Ploeg and Jason Pridmore for their guidance and useful comments as well as police staff, municipality officials and technology developers for their generous collaboration.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The DigIDeas ProjectZuyd University & Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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