Encyclopedia of Security and Emergency Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Lauren R. Shapiro, Marie-Helen Maras

Police: Public Versus Private Policing

  • Clarissa MeertsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69891-5_86-1


Public and private initiatives to respond to disorder and crime.


Policing is a very wide, and expanding, concept. While it naturally has a strong connection with “the police” as the entity for the execution of the monopoly over legitimate use of force by the state, policing as a concept goes much further than just the actions of the public police. For example, policing may involve regulatory agencies (see, e.g., Mascini and Van Erp 2014), civilians (see, e.g., Van Steden 2009), and private security firms (see, e.g., South 1988). In this contribution, the concept of policing will be unpacked. In current society, “policing” can no longer be seen as the sole responsibility of any state actor, and so, both the public and the private side of policing are discussed.

High Versus Low Policing

Policing as a concept can be considered contested. First of all, there is a difference between high and low policing that is often not made in our day-to-day use of the concept....


Policing Public versus private Security Investigations 
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Further Reading

  1. Button, M. (2002). Private policing. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Johnston, L. (1992). The rebirth of private policing. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. van Steden, R. (2007). Privatizing policing: describing and explaining the growth of private security. Den Haag: Boom Juridische uitgevers.Google Scholar
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  5. Wood, J., & Shearing, C. (2007). Imagining security. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of law, Department of Criminal Justice and CriminologyVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands