Neighbourhood policing and community safety: Researching the instabilities of the local governance of crime, disorder and security in contemporary UK

Gordon Hughes*, Michael Rowe

*Corresponding author for this work

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63 Citations (Scopus)


'Community' continues to be at the heart of political and policy discourses surrounding policing, security and community safety. While recognizing that there are powerful retrogressive and repressive elements to such contemporary debates, it is argued here that this is an unstable and contestable policy terrain and that there are opportunities to develop notions of community that offer more progressive possibilities. This article examines policy developments relating to Neighbourhood Policing and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships in Britain to explore these issues. The latter developments emphasize that community engagement and co-production are centrally important. However, it is clear that there are dangers that already identified tensions will persist. The need to meet performance targets will continue to detract from community-oriented work, unless the two coincide. Additionally cultural and institutional factors are likely to prove inimical to efforts to respond effectively to community needs. None of this ought to be taken as an argument in favour of jettisoning the idea of community, but it does mean that the participation of publics needs to be couched in broad, inclusive and often conflictual terms and understood that such efforts offer only limited guarantees in terms of establishing progressive agendas for community safety and neighbourhood policing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-346
Number of pages30
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

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