Civilian policing, legitimacy and vigilantism: Findings from three case studies in England and Wales
The growth of civilian policing is indicative of public concerns regarding crime, community safety and the performance of the police, along with the recognition of the need for communities to engage in reducing crime and disorder. This paper examines three examples of ‘civilian policing’, including two ‘Street Watch’ schemes and a private security firm. It explores the legitimisation of civilian policing schemes by the police, along with the extent of public support and the impact upon crime reduction. Two of the case studies demonstrate the difficulties for the police in legitimising schemes that engage in the use of or threat of violence and what could be termed ‘vigilantism’. Such activities can clearly undermine the legitimacy of the police, and more specifically the ideals of community policing.
Citation:Sharp, D., Atherton, S. and Williams, K. (2008) Civilian policing, legitimacy and vigilantism: Findings from three case studies in England and Wales. Policing and Society, 18 (3), pp. 245-257
Research Group:Criminal Justice, Policy and Practice