"INTERNET LAW BOOK REVIEWS" Provided by Rob Jerrard LLM LLM (London)

University of Toronto Press

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Title: Fair Cop: Learning The Art of Policing

Authors: Janet BL Chan with Chris Devery and Sally Doran


Publishers: University of Toronto

Price:  £45 (Paperback £20)

Publication Date: April 2003

This study was funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Collaborative Research Grant (1995-7) as a joint venture between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the New South Wales Police Service (NSWPS), with Janet Chan as the chief investigator and Chris Devery as the chief collaborator. The success of the grant application was due partly to the support and assistance of the then assistant commissioner, Jeff Jarratt of the NSWPS, the then dean of studies at the NSW Police Academy, David Bradley, and the then Director of the UNSW Research Office, Merrilee Robb.

Many people in the NSW Police Service contributed to the success of this study.

Police forces around the world have been undergoing major social and organisational changes in recent years.  In this unique longitudinal study, Janet Chan, Chris Devery and Sally Doran analyse the complexity of police socialisation in response to changing conditions.  Following 150 new police recruits through two years of training and apprenticeship, the authors question the traditional model of socialisation that assumes a degree of stability and homogeneity in the organisational culture.  They suggest that recruits’ developmental paths are often quite diverse and the overall police culture is increasingly subject to change.

Drawing on interviews, observations and questionnaires, the authors depict the complex processes by which recruits adapt, redefine, cope with and make sense of the positive and negative aspects of their training and apprenticeship. Bringing together rigorous quantitative analysis with rich ethnographic description, Fair Cop provides new empirical data and theoretical understanding, regarding change and the reproduction of police culture.  

JANET BL CHAN is a professor in the School of Social Science and Policy at the University of New South Wales.

CHRIS DEVERY teaches at New South Wales Police College.

SALLY DORAN is a research assistant at the School of Social Science and Policy at the University of New South Wales.

Title: The New Parapolice

Edition: 1st

Author: George S Rigakos

ISBN:  0802035620

Publishers University of Toronto Press

Price: £42      

Publication Date: 2003

Policing in a capitalist economy is run on both state and private levels. Much existing literature on private policing assumes that the private sector is oriented almost exclusively towards loss prevention, and does not fulfil a crime-control function. In this carefully researched study, George Rigakos considers the increasingly important role of the 'parapolice' in the maintenance of social order. He argues that for-profit policing companies adopt many of the tactics and functions of the public police, and are less distinguishable from the latter than has been previously assumed in the criminological literature.

Rigakos conducted a detailed ethnographic and statistical case study of Intelligarde International - a well-known Canadian security firm - and uses his results to investigate the following: How are discipline and surveillance achieved organizationally and commodified as 'product'? How do security agents themselves, and those they police, resist social control?

This work offers wide-ranging theoretical implications, drawing on Foucauldian concepts such as risk, surveillance, and governmentality, and on Marxian formulations of commodity and aesthetic production. The first criminological ethnography of a contract security firm in Canada, this book will be of interest to criminologists, sociologists, lawyers, and policy-makers and to any non-academic reader with an interest in the experience of those employed in the parapolice.

George S. Rigakos is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

Praise for The New Parapolice:

"A pioneering observational study of private police and an original theoretical analysis of the profound transformations of policing in contemporary societies" - Robert Reiner, Professor of Criminology, Department of Law, London School of Economics

"This book breaks new ground in our struggle to understand how social control has become an increasingly sought after commodity in contemporary societies. Offering a sophisticated account of the political, economic and cultural forces at work in creating the "parapolice," Rigakos helps to deconstruct how threats, markets and organizational dynamics have reshaped the way we understand and respond to crime. Rigakos's analysis should prove especially valuable in mapping the new directions that social control will take in response to emerging threats, both real and imagined." - Steven Spitzer, Department of Sociology, Suffolk University

"The research which George Rigakos reports in this study is both significant and timely. It is the most substantial ethnographic study of a contract private security company yet undertaken, which both updates and expands our understanding of the role and significance of such private policing providers, and their implications for the rapidly evolving character of urban policing in North America. His analysis and conclusions about these "new parapolice" are both interesting and important, and should be required reading for anyone with responsibility for, or simply an interest in, policing policy." - Philip Stenning, Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto


‘The New Parapolice’ is an analytical discussion concentrating on two research questions: ‘how is discipline and surveillance achieved organisationally and sold externally to risk markets?’ And ‘how do security agents and those they are tasked with policing resist social control? (Rigakos, 2002:29).  The author balances the discussion with an ethnographic and statistical account of a micro-level analysis of a private security firm - Intelligrade International – with its macro-level implications.  Its implications are drawn from a political, social and theoretical perspective to consider the role of para-policing in the development and maintenance of social order.

The book essentially comprises of four interwoven themes, validated by the author to provide a succinct debate to the abovementioned research questions.  These are: the development and current status of risk markets from a Marxian and Foucauldian viewpoint, the emergence of a risk society and the commodification of private and public policing sectors.

The origins of a risk market are discussed in relation to the Marxian perspective and the inherent shift in the modes of production from feudalism to capitalism.  The latter stage is characterised by high levels of exploitation and alienation by the Bourgeoisie to maintain control over the Proletariat.  Rigakos (2002) maintains that as a capitalist society witnessed the expansion of wage labour and private property, it called for a shift in policing.  The birth of private policing became a means to protect private property, driven by profit/economic growth in a capitalist mode of production expanded as a commodified product.  However, Rigakos (2002) aptly argues that a Marxian theory cannot adequately explain private policing as a commodified entity.  The author provides an account of the Foucauldian position to elucidate the aforementioned notion.  In this instance, the risk market becomes a production of knowledge based on surveillance undertaken by private police officers to generate information about dangerous populations.  Once known, social control becomes a commodified body, generated by fear and sold through a risk market.  It epitomises the key element of Foucault’s theories based on the interrelationship between power-knowledge (see: 1967; 1973; 1977).

The social progression and growth of private policing has created a competitive market between private and public police firms.  In parallel to the competitive market, societal demands for changing security needs have translated ‘…the public private distinction meaningless’ (Rigakos, 2002:48).  It has created a market based on the     notion of a risk society is generated through the categorisation of the population into different groups.  In its core, it is essentially embroiled within Marxist thinking.  It becomes a political focal point in which surveillance and discipline highlight known individuals for the maintenance of social order.  The micro-level analysis of Intelligrade International reveals that the provision of social order centres upon the homeless.  The creation of a risk market and the ensuing development of a risk society, leads to the commodification of the policing industry.

The commodification of private policing inherently occurs through its ability to sell its method of surveillance.  In effect, the product can be sold toward either the public consumer or new recruits.  For the public consumer, the establishment of a system of surveillance for order maintenance becomes its business to sell to the risk markets.  It can be heightened further through technological innovations.  Rigakos (2002) considers that the advent of technological modernization such as CCTV and satellite systems has resulted in not only consumers being subjected to continuous monitoring but also Intelligrade employees (Deister systems).  It is in a similar vein to the panoptic vision imagined by Bentham (1843).  However, the author extends this ideal to the arrival of a hyper-panoptic society existing within a simulated environment by drawing upon the works of Baudrillard (1983).  The perpetual state of surveillance and monitoring becomes a commodity to be bought within a society premised upon the notion of risk.    

In evaluation, ‘The New Parapolice’ is a well-researched and concise discussion as to the role of para-policing in the development and maintenance of social order.  It succeeds in translating political, social and theoretical perspectives into a valid debate on the consumerism of a risk society, without losing sight of the book’s overall research objectives.  The author also has the capacity to identify the problematic nature of the research, juxtaposed with a commentary as to why various issues were not developed further.  The sole cause for concern is that the author could have called upon the works of Max Weber (1864-1920) to heighten the reader’s understanding of the subject matter of organisation, management and control.  In addition, the Weberian perspective could have also provided an alternative argument to a Marxian view in respect of economic actions being governed on market calculations (Weber, 1968).  Nevertheless, ‘The New Parapolice’ is an interesting text with a solid theoretical foundation that is highly relevant at a time when private policing firms are expanding and increasing at a phenomenal rate.             


Baudrillard J (1983) Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e).

Bentham J  (1843) ‘Panoptican, or, the Inspection-House’ cited in: McLaughlin E, Muncie J, and Hughes G (2003) Criminological Perspectives: Essential Readings (2nd Edition).  London:Sage Publications pp25-31.

Foucault M (1967) Madness and Civilisations.  London: Tavistock Publications Limited.

Foucault M (1973) The Birth of the Clinic.  London: Tavistock Publications Limited.

Foucault M (1977) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.  London: Allen Lane Press.

McLaughlin E, Muncie J and Hughes G (2003) Criminological Perspectives: Essential Readings (2nd Edition).  London: Sage Publications

Rigakos GS (2002) The New Parapolice: Risk Markets and Commodified Social Control.  Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

Weber M (1968) Economy and Society.  Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Faiza Qureshi

Police Powers in Canada

The Evolution and Practice of Authority

Author: Edited by R.C. Macleod and David Schneiderman

ISBN:  0802007362x

Publishers University of Toronto Press

Price:  £16.50 RRP UK paperback, HB £32.50 0802028632

Publication Date: 1994

The television spectacles of Oka and the Rodney King affair served to focus public disaffection with the police, a disaffection that has been growing for several years. In Canada, confidence in the police is at an all-time low. At the same time crime rates continue to rise. Canada now has the dubious distinction of having the second highest crime rate in the Western world.

How did this state of affairs come about? What do we want from our police? How do we achieve policing that is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? The essays in this volume set out to explore these questions. In their introduction, the editors point out that constitutional order is tied to the exercise of power by law enforcement agencies, and that if relations between the police and civil society continue to erode, the exercise of force will rise - a dangerous prospect for democratic societies.


‘Police Powers in Canada: The Evolution and Practice of Authority’ is divided into five thematic sections based on a series of conference papers.  Each part attempts to provide the reader with a discursive analysis of identifying and conceptualising problems in policing.  In turn, four solutions are offered based on technological, managerial, political and legal innovations to policing.

Part one seeks to offer a chronological framework to the development of policing and police powers by focusing upon different police organisational structures.  From the origins of the common law constable to the Royal Canadian Mountain Police, the portrayal of police evolution is juxtaposed with the consequences of industrialisation and urbanisation.  It is considered in parallel to the political and legal ramifications of police change at the social and organisational level.  It provides a well-informed, balanced and succinct discussion to the origins of each different policing structure by drawing upon influences from Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.  However, Chapter 1 undermines the discussion.  It offers a six-page argument refuting the contribution of the Fieldings’ to policing.  By resting so heavily on this premise, it loses focus of its intention to ‘retrieve exemplary evidence for the constable’s historical identity’ (Guth, cited in Macleod and Schneiderman, 1994:3/4).

‘Police Powers and Citizens’ Rights’ considers the influence of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in all stages of the criminal justice system from police stops, arrests and interrogations through to trial.  It is viewed in relation to its effect on civil liberties.  It is primarily examined through the role of the judiciary in interpreting the Charter.  It leads to a discussion of the reformation of criminal law through attempts to enact one coherent criminal code.  It provides an impartial debate, supported by case law, as to whether the reform is a role for the Courts or Parliament.  In spite of this, the discussion is weakened by the overstated use of hypothetical scenarios (see Chapter 4), which only succeeds in offering a repetitive perspective to the reader. 

Part three draws attention to the issue of minority representation with the police organisation.  It sets a political/socio-economic tone of describing relations between police and Aborigines.  The basis of the argument assesses reasons as to why the police organisation has remained highly static in comparison to a rapidly changing and diverse society.  It is supplemented with pinpointing key initiatives arising from existing research and evaluating them alongside their apparent success and inherent failures.  It concentrates heavily on the issue of recruitment and by doing so provides a distorted portrayal of the subject.  It fails to provide the reader with a concise account of the complexities surrounding the interrelationship between recruitment and retention of minority group police officers (Scarman, 1981; Christopher Commission, 1991; Chan, 1997; Macpherson Report, 1999).         

  The concerns raised in the discussion entitled ‘Police and Politics’ concentrates on demonstrating the sophistication of attempting to distinguish the role of the police from political affairs.  Stenning (Chapter 11) provides a historical perspective of the debate from its UK origins to its influence in Canadian society.  It is contested in relation to case law, Acts of Parliament and key events in Canadian history, yet also viewed in parallel to the philosophical details for police powers and citizens’ rights derived from Rawls’ ‘theory on a democratic criminal justice system’.  The argument raised by Smith (Chapter 10) assumes that the reader is fully aware of political concepts such as ‘federalism’ (p.187).  In this manner, it only offers the reader a perplexing account of the issues at stake.    

The final section of the book offers a glance into impediments within policing by examining police organisations in Montreal and Edmonton.  The Oka crisis is analysed to provide an insight into the political and financial constraints of police accountability that can arise in crisis situations at all levels of the organisation.  However, the discussion by Braiden (Chapter 13) offers a police officer’s perspective to the debate.  The author draws upon a diverse range of allegories from Greek philosophy through to English literature to provide a clear and concise account of the failings of the police organisation.  It is juxtaposed alongside the concern of providing an effective implementation strategy to alter the organisation, based on active leadership skills and qualities necessary to do so.

‘Police Powers in Canada’ offers the reader an effective and concise discussion on the evolution of policing.  It is a succinct account, which draws upon complimentary perspectives of police issues on an international level.  Each thematic section seeks to provide the reader with a balanced argument of the subject in question.  It is achieved through the use of a diverse range of sources from case law to key events in Canadian history, to exemplify the problem and its scope for potential reform.

Faiza Qureshi


·         "Internet Law Book Reviews" Copyright Rob Jerrard 2009