"INTERNET LAW BOOK REVIEWS", Provided by Rob Jerrard

Willan Publications Ltd

·         E-Mail Rob Jerrard for the address to forward books you wish to have reviewed

Young Men in Prison

Edition: 1st

Author: Joel Harvey

ISBN: ISBN-10 1-843922-03-7 ISBN-13: 978-1-84392-203-2

Publishers: Willan

Price £35

Publication Date: November 2006

This book examines how young men between the ages of 18 and 21 make the transition to prison life and how they adapt practically, socially and psychologically. Based on extensive research in Feltham Young Offenders Institution, this book examines in particular the role of social support, both inside and outside prison, in relation to their adaptation, along with the constructs of trust, locus of control, and safety. It concentrates both on the successful adaptation to prison life and on the experience of individuals who have difficulties in adapting; it pays special attention to those who harm themselves whilst in prison. It is the first study to provide an in-depth account of the psycho-social experience of imprisonment for young adults. Understanding this early stage of imprisonment is of major importance to policy makers and practitioners in the light of the fact that up to a half of completed suicides occur within the first month in prison.

1 Introduction
2 The transition into prison
3 Adaptation to prison life
4 Supportive transactions between staff and prisoners
5 Peer interactions and relationships in prison
6 Self-harm among young adults in prison
7 Transition, adaptation and attachment

Murder, Social and historical approaches to understanding murder and murderers

Crime and Society Series - Series editor: Hazel Croall, Glasgow Caledonian University

Edition: 1st

Author: Shani D’Cruze, Sandra Walklate and Samantha Pegg

ISBN: 1843921693

Publishers: Willan

Price £17.99

Publication Date: April 2006

Publisher’s Title Information

This book seeks to unravel the issues associated with the crime of murder, providing a highly accessible account of the subject for people coming to it for the first time. It uses detailed case studies as a way of exemplifying and exploring more general questions of socio-cultural responses to murder and their explanation. It incorporates a historical perspective which both provides some fascinating examples from the past and enables readers to gain a vision of what has changed and what has remained the same within those socio-cultural responses to murder.

The book also embraces questions of race and gender (particularly cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity on the one hand, and the social processes of 'forgetting and remembering' in the context of particular crimes on the other. Particular murders analysed included those of Myra Hindley, Harold Shipman and the Bulger murder.

Highly readable account of the crime of murder and the issues associated with it

Use of case studies, including Hindley, Bulger and Shipman

Includes historical perspective

1 Cataloguing murder
2 Devils and demons: the social construction
of murder and murderers
3 Murderous women
4 Murderous children
5 Murderous men: intimate and domestic killings
6 Murderous men: killing acquaintances and strangers
7 Conclusion: rendering them pathological

Alcohol and Crime

Edition: 1st

Author: Gavin Dingwall

ISBN: 1-84392-167-7

Publishers: Willan

Price £35 HB

Publication Date: Nov 2005

Alcohol is massively associated with crime. Evidence from the British Medical Association found that alcohol use is associated with 60-70 per cent of murders, 70 per cent of stabbings, 50 per cent of fights or assaults in the home. For non-violent offences the association is very strong as well: 88 per cent of those arrested for criminal damage, 83 per cent for breach of the peace, 41 per cent for theft and 26 per cent for burglary, had drunk in the four hours prior to their arrest. At the same time there has been intense concern about public drunkenness in town and city centres, especially on the part of young people, and the cost and damage this causes.
This book seeks to understand the nature of the connection between alcohol and crime, and the way the criminal justice system responds to the problem, providing a clear and accessible account and analysis of the subject. It draws upon a wide range of sources and research findings, and also sets the subject within a broader comparative context. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, and includes a sociological account of the role of alcohol in British society, a criminological analysis of the link between alcohol and crime and a philosophical consideration of individual responsibility for harm caused whilst intoxicated, and a legal analysis of different approaches that can be adopted as a response to alcohol-related offending.

Strong association between alcohol and crime and a key focus of government policy
Accessible and comprehensive account of the subject

Shows the way in which the criminal justice system seeks to deal with the problem and assesses recent government policy initiatives


1 Alcohol and society
2 Alcohol use and crime
3 Explaining the frequent co-existence
4 Crime prevention and policing
5 Intoxication and criminal responsibility
6 Sentencing the intoxicated offender
7 Conclusion: addressing the problem

This is book is timely in view of the new licensing laws and the recent media coverage of the alleged anti-social element surrounding alcohol.

Chapter 1 sets the scene well with current trends and concerns, as well as historical and international context. I was impressed with the balanced views showing that there are some positive aspects of alcohol as well as numerous negatives.

On a personal point this book and in numerous others, nobody tackles the difficult question of what is ‘being drunk’? Everybody uses the phrase but what, in law, does it mean? 

I enjoyed the debate on page 25 on the issue that concerns statisticians.  Would an offence have been committed, whether a person had consumed alcohol or not?  I wonder whether this has been considered vis a vis the drugs statistics.  I was fascinated that the author has analysed this issue and discusses whether the consumption of alcohol reduces the possibility of crime being committed.  The chapter goes on to illustrate some American research, which shows the difficulty in this field by other factors such as drugs, depression, social conditions, gender etc.       

On page 50 there is a statement that alcohol is a stimulant.  It must be remembered that generally alcohol is a depressant.  The sentence does go on, but the lingering thought is that alcohol is a stimulant, which is not strictly correct.

At times in this book it appears that there is contradictory evidence as to whether alcohol leads to aggression, depending on the methodology used.

At the bottom of page 57 we are again reminded of the difficulty surrounding the issue of what is "drunk". Several other phrases have been used throughout this book and others like "under the influence", "having consumed alcohol", "blood alcohol concentration" but without understanding what this is, most research is of little value. 

I enjoyed the section on crime prevention and the mention of two strategies, Zero Tolerance and Problem Orientated Policing, but no mention of displacement when initiatives are put in isolation.

I felt the section on intoxication and criminal responsibility was very relevant and thought-provoking and I enjoyed this section.

The chapter on sentencing was either an example of the author using a crystal ball or a precursor to the current debate or argument between the judiciary and the government, over sentencing in the Courts of the United Kingdom. There has always been a debate about sentencing but to include the difficult area of whether the sentence should be increased or even decreased, because of a degree of intoxication, is one that I am glad that others have to wrestle with and not me. The author also mentions the fact of a new offence. I have problems with this and feel that it should be dealt with within the rules we already have, but with the introduction of sentencing guidelines once we have established whether there will be an increase or a decrease for being drunk at the time of committing crime.

The conclusion goes a long way in trying to gather together all the work completed in this book.  However I would personally like to have seen more of how the author would personally like us to go forward and what he sees as the answer to the problem.

Overall, a book that should be on the shelves of those that are charged with making major decisions.

Peter Jackson  

28 June 2006

Investigative Interviewing Rights, research, regulation

Edition: 1st

Author: Edited by Tom Williamson

ISBN 1-843-92124-0

Publishers: Willan

Price £35

Publication Date: Nov 2005

The objective of this book is to review the position of investigative interviewing in a variety of different countries, with different types of criminal justice systems, and consists of chapters written by leading authorities in the field, both academics and practitioners. A wide range of often controversial questions are addressed, including issues raised by the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, The Reid model for interviewing and miscarriages of justice, the role of legislation in preventing bad practice, the effectiveness of ethical interviewing, investigative interviewing and human rights, responses to miscarriages of justice, and the likely future of investigative interviewing.
The book also makes comparisons between British and American approaches to detention without trial, and the role of confession evidence within adversarial legal systems. It also develops a set of proposals to minimise the risks of miscarriages of justice, irrespective of jurisdiction.

Notes on contributors
List of figures and tables

Part I: Developments in Rights
1 Investigative interviewing and human rights in the war on terrorism, Tom Williamson
2 Al-Qaeda-related subjects: a law enforcement perspective, Michael G. Gelles, Robert McFadden, Randy Borum andBryan Vossekuil
3 American interrogation methods in the war on terror, David Rose
4 The interrogation of terrorist suspects: the banality of torture, John J. Pearse
Part II: Developments in Research
5 The psychology of rapport: five basic rules, Michel St-Yves
6 Confessions by sex offenders, Michel St-Yves
7 The psychology of interrogations and confessions, Gisli H. Gudjonsson
8 Towards greater professionalism: minimizing miscarriages of justice, Tom Williamson
9 Will it all end in tiers? Police interviews with suspects in Britain, Andrew Griffiths and Becky Milne
10 The Reid Technique of interviewing and interrogation, Joseph P. Buckley
11 A critical appraisal of the Reid Technique, Saul M. Kassin
12 Investigative interviewing and the detection of deception, Mark G. Frank, John D. Yarborough and Paul Ekman
Part III: Developments in Regulation
13 Recovered memories, James Ost
14 Investigative interviewing: suspects' and victims' rights in balance, Robert Roy
15 Regulating police interrogation, David Dixon
16 Conclusion, Tom Williamson

Questioning Crime and Criminology

Authors: Edited by Moira Peelo & Keith Soothill

ISBN: 184392126x

Publishers: Willan

Price £16.99

Publication Date: May 2005

Publisher’s information on the Book

This is a text for criminology students designed to take them to the heart of the contradictions, confusions and blurred boundaries around the subject of crime - about what crime is, about social regulation and control, and about social responsibility.  It focuses on the key questions and issues underpinning contem­porary definitions, representations and explanations of crime.  It aims to question the platitudes and cliches surrounding public discussion of crime, by acknowl­edging the individual, social and political frameworks within which we explore crime and criminality.

At the same time Questioning Crime and Criminology seeks to explore the nature of criminology as a discipline in order to better understand the key issues explored in the book.  It assumes that for students to understand crime and criminology they need to understand the wider societal and sociological implications of all crime-related phenomena, and not just explore individual, psychological meanings.  So the key issues selected for examination are seen as essential to this wider framework which those concerned with crime need in order to interpret information about crime, as well as to make more intelligent sense of individual crimes and criminals.

The editors

Moira Peelo is Senior Honorary Research Fellow and Keith Soothill is Professor of Social Research, both in the Department of Applied Social Science, Lancaster University.

The contributors

Brian Francis, Chris Grover, Simon Holdaway, David Lyons, Fiona Measham, Moira Peelo, Mike Presdee, Keith Soothill.

Part of Editor’s Introduction

Crime is exciting.  As a society, we have a fascination with the darker side of life. Television and film are awash with cops and robbers, murders and detectives, along with the unravelling of secrets in our midst.  Robbery, prisons, courts, judges, police stations are all the stuff of television drama and serials.  Oxford and Glasgow are regularly saved from tidal waves of murder only by especially gifted and insightful detectives, while in the blighted Midsomer villages, devious criminals are detected deviously.

Criminology, by comparison, appears as a relatively dull subject in which data and theory are used to unpick all that people of 'common sense' know to be obvious truths about the state of crime in Britain and America today.  Current 'common sense' says that crime is on the increase, society is more out of control than ever before, courts do not punish offenders severely enough and that 'prison works'.  For many, 'right' and 'wrong' are perceived as obvious and a matter of rational choice; for some, offenders are seen as different to the rest of society.  Others view poverty as a direct cause of crime, while for another group, crime is a matter of socially agreed rules.  Everyone's 'common sense' is passionately held and self-evident.

Students quickly learn that criminology is a strange world.  In fact, criminology embraces several different worlds.  There is the academic world that criminology occupies just like any other academic discipline.  But it also embraces a more public world that is much more controversial.  Yet, as criminology has grown massively over recent years as a favoured undergraduate subject, it seems to have lost much of its impact in the public arena.  Unlike in the 1960s when criminologists wrote newspaper columns in national newspapers, criminologists are nowadays much more restricted to 'guest appearances' as experts on rather specific topics.  This is curious at a time when 'law and order' concerns are placed at the very top of electoral issues that governments and oppositions think will excite the interest of the voting population.  The task of the criminological enterprise is to explore and explain crime and yet criminology appears to have been largely sidelined in the public arena.

This is, in part, related to the ways in which the reality surrounding crime phenomena often turn out to be quite different once the data is explored in depth.  Long-held beliefs come under pressure.  To make matters worse, the data take some unpicking.  Analysis in criminology is complicated, often statistical and can - on occasions - appear so analytical as to have little to do with daily life.  Further, the actuality of 'crime' is, while distressing, more mundane: theft, violence, illegal killing is often much less dramatic than the extraordinary cases that make headlines or the basis for TV drama.

Criminology, sadly, is not designed to entertain, at least not in the same way as crime drama.  It is, like all academic study, intended to be a systematic framework for analysis of its main focus - in this case, crime and criminality.  Central to the study of crime is a concern with knowledge: with how we 'know' about crime, with where the information comes from and with detailed evaluation of the meanings of that knowledge.  Crime as a consumer product, crime as a real-life event and crime as a subject of study are not all always the same phenomenon.

Further, every academic discipline has controversies and conflicts that often appear to students to cloud the core issues.  However, dispute, disagreement and conflict are the fuel that drives any discipline forward.  In applied social science studies, disciplines emerge, evolve and develop through conflict; and often, rather than having clearly demarcated boundaries, 'disciplines' turn out to be groups of academics with shared interests who are in a permanent state of discussion over the supposed limits of their studies.  Our last book focused on trying to make sense of criminology (Soothill, Peelo and Taylor, 2002) and, following David Garland (2002), we see criminology as developing a specific kind of discourse about crime.  We would argue that it is a disputed discourse, and that understanding the disputes and their origins helps students of criminology to make sense of crime and criminality, as well as to make sense of criminology, in the present day.

As an applied social science discipline that has evolved, borrowed from related subjects and re-formed, criminology has also responded to dynamic changes within society over time.  New social issues take on greater or lesser importance at different points in time, and old answers fade in the face of new questions.  Hence, given that criminology has its own history of theoretical development, understanding changes both within the discipline and within the social context for criminological studies helps us to make sense of crime and criminality.

So, in this book, some of the key themes discussed relate to social history and to the history of criminology, to evaluating knowledge about crime and to testing the current boundaries of criminology.  Questions that we set out to explore included:

What is crime: how is it defined in populist politics and what, currently, constitutes 'common sense'?

History of crime and criminology: why does it matter?  How does the present echo the past?

Criminology: what makes academic knowledge different to other types of knowledge?

Criminology: what are the boundaries of criminology?  Is it becoming too narrow or too wide in its interests as an academic discipline?

The future of criminology: what is the way forward?

None of the chapters will contain all these themes, but all the chapters will contain some of them.  When understood as developing and dynamic, in relation to a changing social context, then criminology recovers some excitement.  It is certainly different to other studies and, potentially, adds greatly to understanding society and its members.  This book attempts to take you beyond the introductory level and to confront themes and questions that are crucial to developing a deeper understanding of crime and criminology.

Title: Handbook of Policing

Author: Edited by Tim Newburn

ISBN:  1-84392-019-0 (paperback) £28.50 1-84392-020-4 (hardback) £65

Publishers Willan Publishing

Publication Date: Oct 2003


1 Introduction: understanding policing - Tim Newburn

Part One: Policing in Comparative and Historical Perspective Introduction-Tim Newburn

2 Models of Policing - R I Mawby

3 Policing Before the Police - Philip Rawlings

4 The Birth and Development of the Police - Clive Emsley

5 Policing Since 1945 - Tim Newburn

Part Two: The Context of Policing Introduction -Tim Newburn

6 The Pattern of Transnational Policing - Neil Walker

7 The Pattern of Policing in the UK: policing beyond the police - Adam Crawford

8 The Police Organisation - Rob C Mawby and Alan Wright

9 Police Cultures - Janet Foster

10 Police Powers - Andrew Sanders and Richard Young

11 Policing and the Media - Robert Reiner

Part Three: Doing Policing Introduction-Tim Newburn

12 Crime Reduction and Community Safety - Simon Byrne and Ken Pease

13 Community Policing, Problem-oriented Policing and Intelligence-led Policing - Nick Tilley

14 Crime Analysis: principles and practice - Nina Cope

15 Criminal Investigation and Crime Control - Mike Maguire

16 Policing Public Order and Political Contention

- P A. J. Waddington

17 Drugs Policing - Maggie Lee and Nigel South

18 Organised and Financial Crime - Michael Levi

19 Policing and Terrorism - Mario Matassa and Tim Newburn

20 Policing Cybercrime -Yvonne Jewkes

Part Four: Themes and Debates in Policing Introduction-Tim Newburn

21 Policing Ethnic Minority Communities - Ben Bowling and Coretta Phillips

22 Gender and Policing - Frances Heidensohn

23 Policing and Ethics - Peter Neyroud

24 The Governance and Accountability of Policing - Trevor Jones

25 Leadership and Performance Management - Matt Long

26 Police and New Technologies - Janet B. L. Chan

27 Restorative Justice, Victims and the Police - Carolyn Hoyle and Richard Young

28 The Future of Policing - Tim Newburn



What they say about the Handbook of Policing

"An indispensable guide to the state of contemporary policing”.

Ian Loader, Keele University

"The most comprehensive treatment ever published on the issues facing British police in the 21 st century.  Indispensable reading for students, leaders, critics and supporters of the police”.

Professor Lawrence W Sherman, President, International Society of Criminology

"A "must have" for any serious student of policing in the UK. Thoroughly recommended”.

Professor Gloria Laycock, Director, Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, UCL

"A key resource ... provides a much-needed, comprehensive overview”.

Professor Simon Holdaway, Sheffield University

"Newburn's Handbook of Policing is a glowing testimony to the scope and depth of British policing scholarship. An extraordinary useful review of developments in policing in England and Wales”.

Professor Clifford Shearing, Australian National University.

Women in Charge, Policing, gender and leadership

Women in Charge, Policing Gender and Leadership

Author: Marisa Silvestri

ISBN: 1-84392-046-8

Publishers: Willan Publishing

Price £30.00

Publication Date: 2003

This book is a must-read for all involved and concerned with policing and its future. It will hold a special interest and fascination for women police officers everywhere who will personally relate to many of the recounted experiences and perspectives of senior female officers with a sense of déjà vu, striking chords and echoes which will resonate with their own thoughts and views on the organization. But more importantly this book should be made compulsive reading at Bramshill for all those undergoing senior and junior command courses as well as those charged with undertaking the Extended Interview process. In other words, irrespective of gender, in order to fully comprehend the current and ongoing dynamics of police management and organization it is crucial that all officers, whether in senior positions or providing the potential pool for those positions in the future, are cognizant of and understand the issues raised.  One thing is for certain, this book will quickly find its place outside police circles within the academic and research community (it is likely to be core reading on all criminology and police studies courses) as well as other organizations and agencies interested in policing styles; police professionals therefore need to be aware and informed of the issues and debates presented.

For this reviewer (and, as a former officer, one who could legitimately relate to many of the experiences) the book was accessible and easy to read portraying a realistic and vivid picture of not only modern policing in the 21st century and women’s roles within it; but tracing many of the underlying historical roots and factors that have contributed to the current prominence of equal opportunities and diversity.  As Silvestri confirms, while there has been some analysis of police leadership there are few texts on the impact of femininity and gender in this area.  In 2002 in England and Wales there were 4 female Chief Constables and 12 Assistants, 18% of the total strength were female although only 8% were represented at Inspector level or above.  Women arrived at the top at the same time as major organizational changes were realised in seismic shifts from force to service, autocracy to democracy, community policing to performance indicators and increasing central control.  Silvestri’s aim is to identify how greater feminine participation has impacted upon (and been effected by) more traditional leadership styles and what significance this has exerted upon organizational change.  The study is based on interviews with 30 female officers of Inspector level or above in 4 police areas whom she identifies using Gidden’s formula as 'knowledgeable agents.'  Twenty were from uniform divisions and 10 from CID; 17 were graduates (4 postgraduates) and all white.  Silvestri integrates their comments and critiques to excellent effort by placing them not only in the domestic context of contemporaneous policing policy and developmental initiatives but in the wider context of other professions, both public and private, and introduces a comparative perspective with international policing particularly in Australia and the USA.  The book therefore provides an excellent summary and catalogue of key inquiries and events from the Sex Discrimination Act 1971 to Sheehy and Macpherson encompassing institutional reforms as well as training and promotional change. Silvestri writes with consummate knowledge of the organization both internally and externally and, while some police readers might take issue with some of her assertions her understanding and perception commands respect.

As expected one of the main themes of the book, and one which is dealt with objectively and fairly, is the cult of masculinity both historically and in its contemporary form.  The shift from 'canteen' culture to 'performance' culture in an organization which has placed itself in a more 'liberal, gender neutral position' (p.57) has created different and more subtle types of discrimination.   No doubt reinforcing the views of many inside the force, Silvestri concludes that the hard won fight and price paid for equal recognition is a police service that has found itself hostage to the equality agenda and political correctness prompting a backlash against white males and perceptions of a lowering of standards.  Feminine perceptions (which may be no different from male ones) of the performance culture are that it makes individuals more competitive, exacerbates workloads and raises the question of 'why bother going for the next rank'. The move towards a 'softer' culture is as much a problem for female serving officers as men in that in a less confrontational, less hierarchical and less rank conscious system it can be harder to attain and maintain respect. It is argued in chapter 3 that such shifts have introduced a new form of male dominance and competitiveness where the test is not to match men in terms of practical operational delivery (being involved in public order situations or heading criminal investigations) but to become equals in terms of commitment and stamina - something that is fundamentally more difficult when women are also responsible for managing households and motherhood (despite the introduction of more flexible working practices). Another issue explored in chapter 4 which may have resonance is that most senior female officers interviewed achieved their position by 'contingency' rather than any planned career strategy. Women outperform their male counterparts in OSPRE Part II but in seeking to work their way up the ladder tend to rely more on the feminine trait of 'work hard and I’ll get noticed' and appear to benefit less from formal or informal mentoring approaches.

With regard to gendered leadership styles Silvestri distinguishes male leaders as more 'transactional' i.e. typically a more command and control approach involving a series of transactions with subordinates and identifies feminine leaders as more 'transformational' - encouraging others to share power and information and adopting a more participative style.  Women describe their struggles to be accepted into 'the male club,' how some gave up, some felt compelled to change their appearance and femininity and expressed the need to show 'muscle' not so much on the street any more but in management decisions.  Finally Silvestri asks to what extent the women who have made it to senior ranks acknowledge and recognize their individual and communal position in relation to 'gender consciousness.'  While individually they were all aware that their gender played a significant part in their role and function and many were involved in progressing equal opportunities and diversity for all, as a group Silvestri found that there was no reconciliation with any collective gender consciousness to address the underlying and subtle discrimination that still persists. Female networks are regarded with suspicion by male colleagues and the women officers themselves espoused feminism as a dirty word and those willing to speak out were reluctant in case it harmed their career. Silvestri concludes that the narratives of these 'pioneering' women officers demonstrate a positive shift in that women are now able to compete with men and win promotion but she draws some harsh conclusions that despite all the effort and structures in place to address discrimination it is still there. She argues that many of the policies and diversity programmes are flawed in that they only acknowledge the rogue individual officer whereas with racism, it is the institutional and systematic form that needs to be addressed: "The theory and practice of gender neutrality continues to cover up and obscure the underlying gendered substructure, allowing practices that perpetrate it to continue... . The police organization both embodies and disembodies its officers." (p.172).  Silvestri hints that women may face tougher challenges in the future as less promotional opportunities may be available and criticises the mantra of 'recruit and promote more women' (or other groups for that matter) as the panacea for changing culture.  She asserts that this type of  'numbers game' will not change anything especially where discriminatory practices are more insidious and offers a number of options and suggestions which should at least be publicized more widely within the organization and considered.  

Kim Stevenson

University of Plymouth 

What other people have said of the book

‘An outstanding, thoughtful and sophisticated book which makes a real contribution to our understanding of gender, leadership and change in modern policing’ Frances Heidensohn, Goldsmiths College, University of London

‘In this unique study of senior women's climb into the top echelons of policing, Marisa Silvestri also provides an in-depth look at the ‘smart macho’ culture that drives twenty-first century policing as managers adopt strategies from the business world and adapt them to the needs of public service.'

Dorothy Moses Schultz, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York

The author

Marisa Silvestri is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at London South Bank University.

Introducing Criminology

Edition: 1st

Authors: Clive Coleman (formerly University of Hull) and Clive Norris (University of Sheffield)

ISBN: 1903240093 paperback

Publishers Willan Publishing

Price:  RRP UK £15.99 Paperback, £40 Hardback

Publication Date: Oct 2000

Criminology, or the study of crime, has developed rapidly as a subject in recent years, while crime and the problem of how to respond to it have become major concerns for society as a whole. This book provides a succinct, highly readable - and much needed - introduction to criminology for those who want to learn more, whether they are already studying the subject, thinking of doing so, or just interested to discover what criminology is about.

Introducing Criminology begins by asking basic questions: what is crime? What is criminology?  Before examining the ways in which crime has been studied, and looking at the main approaches and schools of thought within criminology and how these have been developed. The authors focus particularly upon attempts to understand and explain crime by the disciplines of psychology and sociology, and consider also the impact of feminist and post modern thought on the development of the subject.

In the second part of the book the authors take three very different topics to illustrate themes raised in the first half of the book, exploring the particular issues raised by each topic, and showing how criminologists have gone about their work:

serial murder - the attempt to understand a particular type of crime

policing - key issues in the study of the criminal justice process.

CCTV -how can we tell 'what works' in crime prevention, and what are the wider issues raised by the use of CCTV


1 Introduction:

2 Offenders and non­ offenders

3 A broader vision of crime

4 Thinking seriously about serial killers

5 Criminal Justice

6 Crime prevention. social control and society: the example of surveillance and CCTV

7 Looking backwards, looking forwards, current and future developments in crime and criminology References.


Sex Crime and the Media, Sex offending and the press in a divided society
(Reviewed By Kim Stevenson)

Sex Crime and the Media: Sex Offending and the Press in a Divided Society

Author: Chris Greer

ISBN: 1-84392-004-2

Publishers: Willan Publishing, Cullompton

Price £30.00 RRP UK

Publication Date: may 2003

Reporting the ‘Reality’ of Sex Crimes

Given the public and media fascination, or rather obsession, with sex and sex crimes there is no shortage of material or reader interest for a book that seeks to analyse the newspaper reportage of such offences. On first glance, however, the title of this book is perhaps slightly misleading as the subject matter is limited to Northern Ireland and may disappoint those expecting to read about the role of the English tabloid press in relation to the outing of paedophiles, child sex abuse scandals, celebrity ‘rapes’ etc. Irrespective of geographical location Greer attempts to answer the (arguably self-evident) question common to all of why the issue of sex offending so dominates media discourses. The main theme of the book is not to simply contextualise the reportage of sex crimes within the cultural constructs of the media but to demonstrate how the conflicts between the various professionals and non-professionals involved are played out, manipulated and exploited within the medium of the press thus self-determining and constructing the news-making process. In addition the book draws in an added dimension, some may say complication, in that this is undertaken against the background of the unique religious, social and political conflict that is daily life in Northern Ireland. Greer argues that the influence of the Unionist/Nationalist agendas as promoted in the media make the reporting of sex crimes of ‘special relevance’ and of ‘special sociological interest’ (p 7). This is no doubt the case but equally valid if different justifications could arguably be made in respect of mainland coverage of certain types of sex crime.  

The book is well laid out and structured, the aim of each chapter is clearly introduced and the key points reinforced and summarised at the end. It is also easy to read and extensively referenced providing a contemporary compendium of the theory of news reporting and construction of press crime narratives. Methodologically Greer draws on two theoretical approaches – liberal pluralism and radical reading situating his thesis in between the two. In simple terms this boils down to a halfway house where the determination of the newsworthiness of any particular case may be justified in part on the basis of objective, independent professional journalism (as the journalists themselves would so perceive) and in part through the selection of those who own and control the newspapers seeking to maintain their profit margins. His empirical evidence is based on some 500 newspaper articles (covering some published in six daily and Sunday broadsheet and tabloid newspapers (including The Irish Times based in Dublin) concerning all types of sexual offences consensual and otherwise between 1985 and 1997 together with 37 interviews conducted with representatives from the criminal justice agencies and care organisations. The reports were divided into 12 categories of sex offence and then further divided into 6 reporting stages from initial report to subsequent disposal. Court reporting made up the majority of these news reports, unlike the mainland one of the limitations of the Northern Ireland press is it lack of resources to employ experienced ‘legal’ reporters and its reliance on freelance journalists less familiar with such proceedings.

The discussion is framed in the context of the political divide where the press play a key role in a society where many feel disengaged from the state and distrust its agencies – particularly the police. Unusually the Royal Ulster Constabulary are generally represented relatively sympathetically in their handling of sexual offences as compared to their dealings with politically motivated crime. This is largely due to the abhorrence that such crimes engender drawing communities and agencies together. Press independence is also tested in this environment, for example; only one newspaper reported Gerry Adams’ instruction in 1995 that the public should not report cases of child sexual abuse to the RUC but rather to Sinn Fein counsellors, highlighting the almost incomprehensible political reality of the troubles.

Greer’s disclosures of the types of sex crime stories deemed to have news value are fairly predictable i.e. those with ‘shock value’ created by the geographical and cultural proximity of the crime to the readership, the seriousness of the assault, or where the alleged offender is a well-known celebrity or local individual in a position of trust (chapter 3). As with the English press he notes significant differences between the reporting style and subject of the daily papers – mainly reports of the more serious crimes of rape, child sexual abuse and sex murder, as compared to the Sunday papers which placed more emphasis on homosexuality, prostitution and pornography where victims and offenders are less distinct. Similarly the Sunday papers concentrated more on the event than any official or public reaction to it (chapter 4). He concludes that news production aims primarily to shock and frequently "… to entertain, rather than provide useful information and inform open public debate and political debate. (p.89)

This is really stating the obvious as so too does chapter 5 in its attempt to explain the increase in press attention on sex crimes – basically sex sells and the increasing public acknowledgement of the existence and extent of child sexual abuse. But such self-evident conclusions are not really the point – the strength of the book is that it justifies and confirms academically, and to an extent theoretically, everything we have assumed about the relationship between the press and its reporting of the ‘reality’ of sex crimes. It also provides a historical record highlighting the two major sex abuse (and political) scandals in Northern Ireland concerning institutional abuse in care homes and the failure of the Catholic Church to respond to allegations against it priesthood. Almost throughout there are echoes and resonances with the English press and Greer should be encouraged to take some of the key themes and compare the Northern Ireland experience with the mainland press – an ambitious task but one which will highlight both similarities and dissimilarities.

Greer’s investigation reveals, or rather confirms, a number of key points which is the crux of his thesis and these are the issues to be aware of and consider such as the general presumption that when newspapers invoke the phrase ‘sex crime’ what they really mean is child sexual abuse. That most of the reporting was viewed in a positive light by both care organisations and professionals including the RUC CARE (Child Abuse and Rape Enquiry) unit, particularly the terms of the narrative of the article and that this has encouraged survivors and victims to come forward. The negative impacts are primarily the labelling in headlines of all sex offenders as monsters, perverts, ‘sickos’ etc (i.e. not just paedophiles but homosexual men engaged in consensual acts) and the failure to distinguish different types of sex offences. Secondly, the stereotyping and emphasis on ‘stranger danger’ attacks reinforcing the myth, particularly amongst children, that they are more at risk outside than in the home. Greer’s survey was based on cases in the 1990s and many of these factors may have been addressed or mitigated somewhat. The need for trust and understanding between the media and professional and care agencies is also highlighted – another obvious point perhaps but, for example, Greer refers to the prohibition of the use of the word incest (abolished by the Sexual Offences Act 2003) in the Press Commission’s Code of Conduct – something which, he argues, provided it is used responsibly can assist in understanding the social reality of certain sex crimes. He also destroys the myth about the extensive use of salacious and graphic sexual detail and that many journalists and editors are reluctant to include gruesome material and facts.

For all involved he concludes, responsibility for reporting the social reality of sex crime must be shared despite the understandable reluctance of agencies to participate and lack of resources within care organizations to devote time to working with the press. There is also an implicit criticism of the police (at least the RUC) in that their input was usually restricted to seeking public help in supplying information and identifying the offender whereas police media representatives rarely take the opportunity to try and promote personal safety initiatives or work proactively with other public agencies and journalists to positively exploit the press into a more educational role. Greer suggested that this could be achieved through effective formal and informal partnerships and overall his survey (though already an historic exercise which might need revisiting) is an important contribution in that formalizes and justifies much we assumed and thought – but could not necessarily prove – about the role of the press and it claims of reporting the social reality of sex crimes

Kim Stevenson

University of Plymouth  

The author Chris Greer is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Northumbria University, with particular interests in crime and media.

Superhighway Robbery, Preventing e-commerce crime

Authors: Graeme R. Newman and Ronald V. Clarke

Crime Science Series Series editor: Gloria Laycock

ISBN:  1843920182

Publishers Willan Publishing

Price:  £30 RRP UK

Publication Date: 2003

The Crime Science Series

Series editor: Gloria Laycock (Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, University College London)

The Crime Science Series is the first to be devoted to international research and practice on crime reduction. By this we mean not only the prevention of crime using the now, standard approaches offered by situational crime prevention, but also the study of detection and the development of scientific strategies and tactics aimed at increasing the repertoire available to the police and their partners - and all within an ethical framework.

There are huge gaps in our knowledge that this series aims to fill. It should prove relevant to scholars and students with an interest in crime prevention but also to the police and their criminal justice and community partners. One of the greatest challenges facing us today is to continue with the development of new goods and services, which provide yet more criminal opportunities, but to do so in ways that do not lead to inexorable increases in crime.

This book, written by two leading authorities in the field, provides a systematic analysis of the burgeoning crime opportunities offered by the internet and e-­commerce, and the ways in which concepts of crime prevention developed in other contexts can be fruitfully applied in this new environment. Their argument is that situational crime prevention works, and is ideally suited to providing the means of developing measures to combat the rapidly growing problem of e-commerce crime.

The authors seek to identify the specific opportunities and transactions in which crime can occur in the e-commerce environment, and the different kinds of information which are crime targets - identified as intellectual property, intelligence, information systems and services of various kinds (banking, purchasing, etc). Consumer products are also examined with a view to identifying the elements that make them particularly vulnerable to theft.

In response, a variety of techniques to counter e-commerce crime are identified, underpinned by seeking to increase the effort the criminal must make to carry out crime, increase the perceived risk of crime, reduce the anticipated rewards of crime, and remove excuses for the criminal.

The authors

Graeme R. Newman is Distinguished Teaching Professor at the School of Criminal Justice, University of Albany, and has written extensively in the field of comparative criminal justice, situational crime prevention and information technology;

Ronald V Clarke is University Professor at the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, and editor of Crime Prevention Studies. He is a former head of the Home Office Research and Planning Unit.

Confronting Crime:Crime control policy under New Labour

Cambridge Criminal Justice Series

Published in Association with the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

Edited by: Michael Tonry

ISBN:  1843920220

Publishers Willan Publishing

Price:  £30 RRP UK

Publication Date: 1st November 2003

From Labour's promise to be 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime' through to recent criminal justice legislation, controlling crime and reforming the criminal justice system have been amongst its key priorities. Since its election New Labour has embarked upon a root-and-branch remaking of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. This includes reorganising the criminal justice agencies, setting performance targets and goals, looking for ways to increase cost­effectiveness and efficiency, and altering the statutory framework in numerous ways.  Since 1999 there have been fundamental plans for changing the way criminal courts are organised and operate, and the ways convicted offenders are dealt with.

This book provides a detailed review of the thinking behind these new plans and legislation, looking at policies and proposals in the field of punishment, partic­ularly those embodied in the Halliday Review of the Sentencing Framework (2001), the Government White Paper Justice for All (2002), and the 2002 Criminal Justice Bill.  The contributors to the book subject to scrutiny the evidence for the 'evidence-based policy making' that is often claimed as a distinctive new feature to these processes, examining approaches to drug-dependent offenders, dangerous sex offenders, nuisance offenders, procedural and evidential protections in the courts, sentencing guidelines, sentencing management, racism in sentencing, custody plus, custody minus, and reducing the prison population.

The editor

Michael Tonry is Professor of Law and Public Policy and Director of the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of Minnesota.



Evidence, elections and ideology in the making of criminal justice policy, by Michael Tonry (University of Cambridge)

Drug-dependent offenders and Justice for All, by Mike Hough (Kings College London) and Darian Mitchell (National Probation Service)

Unprincipled sentencing? The policy approach to dangerous sex offenders, by Amanda Matravers and Gareth V Hughes (University of Cambridge)

Nuisance offenders: scoping the public policy problems, by Rod Hansen (Avon and Somerset Constabulary), Larry Bill (Avon and Somerset Constabulary) and Ken Pease (Huddersfield University)

Procedural and evidential protections in the English courts, by Nicola Padfield (University of Cambridge) and Richard Crowley (Chief Crown Prosecutor, Cambridgeshire)

Sentencing guidelines, by Neil Hutton (University of Strathclyde)

Sentence management: a new role for the judiciary? By Neil McKittrick (Circuit Judge) and Sue Rex (University of Cambridge)

Is sentencing in England and Wales institu­tionally racist? By Amanda Matravers and Michael Tonry (University of Cambridge)

Custody plus, custody minus, by Jenny Roberts (formerly chief Probation Officer, Hereford and Worcester) and Michael E.Smith (University of Wisconsin)

Reducing the prison population, by Michael Tonry (University of Cambridge)

‘Justice for All’: summary of Cambridge conference discussions, by David Green (University of Cambridge)

The contributors

Larry Bill, Richard Crowley, David Green, Rod Hansen, Mike Hough, Gareth V Hughes, Neil Hutton, Amanda Matravers, Neil McKittrick, Darian Mitchell, Nicola Padfield, Ken Pease, Sue Rex, Jenny Roberts, Michael E. Smith, Michael Tonry.

Gender and Policing, Sex, power and police culture

Author: Louise Westmarland

ISBN: 1903240700

Publishers Willan Publishing

Price:  £30 RRP UK

Publication Date: 21st Jan 2002

Gender and Policing is an innovative study of the real world of street policing and the gender issues which are a central part of this. Derived from extensive ethnographic research (involving police responses to gangland shootings, high speed car chases as well as more routine policing activities), this book examines the way police attitudes and beliefs combine to perpetuate a working culture which is dependent upon traditional conceptions of 'male' and 'female'. In doing so it challenges previously held assumptions about the way women are harassed, manipulated and constrained, focusing rather on the more subtle impact of structures and norms within police culture.

Gender and Policing will be of interest to all those concerned with questions of policing and gender, and occupational culture more generally, while the theoretical framework developed will provide an important foundation for strategies of reform. At the same time the book provides a vivid and richly textured picture of the realities of operational policing in contemporary Britain.

Louise Westmarland is a Lecturer in Criminal Justice at the Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, and taught previously at the Universities of York and Teesside. Her research and publications have focused on areas of behaviour, ethics and gender issues in policing.

Laurie Taylor says of the book -  "This is an unusually brave and insightful book. No other female researcher in this country has ever managed to get so close to the front line of operational policing and few other criminologists have done so much to reveal the complex and often unexpected relationship between masculinity and police work. It is an essential text for anyone who wishes to understand how gender influences the manner in which the police tackle day-to-day patrol work, sexual offences, and the resolution of domestic disputes"

·         "Internet Law Book Reviews" Copyright Rob Jerrard 2007