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Transformation of Policing: From Ratios to Rationalities

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2013 Pages: 74-93
Adam White; Martin Gill
Date Published
January 2013
20 pages
This study critiques the transformation thesis.
A prominent feature of academic and popular writing about policing is the 'transformation' thesis: the contention that, as the ratio of private security to police actors increases in a policing system, the orientation of the system shifts from the public good to the market. The purpose of this article is to critique this thesis. Instead of analyzing transformation using the ratio heuristic, it focuses on the everyday rationalities guiding policing actors. Applying this perspective to the British case, it argues that, rather than witnessing a marked shift towards the market, one is in fact seeing a complex blurring of identities, with both private security and police actors drawing upon a mix of public good and market rationalities to inform their actions. (Published Abstract)