Third Party Policing

Another little discussed police doctrine is “third party policing” that has been around for quite some time and described as a major shift in contemporary crime control practices. The purpose of it is to shift policing to new state where ” regulation becomes a layered web, with strands contributed by public agencies, professional and community organisations and individuals, and increasingly international organisations as part of globalised regulatory networks (Braithwaite & Drahos 2000). In essence it’s a global network of police informants where person has no choice, but to comply or else. Maybe snitch is not a right word – if it’s a new norm of forced public duty.

Buerger and Mazerolle (1998) first described the nascent doctrine of third-party policing as: police efforts to convince or coerce non-offending persons to take actions which are outside the scope of their routine activities, and that are designed to indirectly minimize disorder caused by other persons, or reduce the possibility that crime may occur. Though the ultimate target of police action remains a population of actual and potential offenders, the proximate target of third-party policing is an intermediate class of non offending persons who are thought to have some power over the offenders’ primary environment. The police use coercion to create place-guardianship that was previously absent, in order to decrease crime and disorder opportunities.

The new regulatory state necessarily affects the policing of crime and social order as a fundamental function of government. Garland (1996) suggests that contemporary governments have sought to re-define their responsibilities in relation to the control of crime by shifting the onus beyond state agencies onto the organisations, institutions and individuals of civil society. The most immediately noticeable effect has been the shift from state dominated policing to the situation where most developed economies have more private than state police (Shearing & Stenning 1987), with the private security market in Australia at least double the size of the public police (Prenzler & King 2002). As private security guards replace police in public and private buildings, community centres, even public space, and as private prison administration proliferates, the role of the state increasingly becomes one of regulating standards rather than actually performing most policing and criminal justice functions.

One logical conclusion of this trend sees the state as putting criminal justice out to competitive tender, with police services competing with private security, local government, community agencies and other bidders for contracted functions. The end result is a ‘…reconstitution of policing as a mechanism of governance oriented to the management of conduct across civil society, and the advent of a loosely coupled network of policing agencies’ (Loader 2000: 333–4) and a partial shift in the control of policing away from the state towards political subcentres (Shearing, 1996). Ericson and Haggerty (1997) describe the impact of compliance-based regulatory enforcement on police as a transformation, centred on the role of police as information brokers, the dissemination of police intelligence becoming a primary form of social control. That is, the function of police becomes essentially one of intelligence-gathering, analysis, and distribution to other agencies and individuals with a capacity to take further action.  (local copy) (local copy)

You should read above documents to get accustomed with doctrine. Even though these are academics talking they do give a many examples of how to coerce individuals and politicians and also theorize about circumventing the law or making it fit into this new proposed social order under ongoing implementation. It puts a lot of things in perspective organized stalking paradigm would fit quite well in third party policing doctrine as preventive and punitive measure.


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