An environmental approach to police deviance: Exploring situational prevention possibilities using a crime triangle framework

Dr Kelly Hine1
1Australian National University , Acton, Australia

Members of the public entrust the police for safety and security, with the public largely dependent on police to uphold the law.  In order for the police to do this, we allow them to conduct their duties with discretion and substantial powers. However, this role and associated functions make them susceptible to behaviour that is deviant beyond their charter.  If police are seen as deviant, it can erode public trust and compliance with the police.  This study aimed to examine the possibility of an alternative approach to explain the causes of police deviance and suggest possible prevention techniques using environmental theories, specifically situational crime prevention.  Two research questions were asked; ‘can environmental theories help explain the problem of police deviance?’, and ‘how might situational crime prevention help in preventing or reducing police deviance?’  Fifty police misconduct cases containing 86 matters of police deviance extracted from court transcripts were content analysed for variables relating to the crime triangle elements which were then used to explore the relevance of the 25 situational crime prevention techniques. The study concludes that rational choice theory and routine activity theory can help to explain the causes of police deviance and tailor appropriate prevention strategies.  Consequently, this provides a new practical approach to contribute to the body of knowledge on reducing the problem of police deviance.


Biography:

Kelly Hine is a Lecturer at the Australian National University and a researcher with the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.  Her research centers on police-citizen interactions including the use of force by police and officer injuries.  Her research examines the decision-making process, and impediments to this process, during situations that are typically dynamic and volatile.  In addition to her research interest in front-line policing, her areas of expertise include police misconduct and police integrity.

 

The ‘Collective Impact’ of law enforcement and public health

Dr Sancia West1, Dr Isabelle Bartkowiak-Theron1, Prof Roberta Julian1
1University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Australia

There is a long history of engagement between law enforcement and public health.  Police officers are as much interventionists on the public health continuum (such as helping an intoxicated young person to a place of safety), as health practitioners are stakeholders in public safety (such as assessing the risk of a mental health patient in crisis). Yet, despite these synergies their approaches remain largely siloed.

The nexus of law enforcement and health has been at the centre of finding new ways to create better collaboration, and how to more effectively integrate service delivery. Policy makers, practitioners, academics have been conscious of situations where vulnerable people have ‘fallen through the cracks’, where vulnerabilities have been misidentified or identified too late, or where siloed delivery of support services hindered help.

Collective Impact is a model where entities come together with a shared agenda and aligned effort. Tasmania is rich with examples of such Collective Impact, where Tasmania Police have joined with the Department of Health and Human Services to address public health issues, such as the Safe At Home program to address family violence, Inter-Agency Support teams to identify youth at risk, and the Safer Hobart Community Partnership to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve public safety.  A recent survey found over 75 such examples in Tasmania, with varying degrees of coordination between police and health organisations.

This paper will explore the potential benefits, as well as the challenges, of a Collective Impact initiative in law enforcement and public health in Tasmania.


Biography:

Sancia West is an Associate Lecturer in Police Studies at the University of Tasmania and is the Course Coordinator of the Tasmania Police Professionalisation Program (TP3). The TP3 allows current serving police officers to apply prior work experience and academic study in order to complete a specialised Bachelor of Social Sciences (Police Studies). Dr West is also a Registered Nurse, with a background in health policy, providing her with perspectives on both sides of the issue of law enforcement and public health.

Civic activism, citizen-led policing and the future of community crime prevention in New Zealand

Trevor Bradley1
1Victoria University Of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Over the past decade New Zealand has witnessed a remarkable growth in ‘civic activism’ and the use of community volunteers to perform duties once the sole preserve of the police. Indeed, in many local communities, particularly those outside the main metropolitan centres, it is volunteers that are the primary source of capable guardianship and visible deterrence and who perform the patrols once routinely provided by their public police partners. Their contribution is an increasingly important part of police capability. Volunteers have for a long time assisted police through involvement in victim support services and neighbourhood watch type schemes. More recently, however, the roles performed by volunteers have expanded significantly. In addition to patrolling public space, volunteers now also monitor police and local authority administered CCTV networks, provide security and related stewarding duties at large scale sporting and cultural events and assist with civil emergencies. The growth and expanded role of volunteers has been carefully nurtured by police and other government agencies through the strategic use of formal partnership agreements. Moreover, by controlling the distribution of central government crime prevention funding, the police are increasingly directing the development and deployment of these ostensibly autonomous groups.

This paper reports the findings of on-going research on the extending policing family in New Zealand. It charts the growth and expansion of volunteer involvement in policing, the financial and operational relations between volunteer bodies and police and considers the implications and likely impacts of New Zealand’s much increased reliance on ‘civic activism’ on the futures of policing and community crime prevention.


Biography:
Dr Trevor Bradley is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently involved in an on-going research programme focused on the extending policing family in New Zealand. His research interests include plural policing and crime prevention and community safety.

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