Police station architecture, symbolism and visibility in the community

Prof. Andrew Millie1

1Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom

In this paper the visibility and symbolism of police stations in the UK are considered at a time when police estates have had to adapt to budgetary constraints, and to changing service priorities and working practices. Whilst there is criminological interest in the architecture and design of prisons or court houses, there has been very little work on the police estate. The discussion draws on research as part of an ESRC-funded study of ‘Visible Policing’. Evidence is presented from photo-elicitation interviews with estate managers and architects, and with members of the public who had been tasked with taking photos of police stations, which they then discussed during an interview. Implications for the visibility and symbolism of the police are considered.


Andrew Millie is Professor of Criminology at Edge Hill University, UK. His research centres on the intersection between criminology, philosophy and theology and he is currently working on three strands of work: 1) the visual culture and architecture of policing; 2) the possibility of an aesthetic criminology; and 3) the relevance of Christian theology to criminal justice.


Dec 08 2021