The role, awareness and use of legal levers in multi-agency policing partnerships: An international comparative case study analysis of three partnerships

Ms Margo van Felius1, Professor Janet Ransley1, A/Prof. Lyndel Bates1, Dr Peter Martin1, Dr Julianne Webster2

1Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
2Queensland Police Service, Brisbane, Australia

Public policing has dramatically changed in recent decades. A shift from attempting to control crime to managing the risk of crime has taken place and police increasingly seek to engage others to assist in managing that risk. Previous research indicates multi-agency policing partnerships to prevent and control crime have the capacity to be more successful than interventions by individual organisations, and many police agencies now claim to have a focus on partnership approaches.

This paper focusses on one type of multi-agency partnerships: third-party policing. In third-party policing partnerships, the partner agencies have a regulatory framework or ‘legal levers’ available, which extend beyond those accessible to police. Through partnering with these agencies, the police have the potential to extend their capabilities to create a crime control or prevention capacity through accessing the ‘legal levers’ of third parties.

This study involves three case studies of third-party policing partnerships, in Brisbane and the UK. The three partnerships involved joint approaches to address three different problems: domestic and family violence, alcohol fuelled violence, and violent and sexual offending. Data was collected from a total of 55 in-depth interviews with executive-level and operational police and partner agency representatives. Together these three case studies explore the role and participant awareness of legal levers by the police and partner agencies when establishing these joint ventures, and factors that may promote or inhibit partnership engagement.


Margo is a PhD candidate in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. She holds a Master of Science in Economics and Business and Insurance Economics.  After working in business consulting she joined the Queensland Police Service, where in 2002, she moved into the role of criminal investigator, and worked in various areas. Margo’s PhD research draws from her diverse work experience, and examines institutional and individual barriers of implementing partnerships to prevent and control crime and address other social issues. She is particularly interested in the awareness, role and use of legal levers in third-party policing


Dec 08 2021