Policing studies

Strands: Policing and Security

Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion

Explore Policing and Security research

Our research is divided into three strands: Policing, Counter-terrorism and Military Policy, Researching the Policing of Protest and Examining the Police Custody Landscape.

Policing, Counter-terrorism and Military Policy

This work, led by Dr Rizwaan Sabir, examines the intersections between policing, counter-terrorism, and military policy and practice that has been enacted by the UK government to deal with violence perpetrated by armed Muslim groups since 2001. Rizwaan’s research draws on a range of different theoretical traditions and methodological frameworks, including race, Islamophobia, post-colonialism, hegemony and counter-hegemony, and investigative research. His work seeks to demonstrate how powerful actors integrate and combine coercion and persuasion in counter-terrorism and security policy and practice in order to socially control, politically influence, and coercively discipline Muslim individuals and communities who are perceived to pose a current and potential threat to Western global hegemony in the UK and beyond.

This strand of work in the Policing and Security cluster seeks to outline and explain the ways in which power is exercised, who it is exercised against, and what purpose and intent it serves. At the same time, the research seeks to map the ways in which counter-terrorism policing has become increasingly militarised and integrated into the criminal justice system. By showcasing such a thing, this research evidences how governmental claims and commitments to human rights processes and policies are increasingly revealing themselves to be largely vacuous.

Rizwaan regularly contributes to the radio, press, and broadcast media and has engaged with key policymakers, including the Shadow Home Secretary, who he briefed in Parliament in early 2016 on the Prevent counter-extremism strategy. He has also submitted written evidence to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as part of his inquiry into countering violent extremism and has served as an expert in the first-ever legal challenge to Prevent in the High Court (‘Dr Salman Butt vs. Home Secretary’). He is also serving as an expert in one of the first political Islamic terrorism trials currently taking place in South Africa (‘The State vs. Thulsie and Another’).

Publications:

  • Sabir, R (forthcoming) Fighting Insurgents at Home: Counterinsurgency and the UK’s Domestic ‘War on Terror’, Pluto: London.
  • Sabir, R (2017) ‘Policing Austerity through the “War on Terror”’ in Whyte, D and Cooper, V (eds) The Violence of Austerity, Pluto: London
  • Sabir, R (2017) ‘Blurred Lines and False Dichotomies: Integrating Counterinsurgency into the UK’s domestic “War on Terror”’, Critical Social Policy, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp.1-23
  • Sabir, R (2019) ‘The Quest for (In)Security? Countering Violent Extremism in the UK’, Insights, Afro-Middle East Centre, Vol. 2 (under review)
  • Sabir, R (2016) ‘Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism through Civil, Political, and Human Rights’, Written submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pursuant to UNHCR Resolution 30/15, United Nations, April 2016,
  • Miller, D and Sabir, R (2013) ‘Counterterrorism as Counterinsurgency the in UK “War on Terror”’ in Poynting. S and Whyte. D (eds) Counter-Terrorism and State Political Violence, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.12-32.
  • Miller, D and Sabir, R (2012) ‘Propaganda & Terrorism’ in D. Freedman and D.K. Thussu (eds) Media & Terrorism, London: Sage, pp. 77-94.
Researching the Policing of Protest

This research is led by Dr Helen Monk and Dr Will Jackson and seeks to explore the nature of contemporary protest policing in England and Wales. Consistent with the aims of the Centre for the Study Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion to represent marginalised voices, this case study has explored the experiences of protesters and campaign groups who have sought to oppose hydraulic fracturing – better known as ‘fracking’ – in England since September 2013. The ongoing collaborative and multidisciplinary research seeks to consider the criminological, legal and human rights significance of developments in public order policing policy and practice. This work has been developed in collaboration with Dr Joanna Gilmore, York Law School, University of York and Dr Damien Short, Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

The central aim of this work has been to document and critically analyse the role of police in responding to protest against fracking in England. This work has directly challenged the idea, set out in police policy and reflected in a significant body of academic work, that public order policing has undergone wholesale reform since 2009. This work has made a direct contribution to public debates about the rights of communities to oppose fracking in the UK but also reflects on the wider implications of the research findings for the right to protest in a liberal democracy.

The work began with a case study of the policing of protests against fracking at Barton Moss, Salford, Greater Manchester in 2013-14. This work was first published in the Keep Moving public report in 2016. This report has subsequently informed media reports in the Guardian and BBC 5Live. The ‘Keep Moving’ report was also cited by Maina Kiai, the then United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in 2017 in his report on the UK. This work has been subsequently developed into an on-going collaborative and interdisciplinary national study of the policing and anti-fracking protests in England.

The research aims to contribute to the evaluation of changes to public order policing policy in England and Wales introduced since 2009. By exploring the policing of protest from the perspective of protesters and communities involved in campaigns against unconventional fossil fuel exploration and extraction, the research seeks to inform public debate about the right to protest. 

Publications:

  • Monk, H., Gilmore, J. and Jackson, W (2019) ‘Gendering Pacification: Policing Women at Anti-Fracking Protests’, Feminist Review [forthcoming].
  • Jackson W. (2019). Researching the policed: critical ethnography and the study of protest policing’, Policing and Society.
  • Jackson, W, Gilmore, J and Monk, H (2018) ‘Policing unacceptable protest in England and Wales: A case study of the policing of anti-fracking protests’, Critical Social Policy, 39(1), 23-43.
  • Gilmore, J., Jackson, W. and Monk, H. (2017) ‘‘That is not facilitating peaceful protest. That is dismantling the protest’: anti-fracking protesters’ experiences of dialogue policing and mass arrest’, Policing and Society, 29(1), 36-51.
  • Jackson, W, Monk, H, Gilmore, J (2017) Fracking and state violence. In: Cooper, V, Whyte, D (eds) The Violence of Austerity, London: Pluto Press, pp.156–163.
  • Jackson, W., Monk, H. and Gilmore, J. (2016) ‘Pacifying Disruptive Subjects: Police Violence and anti-fracking protests’, Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 2(3), 81-93.
  • Gilmore, J., Jackson, W. and Monk, H. (2016) ‘Keep Moving!’: Report on the Policing of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp, November 2013-April 2014, Liverpool and York: Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion, Liverpool John Moores University and the Centre for URBan Research, University of York.
Miniature Prisons in the Community: The Secretive World of Police Custody Suites

This research, led by Dr Karen Corteen, focuses on police custody. Being detained in police custody for any length of time is a difficult experience. Having the power to detain an individual or individuals is one that comes with great responsibility. The criminal justice system has been subjected to major changes including the introduction of public-private partnerships, private financial initiatives and third-party partnerships. This work explores the manner in which such changes have impacted on the police custody landscape within and without police stations in the UK. It explores the changing nature of the built environment of police custody in terms of location, size, staffing, financial arrangements and ownership in a period of austerity, rationalisation, outsourcing and privatisation. This work has been developed in collaboration with Dr Rachael Steele (LJMU) and Dr Jo Turner (Staffordshire University).