Book Reviews


The Politics of the Police

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Author: Robert Reiner

Price: 24.99

Edition: 4th Edition (March 2010)

ISBN: 978-0-19-928339-2

Buy from OUP: Click Here

The police play a considerable role in the administration of criminal justice.  It is therefore important, for the criminologists amongst us, to understand what makes the police tick.  Robert Reiner's The Politics of the Police, aims to thoroughly review the history, politics and sociology of the police in England & Wales It easily achieves its aim.

Written by Robert Reiner, a Professor of Criminology at the London School of Economics, The Politics of the Police is split into four parts: policing: theory and research; history; sociology of policing; and law and politics.  Each chapter is then divided into a number of chapters.  Some of the chapter titles include: The Birth of the Blues: The Establishment of Professional Policing 1829-56; Out of the Blue: Policy Legitimacy 1856-2009; Cop Cultures; Mystifying the Police: the Media Presentation of Policing; and Police Powers and Accountability.

The Politics of the Police is, without a doubt, a serious text for students.  It is packed full of research and knowledge with excellent use of footnotes and endnotes to provide further information.  Its written style is also fairly fluid; but inexperienced criminologists may find it too detailed.  It is certainly not a text that is easy to dip in and out of: this is a little disappointing.  The Online Resource Centre is also fairly sparse at the moment but, perhaps, this is to be expected given it was only published six months or so ago.

Readers looking for a detailed examination of the history, politics and sociology of the police in England and Wales really need look no further than The Politics of the Police.  It is expertly researched, if a little too in-depth at times, for anyone wanting to know more about the police and why they do the things they do.  Having known a lot of police officers over the years, it also provides an insightful discussion of the make-up, and character, of the police.  Better use of key learning points or summaries may, however, help those lost amongst the mass of detail.

Reviewed on 14 November 2010

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