Sampson, Margaret (1983) Discretion or power: an analysis of beat policing. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

The notion of police discretion is problematic. A perspective that focusses on analysis of technology of power, centralises the politics of routine police discourse and extra-discursive practice in this society. It is a view that does not constitute law, order, and social welfare functions of patrol officers as diparate theoretical objects. They are presented as differentially constructed state definitions, permitting the continuation of a specific mode of domination, that is, capitalism.
The preface is presented as a 'lens I throu,gh which the rest of the work is to be read. By this I mean that problematic concepts are discussed. The points raised in the discussions provide the parameters of meaning for the research.
Section One outlines the epistemological status of the research. I establish the importance of retheorising research into the police, indicating a relationship between knowledge and politics. A theoretical discussion of an analytics of power locates the police within the state.
Section Two attacks the concept of discretion throu.r.:h an historical examination of the duties of police officers. The primary claim advanced by the police is that of control of public space, but texts and discourse concerning police discretion are shown to omit consideration of police power, although legal processes constitute the police as more powerful than other citizens.
Section Three deals with academic texts dealing eplicitly with police discretion, and questions their usefulness. I conclude that, in general, police discretion is used as a 'catch-all' phrase, that has not been subjected to detailed interrogation.
Section Four presents the discourse and extra-discursive practice of the police as a meaninaful research entity. This is produced throu8h a discussion of substantive material from other sources. suggesting that the boundaries of police discourse/practice are its complex relationships with other processes of power.
In Section Five, I indicate the relationship between discourse and this society, and locate the importance of the situa.ted speaking subject (the police) with reference to this, and the theoretical analysis.
Section Six is a theoretical analysis of beat policing in which the constitution of a specific police ,knowledge is: interrogated. An examination of extra-discursive/discursive tactics and prohibitions establishes the importance of the differential construction of the policed which permits specific definitions of public space.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: For access to the hard copy thesis, check the University Library catalogue.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2019 15:07
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2019 15:07
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/7114

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