Watch groups, surveillance and doing it for themselves

Spiller, Keith and L’Hoiry, Xavier (2019) Watch groups, surveillance and doing it for themselves. Surveillance and Society, 17 (3/4).

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This paper focuses on surveillant relations between citizens and police. We consider how online platforms enable the public to support the task of policing, as well as empowering the public to work without and beyond the police. While community-supported policing interventions are not new, more recently mobile and accessible technologies have promoted and enabled a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture towards policing among the public. The paper examines watch groups or those who task themselves with monitoring suspicious or actual behaviours. We consider two empirical examples; first, a community alert group mediated through social media. Second, a group of businesses that circulate, via a website, CCTV images of (alleged) wrong-doing in their premises. Drawing on David Garland’s (1996) work on responsibilisation, we situate the growth of these types of responsibilised groups within the contemporary economic and political climate of crime control in the UK. We argue that citizens are establishing new surveillant relations that are pushing policing in new and evolving directions.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
4 November 2018Accepted
7 September 2019Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visibility; Policing; Pickpocket Watch; Townbury Alert; Watch Groups; DIY Policing
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-03 - politics > CAH15-03-01 - politics
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Keith Spiller
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2019 12:55
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 13:40

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