Policing the dross: A social disciplinary model of policing

Satnam Choongh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article I use the findings of an ethnographic study of police station procedures to explore the limitations of Packer's Crime Control and Due Process models of justice. Concentrating on the dynamics of police-detainee interaction in the significant minority of cases in which the police arrest individuals whom they have no intention of charging, I show that in such cases policing is not geared towards enforcement of the criminal law but towards the achievement of police-defined objectives. I argue that Packer's models are both legal models, and thus inadequate to the task of explaining what takes place in these cases. I present the argument that these cases are better explained by reference to a Social Disciplinary model of policing. This is a model which eschews concern for both legal and factual guilt, concentrating instead on the task of subordinating sections of society viewed as anti-police and innately criminal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-634
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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