n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The politics of the police, Robert Reiner : book reviews

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



When I began researching the police and teaching courses on policing some ten years ago, Robert Reiner's The Politics of the Police was one of my work bibles. I had no training in criminology or police studies and this book focused my mind on how to think sociologically about the police. It provided me with a critical view of what the police has been, and can realistically be in the contemporary world. As a sociologist (and social worker) by training, this book made my mundane everyday understanding of the police (and policing) come alive through the uncovering of the interconnectedness of the police with politics, economics and wider social dynamics. My early reading of Reiner's book sensitised me to how important it is to comprehend the public police as limited yet powerful social actors in a highly complex social world.

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