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  • Author or Editor: Maurice Punch x
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What is policing about and who defines it? This book examines these key issues by exploring the notion of zero tolerance and its application in different settings. Following its introduction in New York, and the seemingly dramatic reduction in crime, zero tolerance policing was taken up in a number of other countries, including the UK and the Netherlands. This book examines that process. It argues that this policy was, in fact, nothing more than a return to old-style, crime control policing. While it did foster the swift analysis of crime patterns and more assertive policing of public places, it could lean towards repression and demonising of certain groups. Examining the EEE Examining the EEEExamining the negative response of leading police officers and the policy’s debatable impact on crime, the author concludes that zero tolerance in the UK and Netherlands was more of a populist political and media creation than a coherent policy. This book is far more than an authoritative analysis of zero tolerance. It is a valuable source for entering the debate about the big picture in policing which many stakeholders now wish to see. The approachable style of this book makes it ideal for students, academics, police practitioners and the lay reader to enter that debate.

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Elite Student Excess and Sexual Abuse
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Timely and urgent, this book examines the culture and governance of colleges and universities regarding both excess in elite student societies and sexual violence, particularly against female students. Taking into account the deaths, serious injuries and grave sexual abuse taking place among student populations, the book takes a criminological and sociological perspective on the institutions, offenders and victims involved.

With high profile court cases and media responses driving demand for reform, the author considers institutional reactions and concludes with recommendations to improve crime prevention, accountability and the support for survivors.

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Elite student societies – the corps in the Netherlands and Belgium, fraternity in the US and club in the UK – were predominantly male, exclusive and indulged in various forms of excess, often cloaked by secrecy. The more elite societies tended to have severe initiations, at times leading to injury or even death. Typically, the societies went into defence mode and the colleges/universities reacted poorly or even malignly.

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Student life generally involves a degree of ebullience and in the traditional US/UK universities that was largely within the residential colleges, each with its own subculture, rituals and practices. Within those colleges, diverse student societies or clubs were founded, with some indulging in excess that has been documented in college records, news reports, films and memoirs, but some has been cloaked in secrecy. Within Anglo-American universities there were distinctions within elites as in Oxford, with elite exclusive clubs whose members went on to high political functions, but some indulged in excess and the destruction of property. Women were often excluded, except on specific occasions, and on some occasions there was abuse, which was typically not reported. There was often an element of risk and violence especially in the US, leading to injury or even a fatality.

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A pivotal issue is the role of the college-university in the regulation of student societies through private justice and in the manner they regulate and enforce internal rules, regulations and laws. For who is accountable? The focus in this chapter is especially on US fraternities, drawing on an insightful and disturbing article by Flanagan (2014). The US has around 2,600 accredited colleges and universities and if they receive federal aid then they have to comply with federal guidelines. But with so many institutions, public and private, and within 50 states – each having its own legislation and with varying compliance cultures – this means that compliance with federal guidelines is patchy if not resistant. Moreover, US fraternities typically have a complex institutional structure, with national organizations possessing considerable financial means, legal support and political influence. This structure, with an assertive and well-resourced Political Action Committee (PAC) at the national level, is not true in the other societies dealt with here.

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A key issue is whether certain exclusive student clubs can be reformed and be trusted to maintain that reform. The historical evidence across societies raises scepticism as the traditional ones often cannot be relied on to carry out any proposed reforms over time. This remains a grave matter related to risk that can be fatal and to gender-based violence that is serious in its consequences, and both forms can be defined as criminal. This leads to the issue of sanctioning or even abolishing such institutions that enthusiastically seek to ‘go over the edge’. There is also strong evidence of a defensive wall of denial in some self-congratulatory universities, which allowed offenders to get away with forms of abuse over long periods. Of the essence here is accountability, with universities making persistent efforts to provide a safe environment for all students but particularly for women and where such student societies are tightly regulated with sanctions including permanent banishment. For the university cannot allow serious high risk and interpersonal criminal conduct within its domain.

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This chapter looks at: US society and its criminal justice system; campus policing; and control and compliance. Regarding abuse on campus there is an urgency given the ‘epidemic’ of cases. Wealth plays an important role in the US and it influences politics, the media, higher education and criminal justice; hence; money and legal muscle can strongly impact on cases and on institutional responses. In particular, hardline methods are typically employed in the US against female victims regarding sexual offences. Then parents of a male student accused of sexual offences typically resort to expensive lawyers who strongly contest any allegations and use every appeal opportunity to prolong proceedings, while battling to weaken any proposed sanctions. Further, the chapter examines: the treatment of victims; ‘private justice’ in schools; campus scandals and sexual abuse; and the sometimes complicit role of sororities in offences. There is also the contested area of false accusations, drawing on the real ‘Seccuro’ case – at the University of Virginia in 1984– and a student’s false complaint and ensuing turmoil.

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In recent years there has been a shift to criminal prosecutions, with convictions as well as civil cases sometimes followed by the resignations of senior officials. Fostering this tougher stance was that sexual abuse on the American campus had become a national issue by 2016, with ‘an endless stream’ of disturbing scandals that could no longer be dismissed as incidents. Institutions had failed to investigate, had let down victims and had granted perpetrators immunity. Fostering that move was a string of abuse cases at Wesleyan indicating the unwillingness of some fraternities to change, and the one at Baylor conveying how an ostensibly grave case could nevertheless elicit weak sanctioning. And then there were deeply disturbing abuse cases related to college sports, with some leading to high public concern including the widely publicized one involving Chanel Miller at Stanford. Behind much of this were elements of cynicism, hypocrisy and cowardice.

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The material here has to be placed in the wider context of long-standing and deeply rooted prejudice and discrimination against women in many societies, along with high levels of sexual abuse and harassment in some organizations, professions and institutions, including colleges/universities. Moreover, the law and assumptions about sexual offences vary across and within societies. This chapter examines the policing of sexual offences comparatively and how bias and prejudice impact on enforcement. The features of prejudice and discrimination have often affected female students in the US and Western societies seeking justice following abuse. They often encounter persistent and flawed assumptions, demeaning tactics and the downplaying of the gravity of sexual offences.

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For the past two decades, police organization has been under constant pressure. In the UK, this has come in the form of successive governments determined to reform the police into an effective and efficient public service. The model to be followed in this reform campaign was that of management practice in business corporations. Spurred by political interest and media attention, the focal point was crime reduction. In effect, the policing landscape of the UK has been dominated by constant innovation, new policy initiatives, and concepts. One of these was ‘zero tolerance’. This book examines the notion of zero tolerance which promised a new style of policing and how it attracted a great deal of attention. Particularly, the book traces the New York model’s crossing of the Atlantic and its ‘transfer’ to the UK and the Netherlands. In the following chapters of the book, the influence of New York and its model of ‘zero tolerance’ are examined along with the implications of this new style of policing in the UK and the Netherlands. Questions concerning the nature of zero tolerance, the transfer of this new policing style in the UK and the Netherlands, and the significance of the zero tolerance policy in defining the current state and shifting paradigms of policing are discussed as well.

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