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By Karen Bullock (auth.)

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A set of ideas bound together under the term New Localism will be our final port of call, before turning in Chapter 3 to considering in more detail how these themes have touched policing policy and practice. The New Left Citizen participation in political decision making was central to the New Left. Whilst New Left principles and practices are hard to pin down, themes can be discerned. For Sklansky (2005: 1706) these included ‘an embrace of grassroots politics, a distrust of elites, an emphasis on cooperation and collective reasoning, and an appreciation for the intrinsic value of democracy wholly apart from its utility as a rule of decision’.

It is conducted by a wide range of state agents external to the police service such as environmental health officers, car parking attendants and immigration officers. It is also conducted by non-state organisations such as private security firms. Broader policing functions may be accomplished by a wide range of guardians including caretakers, door staff and teachers as well as by technological means such as CCTV. Policing is also performed by citizens and communities, sometimes with and sometimes without formal recognition and support of the police service.

Rousseau was scathing of British representative democracy which, as we have seen, involves passing sovereignty from the citizen to a representative. The British citizen, noted Rousseau, is only free during the election of Members of Parliament. Once representatives are elected ‘the people is enslaved: it is nothing’ (Rousseau, 2007 [1762]: 74). However, Rousseau did not envisage the rebirth of Classical Athens. Like others Rousseau was critical of the practices embodied by Citizen Participation and Democracy 29 Athens which he saw as impractical.

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