Discourses of political policing in post-Patten Northern Ireland

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This article critically examines discourses of political policing in contemporary Northern Ireland. Recognising the post-conflict and post-reform climate that policing now occurs within, it argues that these environmental factors have conditioned discourses of policing that are directly tied to how legitimate political opposition to the political status quo in post-Good Friday Agreement (GFA) Northern Ireland is policed. The article asserts that political policing discourses have taken a new trajectory that departs from traditional ethno-nationalist interpretations of the issue to instead reflect a broader structuralist interpretation of state-police power relations. It concludes with the argument that political policing discourses have evolved to reflect common class based disillusionment with the post-GFA state across the political divide that sees the matter rooted in police protection of a system of devolved governance that has failed to tackle structural exclusion and socio-economic deprivation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Criminology
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2017


  • policing
  • political policing
  • police reform
  • Critical Criminology


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