Overpolicing: A critical commentary on its conception and utility in Australian criminological explanations about Aboriginal over-representation in police arrest and custody rates

John Williams-Mozley

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This thesis examines the origin, usage and utility of the concept of overpolicing. Equally importantly, the thesis will explore how, and in what manner, overpolicing' became established in criminological accounts about Aboriginal over-representation in police arrest and custody rates.In doing so, the thesis critically evaluates criminological literature pertaining to the policing of Aboriginal people and illustrates how sections of this literature are underscored by propositions about institutional or systemic racism as a function of internal colonialism. The historical and contemporary expression of institutional or systemic racism is argued as being located in policing's uninterrupted pre-occupation with maintaining social order and control with respect to Aboriginal people's languages, behaviours and interactions in public space. In illustrating these phenomena, the thesis shows how this literature has largely been developed within the critical and conflict perspectives of sociological Criminology and the crime control model of Criminal Justice. From the latter, with its emphasis on the promotion of hard or pro-active policing practices, the thesis explores the notion of overpolicing' which arose in the aggressive policing context of North America's War on Drugs' and subsequently, its metamorphosis within the Australian policing context as an academic discursive device to both describe and illustrate the manner in which Aboriginal people are policed.i
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Award date01 Oct 2009
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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child custody
police
racism
language behavior
criminology
social order
social control
colonial age
public space
promotion
justice
offense
drug
interaction
literature

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abstract = "This thesis examines the origin, usage and utility of the concept of overpolicing. Equally importantly, the thesis will explore how, and in what manner, overpolicing' became established in criminological accounts about Aboriginal over-representation in police arrest and custody rates.In doing so, the thesis critically evaluates criminological literature pertaining to the policing of Aboriginal people and illustrates how sections of this literature are underscored by propositions about institutional or systemic racism as a function of internal colonialism. The historical and contemporary expression of institutional or systemic racism is argued as being located in policing's uninterrupted pre-occupation with maintaining social order and control with respect to Aboriginal people's languages, behaviours and interactions in public space. In illustrating these phenomena, the thesis shows how this literature has largely been developed within the critical and conflict perspectives of sociological Criminology and the crime control model of Criminal Justice. From the latter, with its emphasis on the promotion of hard or pro-active policing practices, the thesis explores the notion of overpolicing' which arose in the aggressive policing context of North America's War on Drugs' and subsequently, its metamorphosis within the Australian policing context as an academic discursive device to both describe and illustrate the manner in which Aboriginal people are policed.i",
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