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  4. 3.17 Visible policing: the affective properties of police buildings images and material culture

3.17 Visible policing: the affective properties of police buildings images and material culture

Academic team: Mike Rowe (Northumbria University), Matt Jones (CPRL), Andrew Millie (Edge Hill University)
Policing partners: College of Policing, Greater Manchester Police, West Yorkshire Police, Lancashire Constabulary and Cumbria Constabulary
Status: Complete

Police officer on horse

In policy terms, visibility in policing has been primarily addressed in narrow terms regarding the potential for patrol officers.  This project is the first to explore the visual culture of contemporary policing. Drawing on visual sociology and visual criminology, it applies theories and methodologies of the visual to the sociology of policing.

The project focuses on the symbolic power of police stations, the symbolic properties of police material culture (including ceremonial uniforms, flags, badges, tourist souvenirs, and children's toys), and the visibility of the police in social media, incorporating official and unofficial police accounts.

It explores the structure and communicative impact of different forms of police presence and visibility, the role of visual, symbolic and material artefacts in forging the organisational and cultural, new and emerging forms of police visibility on social media, and the implications of project findings for policy and practice.


Title Outputs type Lead academic Year  
Visible policing Short video documentary Project team 2022  
Visible policing Project website Rowe, M 2019  



Can a virtual reality courtroom be a useful learning tool?

Dr Ahmed Kadry and Simon Hull, who both work in the Department for Policing at The Open University (OU), have recently finished a project that evaluated OU policing apprentice's experiences of learning in a virtual reality (VR) courtroom.

4th December 2023
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Research Priority workshop

Monday, January 15, 2024 - 11:00 to 13:00

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