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Old, new, borrowed and blue: shifts in modern policing.

Dahl, Johanne Yttri; Fyfe, Nicholas R.; Gundhus, Helene Oppen Ingebrigtsen; Larsson, Paul; Skjevrak, Pernille Erichsen; Runhovde, Siv Rebekka; Vestby, Annette


Johanne Yttri Dahl

Helene Oppen Ingebrigtsen Gundhus

Paul Larsson

Pernille Erichsen Skjevrak

Siv Rebekka Runhovde

Annette Vestby


This article analyses ambiguity and complexity in proactive policing practices and identifies the paradox that despite the focus on increasing proactivity, police work remains strongly reactive. Drawing on a set of Norwegian case studies of policing in different domains, the article shows how under an overarching objective of 'combating crime', the distinctions between non-coercive (mainly proactive) forms of prevention or (mainly reactive) methods such as investigation or intelligence are seen as unimportant. This creates a demand for professionals working across different crime types, leading to a shift towards high policing in everyday life and tension between experts and generalists. Other, unintended consequences include a fragmentation of tasks and a more general and abstract way of policing. The result is pluralization and multiagency partnership strategies, where the police conduct high-policing tasks and external actors conduct low-policing tasks. These findings point to the emergence of new forms of hybrid of policing.


DAHL, J.Y, FYFE, N.R., GUNDHUS, H.O.I., LARSSON, P., SKJEVRAK, P.E., RUNHOVDE, S.R. and VESTBY, A. [2021]. Old, new, borrowed and blue: shifts in modern policing. British journal of criminology [online], Advance Articles, article number azab085. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 20, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2023
Journal British journal of criminology
Print ISSN 0007-0955
Electronic ISSN 1464-3529
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number azab085
Keywords Policing; Police methods; Proactive policing; Reactive policing; Police specialisation
Public URL