Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Policing the changing landscape of rural crime: a case study from Scotland.

Smith, Robert


Robert Smith


Although the notion of rural crime has an idyllic aura to it, crime occurs in a changing social landscape and is affected by demographic changes, changing crime trends and by the introduction of new policing practices. Similarly, exactly what constitutes rural crime is also open to debate and changes over time. Likewise, we only have a fuzzy notion of the stereotypical rural criminal and find it difficult to acknowledge the existence of a rural criminal underclass. As a result, crime in a rural context is more difficult to police than crime in an urban landscape because it requires a different set of skills and practices from policing the urban landscape. The closure of rural police stations and the reallocation of scarce policing resources to urban hotspots have inevitably led to a deskilling of the archetypal ‘country bobby’. Consequently, this quasi-longitudinal case study examines changes in policing practices in a (fictionalised) subdivision in rural Scotland over a 40-year period. This enables consideration of the changing rural landscape of crime and from this mapping process implications and conclusions in relation to good practice on rural policing can emerge.


SMITH, R. 2010. Policing the changing landscape of rural crime: a case study from Scotland. International journal of police science and management [online], 12(3), pages 373-387. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2010
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2010
Publication Date Sep 30, 2010
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2011
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2011
Journal International journal of police science and management
Print ISSN 1461-3557
Electronic ISSN 1478-1603
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 3
Pages 373-387
Keywords Rural crime; Rural policing; Rural beat officers; Community policing; Scotland
Public URL


Downloadable Citations