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Exploring the policing-entrepreneurship nexus.

Smith, Robert


Robert Smith


Although the term Entrepreneurial Policing (EP) is in vogue, it remains little more than meaningless rhetoric; traditionally the term entrepreneur itself has not been part of the pragmatic lexicon of policing. Indeed, the term is little more than a buzz word, used only by those with a fleeting understanding of entrepreneurship theory per se. Consequentially, the power of entrepreneurship to act as an organisational change agent remains untapped. Indeed, at present there is no policing-entrepreneurship nexus to speak of. This is surprising given the fluid nature of policing and the pragmatism of its multi-faceted work force. Although the mental maps of entrepreneurship and policing seldom converge, criminologists such as Dick Hobbs (Hobbs 1988, 1991 and 1996) and Robin Fletcher (Fletcher, 2006) have begun to chart this neglected area of research. Hobbs appreciated the entrepreneurial role played by the Detective, whilst Fletcher that of the Thief Taker and Collator. These three policing genres acted as entrepreneurs in a policing system where information was traded for results. This briefing paper explores the policing-entrepreneurship nexus, discussing how aspects of entrepreneurship theory such as intrapreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, team entrepreneurship, social capital and networking can be applied in a practical context to transform policing practices. Entrepreneurship theory properly applied to policing problems has a role to play in combating crime for those prepared to take the risk. This briefing aims to illustrate how entrepreneurship theory and entrepreneurial practices can be used in a practical context to the benefit of the police service.


SMITH, R. 2008. Exploring the policing-entrepreneurship nexus. SIPR Briefing Paper, 5. Dundee: Scottish Institute for Policing Research, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee.

Report Type Discussion Paper
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2008
Publication Date Dec 31, 2008
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2011
Publicly Available Date Nov 28, 2011
Publisher Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)
Keywords Police service; Entrepreneurship
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