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Zero tolerance policing$
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Maurice Punch

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420558

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420558.001.0001

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Zero tolerance policing: UK and the Netherlands

Zero tolerance policing: UK and the Netherlands

(p.23) 3 Zero tolerance policing: UK and the Netherlands
Zero tolerance policing

Maurice Punch

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the emergence of zero tolerance policing in the UK and in the Netherlands. It first discusses the transfer of the zero tolerance policy (ZTP) in the UK which was surprisingly marked with little evidence of policy transfer from America in the three areas of criminal justice. With regard to ZTP, it had different definitions in many places. It was met by cultural resistance and it went against the current dominant model of policing in the UK. In practice, ZTP has been barely copied at all in the UK. Although ZTP was adopted by the Labour government with respect to attitudes to criminals and punishment and in new legislation, the ZTP that had travelled in the Atlantic more successfully was the ideology, the ideas, and the rhetoric behind it. After discussing the transfer of ZTP in the UK, the chapter now discusses the transfer of ZTP to the Netherlands. Of particular interest is the alternative model of criminal justice the country had adopted. While ZTP in the U.S. was aggressive and punitive, the Netherlands's method of ZTP was based on Dutch tolerance, gedogen or regulated tolerance, and humane justice. However, this Dutch tolerance of crime led to an increased incidence of crimes. This high number of crimes resulted in a ‘turnaround’ on crime and safety. More emphasis was given on consistent enforcement, drawing up responsibilities, revitalizing public standards and letting government back into the public domain. Laxity, nonchalance and indifference that had marked the policing style of Netherlands were replaced by more assertive and effective policing devoid of the punitive aspect of U.S. policing and the ideological rhetoric of UK policing. The chapter concludes with the operational implementation of the two countries which were influenced by ZTP.

Keywords:   zero tolerance policing, UK, Netherlands, policy transfer, criminal justice, Labour government, alternative model, Dutch tolerance, gedogen

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