Zero Tolerance Policing, by Maurice Punch
The problem with this book is that the author is not fond enough of zero tolerance policing to give it a fair hearing. In fact, it appears to be that a consistent problem with books on policing is that they are hostile to the act of policing unless it fits their biased leftist agenda, and that makes the books practically useless. At the very least this book is short, so even though it is pretty useless as a study of policing it at least does not waste one’s time. That is not much of a virtue but in a book like this it is about the most positive thing that can be said about it. It is clear that those who do zero-tolerance policing, which means a variety of different things depending on who is responsible for it, are too busy fighting crime to write books trying to bash it, but one would wish that the friends of sound policing would do a better job at defending themselves from the libelous and defamatory things that are said about them by authors like this one, who view policing as a task that is to be accomplished with kid gloves according to leftist principles rather than seriously and rigorously.
The book as a whole is only about 70 pages long including all of its supplementary material and it mainly focuses on the complex efforts of the British and Dutch cops to learn from the lessons of the police of Guiliani’s New York City and apply them to their own crime-ridden societies. The author notes that both the British and Dutch applied some of the lessons, like a focus on statistics and data as an aid to crime-fighting, and disregarded other elements that are specific to the American approach to crime. This is as it should be and I do not think that anyone would necessarily mind reading this. Where the book gets to be most unfortunate in its bias is the way that the author is continually hostile to conservative and right-of-center politics and populism in general, not realizing that responsiveness to the desires of the people is a mark of good government and not bad government, at least insofar as it exists in a fallen world. The author’s hostility to populism and to law-and-order policing and approaches which are supported by the ordinary mass of people means that this book really doesn’t have anything to offer that is worthwhile in looking at policing.