Call for Papers: Visibilities and new models of policing

A Special Issue of Surveillance & Society, edited by Keith Spiller and Xavier D L'Hoiry

Submission deadline: February 1, 2018 for publication September 2018.


This Call for Papers seeks to expand upon emerging police-citizen relations. The Special Issue seeks to add new enquires and greater depth to discussions of how surveillance has enabled and empowered citizens to become more engaged with the task of policing. We are interested in how new abilities to digitally capture real-time events enable the public to support the task of policing, as well as encouraging citizens to work without or beyond the police. Recent literatures have concentrated on modes of counter-surveillance (see Korff et al. 2017; Neyland 2009), but what has been largely neglected are other emerging modalities of citizen involvement with policing. We are keen to explore the new visibilities that offer beneficial advancements and greater accountability to policing. A key concern for this issue is a drive for critical engagement with marginalised groups and the cultural, racial, religious, gender or historical motives and consequences to new visibilities for police forces and citizens alike.  As a potential starting point we suggest, but are not limited to, perspectives on ‘plurality’, as well as ‘DIY’ (Do-it-Yourself) policing. Plurality could refer to instances where citizens undertake the task of policing with or alongside law enforcement and the ways this has changed in light of new and emerging surveillance technologies accessible to the public. DIY policing could refer to examples of citizens being active in forms of monitoring and patrol, by-passing the police in order to carry out policing as suited to their own needs. These modes of policing, facilitated by the ability to digitally capture criminal, abusive, dangerous or nuisance behaviour, may be used to highlight how new visibilities are repositioning policing practice.

The public have long been engaged in the task of policing within multifarious networks, be it as sources of intelligence, witnesses to crimes or in various forms of police-community engagement practices (Innes et al 2015). However, in recent years, digital capture has become an added dimension to how the public witness and report crimes, and it is now commonplace for the police to request footage captured by citizens in the wake of a vast range of different incidents.

Moreover, UK police have used Twitter to convey reassurances after certain events or have used Facebook to solicit help in investigating particular instances – such as in the aftermath of the 2012 London riots (see Denef et al. 2013; Pieri, 2014). Elsewhere, cameras phones have captured instances of police brutality (see Hermida and Hernández-Santaolalla, 2017), or American Airlines security staff being overly vociferous in their duties (see Mahdawi 2017). The results of such incidents have instigated justifiable claims for accountability, injustice and inequality, as well as driving social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Brazilian Landless Workers Movement or the Arab Spring.

While considerable academic research has discussed the comparative merits of the police working with public, private and voluntary sector partners (Fleming 2006, Berry et al 2011), what is only partially explored in existing literature is the extent to which members of the public form part of plural or DIY policing networks, what this involvement could and should entail and, more specifically, how accessible forms of surveillance have changed modes of networked policing.

The ‘Visibilities and new models of policing’ CfP welcomes proposals that may focus on, but are not limited to, the following broad themes:

  • Surveillance and plural policing
  • Surveillance and DIY policing
  • Cams as evidence & protectors
  • Visibilities in arresting racial, gendered, sexual preference or other prejudicial abuse
  • Impacts of policing on women, people of color, Muslims, transgender people, people with disabilities and the poor.
  • Plural Policing and DIY Policing in the global south
  • Everyday surveillance and self-policing/popular policing
  • Crowd-sourced policing and investigation
  • Neighbourhood Watch
  • DIY detectives
  • Digilantism/ Keyboard Warriors
  • Lateral surveillance and interveillance
  • Legal regulation
  • Social media and policing
  • Predicative policing
  • Police drones


Submission Information:

We welcome full academic papers, opinion pieces, review pieces, poetry, artistic, and audio-visual submissions. Submissions will undergo a peer-review and revision process prior to publication. Submissions should be original work, neither previously published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. All references to previous work by contributors should be masked in the text (e.g., “Author, 2015”).

All papers must be submitted through the online submission system no later than February 1, 2018, for publication in September 2018.

Please submit the papers in a MSWord-compatible format. For further submission guidelines, please see:

For all inquiries regarding the issue, please contact the editors: Keith Spiller <> or Xavier D L'Hoiry <>.



Berry, G., Briggs, P., Erol, R. and van Staden, L. (2011) The Effectiveness of Partnership Working in a Crime and Disorder Context: A Rapid Evidence Assessment, Research Report 52, London: Home Office.

Fleming, J. (2006) ‘Working through networks: the challenge of partnership in policing’, in Fleming, J. and Wood, J. (eds) Fighting Crime Together: The Challenges of Policing and Security Network Policy. UNSW Press: Sydney.

Denef, S., Bayerl, P. S. and Kaptein, N. A. (2013) ‘Social media and the police: tweeting practices of British police forces during the August 2011 riots’, in Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 3471-3480.

Mahdawi, M. (2017) ‘America's airlines are shameless. But United has just set a new low’, The Guardian, 11 April 2017, available at

Hermida, A., & Hernández-Santaolalla, V. (2017). ‘Twitter and video activism as tools for counter-surveillance: the case of social protests in Spain’, Information, Communication & Society: 1-18.

Innes, M., Tucker, S., and Jukes, M. (2015) ‘When Should They Get Engaged? Police-Community Engagement’, in J. Fleming (ed) Police Leadership: Rising to the Top, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 169-189.

Korff, D., Wagner, B., Powles, J., Avila, R., & Buermeyer, U. (2017) ‘Boundaries of Law: Exploring Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight of Government Surveillance Regimes’, available at

Neyland, D. (2009) ‘Surveillance, Accountability and Organizational Failure: The Story of Jean Charles de Menezes’, in B. Goold and D. Neyland (eds.) New Directions in Surveillance and Privacy. Devon: Willan

Pieri, E. (2014) ‘Emergent policing practices: Operation Shop a Looter and urban space securitisation in the aftermath of the Manchester 2011 riots’, Surveillance & Society 12(1): 38 - 54