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Contingency and Politics: The Local Government Community Safety Officer Role

Cherney, Adrian (2004) Contingency and Politics: The Local Government Community Safety Officer Role. Criminal Justice: The International Journal of Policy and Practice, 4(2), pp. 115-128.

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Abstract

The Community Safety Officer position within local government has become central to the delivery of crime prevention and community safety policy both in Australia and abroad. This article reviews the Community Safety Officer (CSO) role in local government and provides results from interviews with CSOs in the Australian state of Victoria. The experiences, challenges and problems faced by CSOs in implementing Victorian schemes is outlined. It is argued that the focus by governments and criminologists on developing training packages, competencies and identifying "what works" discounts the administrative and political environments in which local level CSOs work. These contexts present obstacles to strategy development and implementation. Likewise a similar criticism is made of the governmentality thesis, that it too fails to engage with and interrogate local practice, overlooking issues of contingency and agency that encompasses the CSO role. It is concluded that the CSO role is one concerned with change management, and that building CSO capacity requires the devolution of authority, resources and decisions-making powers. Understanding how CSOs manage the barriers and "crisis" they face in crime prevention and community safety will tells us more about "what works" that is germane to effective policy development and implementation.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 9761
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Community safety officers, crime prevention, Australia, competencies, capacity building, governmentality thesis
DOI: 10.1177/1466802504044911
ISSN: 1748-8966
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Causes and Prevention of Crime (160201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Criminology not elsewhere classified (160299)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Sage Publications
Deposited On: 26 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 17:47

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