Dealing with Drugs: A Study of Drug Law Enforcement, Drug Detectives and Proactive Investigation
Police detectives, criminal investigation and enforcement initiatives directed at controlling the supply of illegal drugs remain some of the least researched subject areas in the broad fields of policing and police studies. This paper presents the findings of an ethnographic study of the world and work of plain clothes detectives employed in local drug squads and the execution of drug law enforcement.
At the heart of the study is an examination of the key formal and informal mechanisms underlying the objectives, processes and techniques of drug investigations. Taking a cultural perspective, it explores how drug detectives perceive their work, their role as police officers mandated to police drugs and the drug world that they police.
It also considers the ideas of policing, the police and drug policy in late modern society and examines how the influx of legislation, policing policies and reform programmes over recent decades have impacted upon detectives and the conduct of criminal investigations. Dealing with Drugs provides new understandings that challenge prevalent ways of thinking about the form and function of contemporary police culture, the capacity of police organisations for change and the role of the police in drug control.
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