Dispatches from the field: developing community safety in Northern Ireland

Brunger, M. (2012) Dispatches from the field: developing community safety in Northern Ireland. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 14. pp. 140-164. ISSN 1460-3780.

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This article critically examines the ongoing development of community safety in Northern Ireland. By drawing upon in-depth interviews with key practitioners, the article assesses the current architecture that is in place to support community safety-based activity, as well as considering the future prospects for community safety in Northern Ireland since the devolution of criminal justice to the Department of Justice in 2010. The article maintains that against the background of transition, where Northern Ireland is moving from a society in conflict to one of peace, the progression towards a holistic and ‘bottom-up’ community safety-based framework to tackle crime and its often damaging social effects continues to be obfuscated by a number of issues. These include: an overarching ‘top-down’ managerialist framework embodied in an array of centrally directed performance targets that, while seemingly providing a de-politicised and neutral discourse, applies a methodology that often denigrates the importance of acute local problems. In addition, the legacy of political violence, and its continuance in some areas, is contributing to inertia in many State agencies to go beyond the symbolism of partnership working and fully engage with the community, which would involve radically changing the nature of their work. The article concludes that community safety, in its more ‘bottom-up’ sense, has simply failed to materialise.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DA0900 Ireland > DA0990 Local history and description > DA0990.U45 Northern Ireland (Ulster)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Law and Criminal Justice Studies
Depositing User: Dr Mark Brunger
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2012 19:17
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:10
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/10822

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00