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Governance of Crime and Social Disorder


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.


The evolution in Western countries towards late modern societies led to a range of challenges in crime and social disorder management. Security issues became more frequent, more illusive, more liquid and more complex. At the same time, insecurity about daily life conditions, and about crime and social disorder issues, increased. Citizens expect active law enforcement from the government and the exclusion of all possible risks, at all times. This evolution led in some countries to a stronger grip from the government and a trend towards the so-called ‘politics of behavior’. The late modern way of policing led also sometimes to penal populism, penalization of the social, ‘responsabilisation’ strategies and exclusion of underpriviliged groups.
This course focuses on public management of crime and social disorder. After a brief criminological introduction on the phenomenology and aetiology of crime and disorder (what, origin, frequency, patterns, appearance), we will focus on criminal policy and law enforcement from an international perspective, particular for the problem of social disorder and incivilities. As the late modernity led to hollowing out the state, a variety of public as well as private actors is preventing and tackling crime and disorder. The course addresses aspects of criminal policy fragmentation and introduces the concept and practice of ‘plural policing’ in crime and disorder. Students will get acquainted with sources of international data sources on crime and on the administration of criminal justice (European Sourcebook of Crime and Justice, HEUNI reports, International Crime Victims Survey) and will study the way in which the flow of offences and offenders through the criminal justice chain (police, public prosecution, sentencing and execution) shapes the law enforcement model and reveals the efficiency and effectiveness of its organization. Law enforcement models in different countries will be studied. Subsequently, public wardens (capable guards), public inspectorates and the police are analyzed in a theoretical and comparative way. In particular, we will focus on police models applied in different countries. Four different police models will be discussed: (1) lawful policing model, (2) community policing, (3) public-private divide and the (4) military-bureaucratic police model. In the end, police systems from different countries will be analyzed, and a cross evaluation between models and systems will be made.

Course objectives

The goals of the course are:

  1. Students will gain theoretical insights in the criminology of crime and social disorder
  2. Students will gain theoretical and policy insights in the concept and the organization of plural policing and integrated security policing
  3. Students will gain analytical insight in law enforcement models and the efficiency of the criminal justice chain
  4. Students will be able to collect, analyze and interpret comparative data on crime and social disorder and the administration of criminal justice
  5. Students will be able to reflect in a scientific way on differences and/or regularities in statistical trends in crime and victimisation
  6. Students will gain theoretical insights in different police models, integrating the fluctuating meaning of key concepts like discretion, prevention and accountability
  7. Students will gain insights in police systems in different countries
  8. Students will get acquainted with criminological empirical research on police and policing
  9. Students will develop analytical and critical writing skills by writing a paper


[Block II, Tuesday 13-15 hour in room SBS A.O.O6??]

Mode of instruction

The sessions are dedicated to lectures and discussions.

Assessment method

Double blind peer review and final policy paper. If students complete both assignments but receive a final grade for the policy paper that is not sufficient to pass the course, they will have a chance to rework the final version of the individual policy paper and resubmit.

Description of the final policy paper:

Students will be asked to write a comparative policy paper (minimum 7000 – maximum 10.000 words) concerning the stated policy on a certain issue (crime phenomenon, general problem of feelings of insecurity, quality of life, integrated security problem, etc…) in two countries. The paper will compare these two countries discussing:
(1) The state of the art of the chosen issue in each country (objective and subjective insecurity based on the international statistical sources we studied in this course)
(2) The chosen policy theory in each country (if there is one) & the stated goals
(3) Critical assessment of the law enforcement to be used in solving the problem, in particular study of the police model(s) and the police system in these two countries.

Leading reference system is APA.

Peer review

In order to achieve high quality standards in each individual paper, a preliminary evaluation on Blackboard will be organized. Students are asked to write a double blind peer review (students evaluate students) of the draft of papers of other students (max. 1200 words). Writing a double blind peer review is a mandatory assignment and a condition to get a ‘fail’ or a ‘go’ on your own proposal. After the reviews of student-colleges, students rework the draft and send it in by Blackboard for evaluating by the teacher. Only after having obtained a ‘pass’ students can continue the work and finalize the paper. Papers that will not receive a ‘go’ (fail) have to resubmit their proposal in a short notice.
Course material is obligatory for the final policy paper as far as it is set out in sheets, handouts and mandatory literature.


Blackboard is indispensable for this course. All assignments (first draft, peer review, final paper) must be handed in by Blackboard. The final paper must be submitted via Safe Assign (Blackboard).
This page is available approximately two weeks before the course starts.



Contact information

Dr. E. Devroe