Thursday 13 April 2023
11.00 - 13.00
The Business of Security
David Churchill, Miranda Clow :
Business, Labour and Violent Crime: Managing the Risk of Bank Robbery in Postwar Britain
Historians of crime have long been concerned with how crime and criminality were conceptualised and governed in the past. Thus we have considerable work on notions of crime as custom, of the criminal class, civilisation and violence, even of white-collar criminality. One area that awaits investigation, though, is the idea ... (Show more)
Historians of crime have long been concerned with how crime and criminality were conceptualised and governed in the past. Thus we have considerable work on notions of crime as custom, of the criminal class, civilisation and violence, even of white-collar criminality. One area that awaits investigation, though, is the idea of crime as a safety concern. By the 1980s, violence in the workplace specifically had emerged as a significant concern across a range of industries in Britain. The historiography of employee health and safety, meanwhile, has tended to focus on accidents and hazardous materials associated with modern industrial and transport sectors. Connections between violent crime, safety and welfare, then, have yet to be traced historically.
This paper seeks to illuminate the historical roots of thinking about crime as an issue of workplace safety through a study of bank robbery in the later twentieth century. Emerging from research on the history of security and the security industry in modern Britain, it addresses the rise of counter robberies at bank branches as a concern both for bank management and for trade unions. The threat of violence at banks seemed to present a novel form of risk in a hitherto largely peaceable workplace. The paper traces how management and labour responded to crime as a safety risk – how they drew attention to the issue, sought to understand the incidence and nature of the threat, and sought to counteract it. ‘Anti-bandit’ or bullet-proof counter screens offered a means of protecting employees from criminal violence – yet it was a solution that seemed literally to present a barrier to the friendly and personable mode of interaction with customers that bank management desired. Hence, the paper explores how the banks approached the risk of criminal violence in part as a design problem, to which the security industry sought to offer design solutions.
In these ways, the paper seeks to expose historical connections between criminal violence and employee safety, as well as to illuminate themes of risk, safety, labour and private security in Postwar British society. (Show less)
Björn Furuhagen :
Policing without Police. Private Security Guards in Swedish Municipalities during the 20th Century
The aim of the paper is to analyze the role of municipalities and security companies in maintaining law and order in Sweden, during the 20th century. The project is historical in nature but is connected to a contemporary issue that is increasingly discussed. An increasing number of municipalities are hiring ... (Show more)
The aim of the paper is to analyze the role of municipalities and security companies in maintaining law and order in Sweden, during the 20th century. The project is historical in nature but is connected to a contemporary issue that is increasingly discussed. An increasing number of municipalities are hiring the services of security guards from commercial security companies, thus leading to an increase in the number of guards and an expansion of their areas of surveillance.
But the police resources are not sufficient and it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the boundaries between private and public police. Private security guards are also seen by some as a threat to legal security, and there is a lack of public transparency in the activities of security companies. A government inquiry has recently identified the need for new legislation, with expanded rights and improved training for security guards, but also a tighter control from the police over them. (SOU 2021:38)
The historical background to this development, however, is unknown and there is a lack of historical research in Sweden on security guards and security companies. This research gap is quite remarkable, as interest in the history of public police has grown during the 2000s in Sweden.
On the other hand, there is extensive Anglo-Saxon research to relate Swedish development to. In parallel with the development of the modern police during the 19th century, various forms of so-called private police as well as private security companies also emerged. ( for ex: Johnston, The Rebirth of Private Policing, 1992. Miller, A History of Private Policing in the United States, 2019.)
There is also a comprehensive amount of criminological anglosaxian literature, of interest (for ex -Button, Private Policing, 2019. Lea & Fitzgibbon, Privatising Justice, 2019.) Criminologists argues that the changes have been major in comparison with the conditions during mid 20th century. From the end of the 20th century, the previously completely dominant role of the state and the public police has changed so that their monopoly has been diluted. Municpalities and regional bodies, organisations in the local community, and commercial security companies have started to play a much larger role than in the past.
The presentation of this paper is the beginning of a major project on private police etc. in Sweden during the 20th century. The paper will discuss two themes. 1: To what extent have there been private security companies and security guards during the 20th century and when did the security industry begin to grow. 2 How has the state looked at and tried to regulate security companies and their security guards during the 20th century, especially with regard to the relationship with the public police and with regard to issues of legal certainty and democratic control. This also includes questions about how the role of the municipalities and the state has been defined in terms of law and order? (Show less)
Anders Pedersson :
"It is too Easy to Steal!": Private and Public Interests in the Fight against Property Crime in Sweden ca 1935-1960
In 1934 an anti-crime advice center was established in Gothenburg by the municipal police. The center was to advice the general public as well as private companies on how to defend themselves against burglary and theft. Security companies had supplied the police with such things as locks and doors which ... (Show more)
In 1934 an anti-crime advice center was established in Gothenburg by the municipal police. The center was to advice the general public as well as private companies on how to defend themselves against burglary and theft. Security companies had supplied the police with such things as locks and doors which would be displayed at the center where local police officer could advice the citizen or representative of a private company on which measures they should take and which items to buy for the best protection.
In this paper I trace the development of private-public cooperation in the fight against property crime in Sweden over three decades. It focuses on an analysis of the anti-crime advice centers which were set up in several Swedish cities during the 1940s and 1950s. The center in Gothenburg was created and paid for by the police themselves but in time the centers were to be financed by private corporations (mainly insurance companies) although staffed with policemen in public employment.
The paper will show how responsibility for fighting property crime to an extent was distributed by the police, first to private companies, and then to the general public. The police framed this not as a retreat from their responsibility but rather as a mobilization of all of society in the fight against crime. The paper will shed light on a neglected part of history of the police in Sweden and will highlight the gains and cost of cooperation between public and private interest in preventing crime in the decades around World War II. It will also discuss the very materiality of the process of responsibilization. That is, how buying and using locks, doors, alarms and other technology was the way in which the general public in Sweden could be said to doing their part in the crime prevention of Swedish society. (Show less)
Sarah Wilson :
Aligning History and Social Science Theory: Financial Crime and the Nineteenth-century Origins of Criminal Acts and Actors not Conforming to ‘Popular Stereotypes’
In taking the idea of criminality not conforming to ‘popular stereotyping’ from the seminal work of Edwin Sutherland (Sutherland, 1945), this proposed paper brings together social science with history through examining Britain’s experiences of misbehaviours commonly found termed ‘financial crime’. This term is widely used across key discourses drawn from ... (Show more)
In taking the idea of criminality not conforming to ‘popular stereotyping’ from the seminal work of Edwin Sutherland (Sutherland, 1945), this proposed paper brings together social science with history through examining Britain’s experiences of misbehaviours commonly found termed ‘financial crime’. This term is widely used across key discourses drawn from academic scholarship, reflections from legal practitioners, and in commentaries within political and policy spheres, and yet seldom explained. It is also a term which is much criticised (e.g. IMF, 2001), and the proposed paper explores the ‘performative’ dimensions of this label and narratives generated by it (per Butler, 2010); per Hansen, 2014) for assertions currently made that these misbehaviours are “among the most difficult” for “the legal system to deal with, let alone control” (Tomasic, 2011).
The paper showcases primary research conducted on nineteenth-century criminal ‘financial crime’ responses in Britain dating from c 1850, drawing primarily on examples of legislative change and criminal trials (Wilson, 2014). The paper explains why these are properly considered remarkable responses to financial impropriety. This is on account of how ‘financial crime’ (a term actually used by Victorian contemporaries) was located at the intersection of two colossus of law making and wider societal agendas, and was not a comfortable fit either within transformations in responding to crime, or articulating law with industrial capitalism. The paper argues that these earliest modern criminal ‘financial crime’ responses can, and should be, configured as endeavours of a society which although ill at ease with itself, and in many ways troubled by the pace of change, and by many of the realities of ‘progress’ characterising the ‘Age of Reform’ (per Woodward, 1938), was determined to respond to ‘misconduct’ amongst its respectable business elite which was far from easy to comprehend.
From this, the paper draws on European Commission reflection on recent legislative change embodied in the Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Market Abuse (CSMAD) 2014, and also new analytical conceptualisation of (non-criminal) responses to unlawful activities as ‘quasi criminal’ (Franssen and Harding, 2022) to illuminate a complex if not paradoxical legacy of these earliest responses. In doing so the paper argues that a lasting legacy of Britain’s nineteenth-century responses might underpin assertions that financial crimes are “among the most difficult crimes for the legal system to deal with, let alone control”. (Show less)