European Journal of Policing Studies


Policing Paris

‘Out of’ or ‘still in’ Napoleonic Time?

Keywords Paris, plural policing, privatization, policing tradition, security architecture
Authors Christian Mouhanna en Marleen Easton
Author's information

Christian Mouhanna
Prof. Dr. Christian Mouhanna is Directeur adjoint, Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions pénales (CESDIP), CNRS (UMR 8183), Ministère de la Justice, Université Versailles Saint-Quentin, France (corresp.:

Marleen Easton
Prof. Dr. Marleen Easton is director of the research group ‘Governing & Policing Security’ ( located at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium.
  • Abstract

      No scholar, policy-maker or practitioner of policing could be taken seriously who did not acknowledge and take into account the radical transformation which privatization and pluralisation has brought to the field of policing (Jones & Newburn, 2006). Nevertheless, this transformation is largely influenced by the nature of the policing tradition in each nation state. To illustrate this argument a descriptive analysis of plural policing in the metropolis Paris is presented. Being part of the Napoleonic policing tradition in France, Paris takes up a unique political and administrative position which affects its security architecture. It stands out as the most developed example of centralisation and the State’s wish to control its citizens. Despite the observed pluralisation in terms of privatization; Paris is still a ‘state’ in the state. Its Napoleonic tradition largely ‘suppresses’ civil non-commercial initiatives and influences the development of municipal police forces and other public uniformed surveillance agencies in Paris.

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