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In the War of Veracity v Claptrap: The IJC Changed the Political Landscape of World-Wide Policing

Four years ago, the Internet Journal of Criminology (IJC) published my co-authored article (Sutton and Hodgson 2013). That article originally proves that so-called British Home Office "research" into the effectiveness of beat policing is based on nothing more than a ludicrously unrealistic arithmetical calculation made on the back of an envelope. Moreover that very same calculation was, in turn, based on the incredibly silly premise that all beat police officers walk the beat randomly at a fixed speed, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and are unable to perceive a thing. The effective premise therefore, of such Home Office policing "research", is that all beat foot patrol police officers are exactly analogous to completely headless automatons; a notion that renders them conceptually like incognisant elements in a pseudo-scientific 'chemistry of crime.' Clarke and Hough's beat patrol officers are deemed more stupid than hearing and seeing fictional zombies. Yet, as our paper reveals, so many famous and influential criminologists fell for the Zombie Cop Myth, even the arch skeptic Jock Young. Why so many fell for it is a scientific question in need of further research.

A version of our article had earlier been rejected by both the British Journal of Criminology and the Journal of Policing Studies. Perhaps the newly unearthed disconfirming facts were just too painfully embarrassing to print? Were we the victims of establishment in crises resistance to paradigm shift, of the kind described by Kuhn in 1962?

Publication of the article has had considerable impact on policing policy. This is because prior to the publication of 'The Problem with Zombie Cops in Voodoo Criminology' in the IJC, a multitude of leading criminologists and civil servants had traditionally responded negatively to calls for more police officers on the beat by quoting Clarke and Hough's Home Office "research", which claims on the sole basis of their headless automaton premise and back-of-an-envelope sums, that a beat patrol officer typically came within a 100 yards of a burglary in commission once every eight years and even them might not be aware of it. Today, thanks to the IJC, we know that "research" claim is a total falsehood. Moreover, because that very false-premise fabricated defence against expenditure on beat policing has been debunked with facts and reason, the Labour Party manifesto for the 2107 UK election includes a perfectly rational policy to recruit and then put more police officers on the beat. How about that for impact?


If other journals reject your article, for whatever reason, why not engage with our 'arrange it yourself' open peer review system and send it to the IJC? Just scroll down to the end of the Zombie Cops paper to see who peer reviewed it after it was rejected by reviewers and editors of other leading criminology journals.

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