The Police and Community Justice: The Lambeth Policing Experiment

Published 13/06/2005
Type Article
Author(s) Chris Crowther-Dowey
Corresponding Authors Chris Crowther-Dowey, Sheffield Hallam University


This article focuses on the relevance of the idea of community justice for understanding the policing of drugs in England and Wales. It considers from a historical perspective the regulation of drugs in Lambeth, focusing in particular on the Lambeth policing experiment conducted in 2001. It is shown that elements of this twenty-first century experiment had been carried out on an informal basis for twenty years previously. Moreover, it is suggested that communitarian values have influenced police work in relation to drugs and that there is considerable emphasis on community consultation and community engagement. It is argued that schemes such as the Lambeth experiment go some way towards countering criminalisation processes and satisfying the requirements of the ethos of new public management (NPM). However, the organised criminal gangs responsible for distributing hard drugs will remain relatively unaffected as the safety and security of law abiding citizens continues to be threatened by the escalating violence between rival suppliers.