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CALL FOR PAPERS: Involving citizens in Law Enforcement: Adopting and Adapting Participatory Technologies in Urban Policing.

  • April 7, 2020

Panel Proposal for the European Society of Criminology annual conference, Bucharest 9th-12th September 2020


Panel Organizers:

Dr. Lior Volinz, Crime and Society Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Prof. Dr. Lucas Melgaço, Crime and Society Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Police departments worldwide continue to face austerity measures and limited personnel numbers, resulting in reductions of police street presence, increased formalization of police-work (Terpstra et al 2019) and an additional burden of social-welfare roles on police agents (Lumsden and Black 2018). To bridge the gap between citizens’ demands and the police’s limited capacities, law enforcement authorities increasingly seek to adopt new technologies towards the further involvement of residents in urban policing. These include mobile applications to ‘crowdsource’ (Trottier 2014) reports on crimes, minor offences or suspicious behaviour from the general public; digital messaging services to facilitate direct contact with local agents; and new other online, digital or virtual interfaces to support crime victims and mitigate the fear of crime. This panel delves into how these new state-citizen interfaces re-shape crime prevention, judicial systems, the expectations of citizens and the responses by police and other state actors (including local authorities and social security institutions).


In this panel we particularly encourage papers on, yet not limited to, the following themes:

• How new participatory technologies in law enforcement are experienced by citizens and by police and other enforcement agents.

• The development, significance and consequences of mobile city applications in tackling crime and minor offences.

• The online presence of the police, including in communication through social media.

• New technologies used to facilitate and promote neighbourhood-watch programmes. • Digital and virtual interfaces in police stations, including remote-work and digital support to crime victims.

• The (re)distribution of citizens’ rights, resources and privileges following the introduction of new participatory technologies in law enforcement.

• Participatory surveillance and crowdsourcing in policing.


Abstract proposals, of a maximum 1500 characters including spaces, must be submitted by May 26th. Abstracts should be sent, accompanied by a short bio, to and

Acceptance/rejection of abstracts will be communicated to authors on May 28th.