Understanding the Quiet Times: The Role of Periods of “Nothing Much Happening” in Police Work

Rowe, Mike and Rowe, Michael (2021) Understanding the Quiet Times: The Role of Periods of “Nothing Much Happening” in Police Work. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 089124162110172. ISSN 0891-2416 (In Press)

Text (Advance online version)
08912416211017277AdvanceOnlineVersion.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (166kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/08912416211017277


Much media and academic representations of police work focuses on action, and moments of excitement, drama, and danger. In this article, we consider, instead, those long periods of relative inactivity that characterize routine operational policing, which we refer to as times of “nothing” (consciously using quote marks since we argue that these quiet periods are actually opportunities in which valuable work is done). We identify three types of “nothing”: nothing that is inevitable and necessary; nothing as a creative space; and nothing as the absence of demand. We argue that we need to understand these and their part in policing practice. Moreover, recognizing the importance of “nothing” in police work serves as a corrective to politicized representations of policing and can help derail aggressive, hypermasculinized policing tropes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: policing, observation, nothing, boredom
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2021 11:28
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 11:16
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46338

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics