Source: (2006) Theoretical Criminology. 10(4): 449–479

This article engages with insights from the ‘(post-) regulatory state’ literature in critically exploring the changing face of policing and security. It subjects notions of ‘networked governance’ and ‘responsive regulation’ to empirical examination in the British context. The article illustrates the manner in which state anchoring constitutes a distinctive characteristic of contemporary security governance. It suggests that far from state withdrawal, in relation to the regulation of social behaviour, the British state is engaged in ambitious projects of social engineering in which the deployment of hierarchy, command and interventionism are prevalent. Recent trends in social regulation have seen hyper-innovation against a background of the politicization of behaviour. In this context, the article highlights concerns about the feasibility of ‘responsive regulation’.