"No shit Sherlock"! Canine DNA and policing public space


Langstone, D. 2021. "No shit Sherlock"! Canine DNA and policing public space. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 41 (3/4), pp. 455-474. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-05-2020-0180
AuthorsLangstone, D.

This paper argues that this animal surveillance has the potential for considerable function creep going far outside the scheme's original objectives and acts as a conduit for more problematic surveillance of humans. This results in social sorting of people with subsequent unforeseen consequences leading to discrimination and curtailment of freedoms for both animals and their owners. Ultimately this opens people up to further intrusive targeting by commercial interests and, more alarmingly, scrutiny from law enforcement agencies. This empirical study examining an initiative involving the collection of canine DNA sources data from publicly available Cabinet , Select Committee and Scrutiny Committee records from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD). It also draws on news media sources, publicity material from the company running the scheme and from this and other local authorities. Methods include analysis of documents, semiotic and discourse analysis.

This paper highlights the importance of animals to surveillance studies and establishing the extent to which animals are a part of the surveillant assemblage in their own right. It also demonstrates how nonhuman animals extend the reach of the surveillant assemblage. In the theorising of surveillance, animals have been largely overlooked. Epidemiological studies proliferate, yet the role of animals in many aspects of everyday surveillance has been neglected.

KeywordsSurveillance; Surveillant Assemblage; Animals; Canine DNA; Public Space Protection Orders
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Journal citation41 (3/4), pp. 455-474
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-05-2020-0180
Publication dates
Online16 Nov 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Jun 2020
Deposited01 Sep 2020
Copyright holder© 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited
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Accepted author manuscript
License: CC BY-NC 4.0
File access level: Anyone

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