Cops and Spooks: The Role of Police in Counterterrorism

  • David H. Bayley
  • David Weisburd


This chapter examines the role of full-service or general-duties policing in combating terrorism. In particular we are concerned with whether the counterterrorism activities of covert intelligence gathering and disruption are playing a larger role in the activities of police agencies today, and if so to what extent such a role is impacting the services that police are expected to provide in Western democracies. We begin with a comparison of national structures for conducting counterterrorism in Western democracies. Then, we explore the impact of counterterrorism post 9/11 on policing and specify specific factors that affect the strength of its impact. Finally, drawing heavily on information from the United States and Israel, the chapter discusses arguments for and against the involvement of police in covert terrorism prevention. Overall, we conclude that general duties police agencies should be cautious in adopting a strong counterterrorism function.


Police Force Local Police Homeland Security Police Agency Terrorist Threat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Tal Jonathan, Gali Aviv, Rochelle Schnurr, and Kristen Miggans for their assistance in the preparation of this manuscript. We owe a special debt to Tal Jonathan and Simon Perry for their comments and suggestions regarding high-policing strategies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminal JusticeState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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