Encounters between security guards and young people: the extent and biases of formal social control

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


There is a distinct lack of knowledge about how the rise of private security relates to young people in adversarial encounters. Prior studies suggest that the policing of young people by police is a common occurrence and social biases exist. However, policing of young people by private security guards has gained much less attention. Drawing on a large-scale youth survey (N = 5826), this article examines the extent and social biases of adversarial contacts between private security guards and youths. The findings showed that 29% of 15- to 16-year-old Finnish youths reported adversarial security guard contact in a year. The open-ended responses indicated that young people were typically suspected of shoplifting, being a nuisance or drinking alcohol. Social biases were examined using the differential selection hypothesis, which suggests that some groups are disproportionately targeted. Multivariate analysis showed that, as expected, delinquency and alcohol use were associated with adversarial contacts. However, when these were controlled, living in a city, living in a non-nuclear family and low educational aspirations increased the likelihood of security guard interventions. The article compares the findings with prior studies of police control of youth. Similar results are that the probability for an individual to be selected is partly defined through his/her social status. However, results diverge concerning the gender effect. Our findings indicated that both boys and girls were equally likely to be targeted. The article places the findings with reference to the persistence of the labelling theoretical effects and discusses the transformations of policing connected to young people.
LehtiPolicing and Society
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2016
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


  • 5141 Sosiologia

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