Research Output

The role of emotion, space and place in police custody in England: Towards a geography of police custody

  Police custody is a complex environment, where police officers, detainees and other staff interact in a number of different emotional, spatial and transformative ways. Utilising ethnographic and interview data collected as part of a five-year study which aims to rigorously examine ‘good’ police custody, this paper analyses the ways that liminality and temporality impact on emotion in police custody. Architecture has previously been noted as an important consideration in relation to social control, with literature linking the built environment with people’s emotional ‘readings’ of space. No work, however, has examined the links between temporality, liminality and emotional performativity in a police custody context. In this environment, power dynamics are linked to past experiences of the police, with emotions being intrinsically embodied, relational, liminal and temporal. Emotion management is therefore an important way of conceptualising the dynamic relationships in custody. The paper concludes by arguing that emotional aftershocks symbolise the liminal experience of detainees’ understanding of the police custody process once released, noting that it is important to understand the microscale, lived experience of police custody in order to develop broader understanding of broader social and policing policy in a police custody context.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    11 August 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Funders:

    Economic and Social Research Council


Wooff, A., & Skinns, L. (2017). The role of emotion, space and place in police custody in England: Towards a geography of police custody. Punishment and Society,



Police, police custody, political science.

Monthly Views:

Available Documents