New crime research suggests law enforcement may be falling short due to little knowledge of ‘enforcers’


A first-of-its-kind academic study has looked at the role of ‘enforcers’ – members or associates of criminal organisations tasked with settling disputes through violent and nefarious means.

The research, led by Dr Mohammed Rahman at Birmingham City University and co-authored by academics at University of the West of Scotland and Metropolitan State University, consisted of interviews with males in enforcer roles from the West Midlands and West Scotland and examines the articulated, identifiable pathways into criminal enforcement.

Social Sciences

Birmingham City University

Findings from the study suggest that enforcers may often have occupational roles that consist of hyper-masculine behaviour and in turn enhance their ability to become recruited by organised criminals. Findings demonstrated a reliance on strong reputational profiling to ensure repeat business and financial gain for enforcers.

The study also found enforcers fit the notion of ‘partners in crime’, being bounded by established social ties as well as existing friendships and occupational relationships. One enforcer explained that having a ‘name’ is crucial for reputation and position when undertaking enforcement duties.

“Certain enforcement activities, like debt collection, can be complex,” said criminologist Dr Rahman.

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