Philip Tovey – Temporal range, future mandate and strategic shaping; the existential and cognitive phenomenological ethics of preventative policing

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Philip Tovey is from Canterbury Christ Church University, and the paper is titled ‘Temporal range, future mandate and strategic shaping; the existential and cognitive phenomenological ethics of preventative policing’.


Abstract: “Since the inception of modern policing, its founding strategic instruction was to ‘prevent crime’. Historically, policing strategy approached prevention through a geospatial predisposition in order to deter criminality. However recent years have seen a shift away from this area-based effect to an individual-centric model of tactical prioritisation, of which one's vulnerability to a given threat forms a transcendentally subjective centre of gravity. This paper will propose two fundamental challenges for UK policing operating a threat-based, preventative and individual-centric strategy; (1) prevention requires accurate prediction of and morally justifiable ingress into the subjective future and (2) there is no conceptual definition of what constitutes legitimate future reach in order to prevent crime. By firstly grounding strategy in an existential framing of 'the threat of meaninglessness', a cognitive phenomenological analysis of 'future-states' is conducted to expose issues of future mandate, temporal range and strategic shaping; providing a contemporary insight into, and an empirical reading of some of phenomenologies most challenging concepts such as time and more specifically, future-consciousness. Through the examination of some of policing's more divisive operational developments, such as para-militarization, early infant intervention programmes and advanced predictive analytics, the issue of futures and their disputably distinctive qualitative character, surfaces underlying strategic fallibilities in preventative, individual-centric approaches to policing within a paradigm of vulnerability”


The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at:


The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal:

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