This paper contests traditional analyses of high policing, suggesting that it needs to be decoupled (in theoretical terms) from its umbilical linkage to public actors and the preservation and augmentation of state authority. Arguing that conventional conceptualizations of high policing fail to acknowledge the role of private actors, we adopt the term ‘private high policing’ to more accurately reflect the complexity of this paradigm. In particular, we note a long legacy of protecting dominant interests within corporate power structures, as well as increased involvement in outsourced security services for Western states. This has reached its zenith in the recent conflict/reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Eschewing conventional notions of the ‘proxy’ debate, we propose a more complex relationship of obfuscation whereby both public and private high policing actors cross-permeate and coalesce in the pursuit of symbiotic state and corporate objectives.

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