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Clifford Shearing

Professor of Law and Leader of the Global Risk Governance programme, University of Cape Town

Prof. Clifford Shearing leads the Global Risk Governance programme, Public Law Department, Law Faculty, University of Cape Town.

He holds professorships at the Law Faculty, University of Cape Town; Griffith Institute of Criminology, Griffith University, Australia; and the School of Criminology, University of Montreal.

Shearing has, throughout his career, sought to reshape understandings of policing. He, with his collaborators, has coined terms such as “mass private property”, the “governance of security” and “nodal governance” that have become common parlance within the criminological lexicon. His analyses have been influential in developing "policing studies" as an area of enquiry beyond "police studies”.

His current work is focused on reshaping the boundaries of criminological studies in ways that enable criminologists to engage with the shifts in the risk landscapes that are characterising the 21st Century.

Shearing has been actively engaged in enhancing the safety of people lives through a variety of policy and other practical engagements across the globe — for example, in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and the United Kingdom. He co-authored the influential 1999 Patten Commission report on policing in Northern Ireland and has recently co-authored a landmark 2014 report by the Council of Canadian Academies, commissioned by the Government of Canada, entitled Policing Canada in the 21st Century: New Policing for New Challenges. This report builds on early co-authored reports published by the Canadian Law Reform Commission on global developments in policing.

He has also been actively involved in mentoring graduate student — since 2010, thirteen of his doctoral students have been awarded PhDs.

At a practice level, Shearing is currently engaged, with the support of the Mauerberger Foundation, in assisting young South Africans who are making a difference in transforming human engagements with earth systems through EESI (Environmental Entrepreneurs Support Initiative) to significantly extend their contributions.


  • –present
    Professor of Law and Leader of the Global Risk Governance programme, University of Cape Town