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Give and Take: The Bifurcation of Police Reform in Britain

Give and Take: The Bifurcation of Police Reform in Britain AbstractPolice reform is high on the agenda of many societies, both developed and developing. In the early years of the 21st century, police reform in Britain became a central feature of the Labour Government's strategy on crime, and what followed was a reform agenda that by any measure could be deemed ‘radical’. This paper examines the contemporary agenda for police reform in Britain in terms of two paradoxical movements. On the one hand, at the strategic and policy levels, police reform has entailed the ‘disempowerment’ of the police sector, a loss of control and a diminution of authority over decision-making relating to policing. On the other hand, at the operational and ‘street’ levels, police reform has entailed the ‘empowerment’ of the police sector, a widening of police discretion and an enhancement of the authority of the police officer as a community actor. The article examines the processes underpinning this paradox and locates them firmly within the contradictions inherent in the politicisation of crime and policing and the critical status of the public police within the politicisation of crime. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology SAGE

Give and Take: The Bifurcation of Police Reform in Britain

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0004-8658
eISSN
1837-9273
DOI
10.1375/acri.40.3.313
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractPolice reform is high on the agenda of many societies, both developed and developing. In the early years of the 21st century, police reform in Britain became a central feature of the Labour Government's strategy on crime, and what followed was a reform agenda that by any measure could be deemed ‘radical’. This paper examines the contemporary agenda for police reform in Britain in terms of two paradoxical movements. On the one hand, at the strategic and policy levels, police reform has entailed the ‘disempowerment’ of the police sector, a loss of control and a diminution of authority over decision-making relating to policing. On the other hand, at the operational and ‘street’ levels, police reform has entailed the ‘empowerment’ of the police sector, a widening of police discretion and an enhancement of the authority of the police officer as a community actor. The article examines the processes underpinning this paradox and locates them firmly within the contradictions inherent in the politicisation of crime and policing and the critical status of the public police within the politicisation of crime.

Journal

Australian & New Zealand Journal of CriminologySAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2007

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