The accountability of policing

Authored by: Trevor Jones

Handbook of Policing

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843925002
eBook ISBN: 9780203118238
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308529


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In the first edition of the Handbook of Policing, this chapter began by commenting upon the marked de-politicisation of debates about police accountability in England and Wales over the previous two decades. Since then, a number of important developments have contributed to a significant re-emergence of political debate about the institutional framework of police accountability. The government's unsuccessful attempt in 2005/06 to restructure policing in England and Wales into a smaller number of large ‘strategic’ forces gave rise to a campaign of opposition that played heavily on the importance of maintaining locally accountable policing. The Neighbourhood Policing programme, introduced from 2005 onwards, was based on the premise that policing is delivered most effectively by locally responsive policing teams at the level of the neighbourhood. More recently, both opposition and government announcements have suggested that, whatever the outcome of the next General Election, reforms involving some form of increased local electoral input into policing policy are highly likely. In the Queen's Speech of May 2008, the Prime Minister announced plans to make policing more accountable to locally elected representatives. We therefore find ourselves on the threshold of some highly significant decisions about the future structure and accountability of policing in England and Wales.

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