Police 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.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2007|