Policing performance: the impact of performance targets on police forces in England and Wales

Barry Loveday

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This paper considers the impact of performance management and the application of targets on public services, particularly the police service. It identifies the unintended consequences of targets on the delivery of service and notes that in 1999 HMIC were to raise serious doubts as to the value of this management approach for public policing in England and Wales. It considers the impact of ‘micro-management’ on services that performance management ultimately represents. It goes on to reassess the purported attractions of performance management and presents an alternative in terms of a more holistic and local management approach based on a ‘systems’ application which highlights the value of local feedback as a driver for service delivery. It challenges the highly centralised and mechanistic orientation which performance management, as pursued by New Labour, now represents. It concludes by arguing that a ‘systems approach’ would fit well within the planned roll-out of the new Neighbourhood Policing strategy while also providing a sound platform for the Basic Command Unit reform proposals recently identified by an influential police association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-292
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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