Workforce modernisation in the police service

Barry Loveday

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This article considers the application and potential impact of workforce modernisation in England and Wales. It highlights some problems surrounding current police hierarchies and specialisation particularly in relation to the decline in visible policing. It suggests that bureaucratic growth within police forces can be matched to a decline in effective command and control of police services. Lengthened chains of command and narrower spans of control have, within larger police forces, diluted the supervisory capacity and effectiveness of police managers. It is argued that this feature reinforces the need for smaller, more manageable units of policing. The article thereafter highlights a central theme identified within HMIC’s 2004 Thematic Report on Modernising the Police Service. This is the creation of a career pathway for all police personnel and, long term, the ability to move between warranted and nonwarranted police posts. It recognises the positive position taken by ACPO in relation to modernisation. It also draws on data collected from one workforce modernisation pilot site, Bexley Operational Command Unit (OCU), particularly in relation to the successful use of police staff ‘Investigative Support Officers’ in processing low-level cases. Evidence from the Bexley site indicates that workforce modernisation strategy provides the opportunity to improve both overall police effectiveness and the relationship between police and community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-144
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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