Yes Prime Minister
: Early indications of the impact of a change in policing governance and the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners across England & Wales

  • Steven A. Watts

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In November 2012, voters across England and Wales went to the polls for the first time to elect Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), individual political office holders responsible for the governance of policing in local police forces. The PCCs replaced seventeen member Police Authorities that had been in place since 1964. The Conservative party had made the concept a key policy in its manifesto for the 2010 general election and the ensuing coalition government rapidly implemented it. The governance problem to which PCCs were seen as the answer was a perceived lack of police accountability and a democratic deficit in public participation in police governance. This thesis undertakes a review of organisational governance literature, particularly with regards to the public sector and the police service, before moving on to discussing the political journey to the PCC model of policing governance. The literature and a pilot study indicated that the interpersonal relationship between the Chief Constable and the PCC was crucial in terms of understanding the governance dynamic. The research therefore focussed upon qualitative accounts of sixteen serving Chief Constables and fifteen Police and Crime Commissioners, semi-structured interviews were undertaken and subjected to content analysis. The findings indicated that there have been benefits as a result of the introduction of PCCs, in terms of a greater speed and efficiency in decision making, reduced bureaucracy, more effective partnership working and a more focussed approach that comes with a full time role. There were, however significant issues disclosed regarding the PCC governance model; a lack of accountability, issues of personal resilience and the risks of the interpersonal relationship between PCCs and the Chief Constable and its impact upon operational delivery. These issues need to be addressed if the project driven by the Conservative Party of the early 2000’s is to become an effective governance structure that both enables the police to serve and protect communities, while also being effectively held to account.
Date of AwardFeb 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBarry Loveday (Supervisor)

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