Commissioning Accountability: Change to Governance and the Police

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As recessionary pressures take effect and public sector services, including the police, attempt to ensure the services they provide remain effective, efficient and economically viable in times of austerity, reforms to governance in an effort to increase accountability must be considered as important as any procedural or structural reform. This article considers the strategic and economic impact of introducing directly elected Crime Commissioners within England and Wales, in reforms to policing that have beendescribed as the most radical in decades. Redistributing accountability and reordering the balance of power to create a new post-tripartite system involving possibly four different interested parties, including Chief Constables, the Home Secretary, Crime Commissioners and the Commissioner Panels, will undoubtedly have seriousimplications for the provision of policing services. Whilst not a panacea for issues surrounding accountability within policing, the new proposed changes, if implemented correctly and robustly with financial, public and political support, may have the opportunity to reform the policing landscape by increasing transparency and re-engaging the police with the different communities across the United Kingdom. In addition to these positive connotations, potential problems and difficulties have also been discussed throughout this article, which must be acknowledged and considered carefully if the proposed changes are to have the desired effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320 - 328
Number of pages8
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • accountability
  • commissioners
  • governance
  • police


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