Motivations, money and modern policing: accounting for cold case reviews in an age of austerity

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    Over the past two decades ‘cold case review conferences’ have become an established component of how police forces respond to long-term unsolved major crimes. This article examines the place of cold case major crime reviews in UK policing in an age of austerity. In particular, it focuses on examining how police justify expending resource on these reviews, considering why particular motivations have been advanced and in turn what these reveal about modern policing. Informed by empirical data collected during an eight-month ethnographic study of a Major Crime Review Team and interviews with key actors involved in managing and conducting cold case reviews, the article suggests a typology of motives used to justify the continued investment in reviewing historic unsolved major crimes. The discussion concludes by considering what these motivations and their invocation reveal about the current policing practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)362-375
    JournalPolicing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2013


    • cold case reviews
    • murder
    • stranger rape
    • major crimes
    • motivations
    • austerity


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