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Holding the police to account: A critical analysis of the structures of police accountability and the introduction and operation of Police and Crime Commissioners

Cooper, SJ (2018) Holding the police to account: A critical analysis of the structures of police accountability and the introduction and operation of Police and Crime Commissioners. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

This thesis critically examines structures of police accountability, in particular the introduction and operation of Police and Crime Commissioners [PCCs]. The first chapter begins by identifying accountability as the very bedrock of policing. Accountability is then defined before examining its key facets, why a suitable structure is imperative and how accountability carries the burden of securing police legitimacy. The second and third chapters highlight how the system of police developed while identifying critical ‘turning points’ in police accountability. The fourth chapter explores the present structure and model of police accountability. This chapter also examines reports which highlight potential teething problems and imperfections. The fifth chapter outlines the methodology for the qualitative study involving elite research interviews with senior stakeholders in policing at a regional and national level, including relevant persons in Government. The sixth chapter analyses this data and argues that whilst PCCs may lead to efficiency gains, there are important questions about the quality of accountability. Additionally, the accountability of Chief Constables is contended to vary considerably and in practice likely frustrated by the ‘one to one’ accountability relationship between Chief Constable and PCC. Police accountability is also identified as possibly over dependent on this relationship. Moreover, PCCs are argued to lack accountability between elections. The seventh chapter contends that using elections to achieve democratic police accountability is fraught with difficulties and potentially carries significant risks for policing. Additionally, the PCCs power to remove Chief Constables is argued to cause two possibly corrosive impacts on policing and police accountability. This power is also identified as a mechanism of disempowerment which may in practice lead to Chief Constables being displaced by PCCs. Concluding, the present structure and model of police accountability is argued to be risky, maybe defective and possibly unsuitable for police accountability and policing in the longer term.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 11:48
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2018 19:19
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21269

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