The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the opportunities and challenges provided by the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), and particularly the prospects for enhanced public accountability of policing as a result. It considers how the new accountability framework might work in practice and in comparison with the existing arrangements of Police Authorities and highlights the key accountability relationships on which success is likely to depend.
The paper draws on a range of published research on public accountability and applies the key ideas to the particular context of police governance and accountability.
While the plans for directly elected PCCs have proved controversial, the overall view is that the new approach to police governance deserves its chance because it seems to offer at least some potential for stronger public accountability. Much depends on the three key accountability relationships and probably it will take some time for clear, significant and lasting impacts to show themselves. But in four years time, when the next round of elections are due, the nature of the challenge of injecting more effective public accountability into policing will be better understood.
The paper offers conceptual insights on the governance and accountability framework for policing, both as currently exists and as is intended with directly elected PCCs. It also highlights the three key accountability relationships which lie at the heart of the new arrangements and upon which success, to a large extent, will depend.
Raine, J.W. and Keasey, P. (2012), "From Police Authorities to Police and Crime Commissioners: Might policing become more publicly accountable?", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 122-134. https://doi.org/10.1108/20470891211275911
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