Journal Article

Hail to the Chief?—How far does the Introduction of Elected Police Commissioners Herald a US-Style Politicization of Policing for the UK?

Fraser Sampson

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 6, issue 1, pages 4-15
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/par058
Hail to the Chief?—How far does the Introduction of Elected Police Commissioners Herald a US-Style Politicization of Policing for the UK?

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Until now there has been a clear distinction between the electoral nexus in the administration of local policing in the United States and that of the 43 police forces of England and Wales. Local electoral processes have traditionally had a strong link to policing in the USA while in the UK any such links with elected individuals—have been pointedly eschewed. However, the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 will introduce elected Police and Crime Commissioners prompting fears this will herald a ‘US-style’ politicization of policing in the UK. The argument behind the apprehension is almost syllogistic: American law enforcement is blighted by politics; the legislation will impose the ‘American’ model on the British police; therefore the legislative changes will bring political ruination down on our policing. This article presents a comparative analysis of the constitutional and legal realities behind the legislation, looks at how far the concerns about ‘US-style’ politicization are borne out by the legislative realities and whether it is the dissimilarities from the US arrangements that in fact hold the greatest risks for one of the oldest and most venerated police services in the world.

Journal Article.  6754 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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