Popular policing? Sector policing and the reinvention of police accountability
The aim of this thesis is to explain the change in the debate about police accountability in Britain that took place in the 1980s. In seeking such an explanation in the reinvention of police accountability over this period, a four dimensional analysis of accountability is presented. This is used to examine, in turn, the history of police governance in London, the debates about police accountability that took place in the 1980s, and the implications of the growing influence of community policing that culminated in the introduction by the Metropolitan Police of a new style of ‘sector policing’. A series of questions about whether and how police accountability was reinvented in the 1980s are posed, and the implications of the reconceptualisation that took place are assessed in their historical and theoretical contexts. Use is also made of empirical data drawn from a study of the implementation of sector policing on an inner city police area in North London. It is argued that far-reaching changes took place in the conceptualisation of police accountability during the 1980s on all four of the dimensions identified, and that this reinvention of the relationship between police and people made policing in London neither more democratic nor more consensual.