Naming, shaming and the politics of blaming : police middle management perceptions of the impact of best value
This thesis explores police middle management perceptions of the process of implementing the Best
Value regime. The empirical evidence is based on semi-structured interviews with 41 police middle
managers, which took place between September 2000 and March 2001. The title `Naming, shaming
and the politics of blaming', is indicative of the argument that Best Value can be theorised as a
potentially censorious mode of police governance, where the naming, shaming and blaming of `failure'
could occur. The argument is developed that this culture of blame is a consequence of the kind of
censorious political culture established by the Thatcher government's in the 1980's and to a large
extent, continued more recently by New Labour.
This thesis makes a significant contribution to original knowledge in the following areas. (1) It
generates qualitative empirical data, which in focusing exclusively on the middle ranks makes a
valuable contribution to the policing literature. (2) It takes existing theoretical concepts from the social
sciences and applies them in a new and specific context of Best Value in policing. (3) The generation of
grounded theory challenges the deficiencies of existing literature in the field of research into Best
Value. (4) The thesis makes some predictions for the future of police governance as well as focussing in
on some broad policy recommendations for the reformation of Best Value. (5) The research makes a
consideration of new avenues for research, which are opened up by this thesis.