Collaboration, consultation and strategic consequences in a north-west constabulary
This thesis examines processes and practicalities of police collaboration with partner agencies and consultation with the public. It considers police and partner agency perspectives in detail, highlighting practical and strategic outcomes of collaboration and consultation. The police service in England and Wales along with most of the public sector, has been driven by central government to collaborate with other agencies and consult with the public for the last three decades, especially since 1979 under the influence of New Public Management. The formal obligation to do so has increased considerably since the late 1990s. Since the Labour administration came into power in 1997, collaboration and consultation have become core ingredients of many government led policy initiatives. This in turn has increased the emphasis placed upon these two processes within the police. The most recent and significant initiatives affecting collaboration and consultation will be considered within this thesis as will the police and partner representatives' outlook on these initiatives. Funded as anESRC (CASE) studentship, the research was conducted in close collaboration and with support from a Constabulary in the North-West of England. This created an important opportunity to undertake in-depth observational qualitative research on the police. This qualitative case study approach utilises police and collaborative agency respondents' narratives, gained in the main through 35 semi-structured interviews. The use of rich narrative data illuminates the intricate practices, process and perceptions of the police and their partners. It is argued that while there is much written on 'outcomes' and 'what works', there exists a lack of qualitative analytical academic research detailing the perceptions of those involved to highlight the hidden processes, practicalities, and consequences surrounding the introduction of government policies stipulating collaboration and consultation.