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Title: An analysis of recent reforms of police management in England and Wales
Author: Barton, A. H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5948 1144
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2014
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Since the late 1970s successive UK governments, have attempted to implement reforms across the English and Welsh police services. Poor management practice, scandals and reductions in budgets have directed observers to call for a more business-like approach, focusing upon operational as well as organisational reform. Paradoxically although public attitudes towards the police are generally positive it is evident that the social context of policing is changing. The police in England and Wales face the problem of reducing costs while at the same time satisfying the demands and expectations of a society which has become far more divisive and fragmented. The challenge for the police therefore is to introduce innovative ways of improving efficiency and productivity, whilst at the same time improving public opinion as to their effectiveness in their 'fight against crime'. This will require significant reform, which will have a major impact on police organisations in England and Wales, calling into question their values and future role. This thesis describes influential elements of the reform process through a meta-analysis (an objective and quantitative methodology for synthesizing previous studies and research on a particular topic into an overall finding), comprising eight papers. These are put forward to provide the platform for understanding the apparent difficulty in reforming the police in England and Wales. To provide a framework for discussion three key themes are identified - 'Environment', 'Occupational Culture' and 'Lean', that may contribute to future strategic consideration within the police. Through this lens it is clear that they are not mutually exclusive but overlap as the police reform agenda has evolved over time. The first theme therefore takes an 'environmental' perspective and locating discussions within the backdrop of the 2008 global financial crisis, I have highlighted how the UK coalition government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR, 2010) demanded a major review of the strategic and operational functions of the police service. As a result significant budgetary cuts have been made across the police service in England and Wales resulting in significant structural changes and reform of many operational processes. The second theme identifies that radical reforms across the police service have been long overdue and it has been the ability of the police, to a large extent through the strength of their 'occupational culture' to resist reform that has often led to a situation of spiralling costs but little evidence of successful implementation of improvement frameworks. Of the improvement frameworks available, the 'lean' perspective is often favoured due to its emphasis on easily understood tools and techniques that can be quickly and relatively cheaply acquired. This area of 'lean' constitutes the third theme within this thesis and draws upon research within the established domain of lean manufacturing. The key themes are therefore orientated to reflect on research that l have been conducting over the past ten years and the eight journal articles published in support of this research. As such they make their own contribution to the existing conceptual and empirical literature relating to the police. Beyond this I also provide some context to the underlying difficulties in implementing police reform and from my research findings I highlight four areas for consideration. First, the importance of human resource management (HRM) practices in developing the workforce and creating an environment for change. Second, all papers share an interest in improving performance. Third, the adoption of continuous improvement and a lean thinking approach. Fourth and finally, the financial impact of the UK govemment’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR, 2010) and changes to the governance structures of the police with the election of Police and Crime Commissioners in 2012 have the potential to provide a significant impact on the reform of the police in England and Wales.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available