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Title: Policing styles, police centralisation and volume crime rates
Author: Heaton, Robert
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2007
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The 1990s saw increasing Government intervention in the police service, as part of its wider promotion of New Public Management. The principal aim was to reduce crime and disorder. The police service implemented a variety of focussed policing styles, against a background of academic scepticism that police action can significantly reduce crime rates. This thesis explores the extent to which policing styles can affect recorded crime. It places this examination in the context of increasing intervention by central government in the police service generally but especially in the development of various policing strategies. The thesis assesses the value and direction of those policing styles in the light of continuing moves towards centralisation. An examination of influences upon police centralisation is undertaken, in particular the work of the Audit Commission and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. The Association of Chief Police Officers is also identified as playing a key role in the erosion of chief constables' independence, to be replaced by a corporate voice. Chief constables' choices of policing style are considered. It is found that these are more likely to be a product of personal preference than of local socioeconomic and geographic factors. The disadvantage to ‘local needs’ arising from centralisation, may be minimal. The second strand of research identifies the crime trends associated with each policing style after several years of practice. The reductions in crime associated with the use of policing styles are found to be marginal when measured at police force level, but more significant at local level. Current performance indicators are inappropriate for their purpose, being insufficiently sensitive to assess accurately, the results of crime reduction activity. The increased use of qualitative indicators may be a useful approach. The thesis then examines recent developments in centrally-preferred policing styles, which occurred during the course of research. The rise of ‘neighbourhood’ policing is traced and the prospects for its success are found to be fragile. The thesis concludes that an increased emphasis upon the role of the police as service providers, may be more useful than the narrower crime-fighting perspective, driven by blunt, quantitative performance indicators, which held sway in the 1990s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: K Law