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Title: Holding the police to account : a critical analysis of the structures of police accountability and the introduction and operation of Police and Crime Commissioners
Author: Cooper, S. J.
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis critically examines structures of police accountability, in particular the introduction and operation of Police and Crime Commissioners [PCCs]. The first chapter begins by identifying accountability as the very bedrock of policing. Accountability is then defined before examining its key facets, why a suitable structure is imperative and how accountability carries the burden of securing police legitimacy. The second and third chapters highlight how the system of police developed while identifying critical ‘turning points’ in police accountability. The fourth chapter explores the present structure and model of police accountability. This chapter also examines reports which highlight potential teething problems and imperfections. The fifth chapter outlines the methodology for the qualitative study involving elite research interviews with senior stakeholders in policing at a regional and national level, including relevant persons in Government. The sixth chapter analyses this data and argues that whilst PCCs may lead to efficiency gains, there are important questions about the quality of accountability. Additionally, the accountability of Chief Constables is contended to vary considerably and in practice likely frustrated by the ‘one to one’ accountability relationship between Chief Constable and PCC. Police accountability is also identified as possibly over dependent on this relationship. Moreover, PCCs are argued to lack accountability between elections. The seventh chapter contends that using elections to achieve democratic police accountability is fraught with difficulties and potentially carries significant risks for policing. Additionally, the PCCs power to remove Chief Constables is argued to cause two possibly corrosive impacts on policing and police accountability. This power is also identified as a mechanism of disempowerment which may in practice lead to Chief Constables being displaced by PCCs. Concluding, the present structure and model of police accountability is argued to be risky, maybe defective and possibly unsuitable for police accountability and policing in the longer term.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: K Law (General) ; KD England and Wales