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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 166851 Find in a Library
Title: Police Accountability (From Themes in Contemporary Policing, P 120-132, 1996, William Saulsbury, Joy Mott, and Tim Newburn, eds. -- See NCJ-166841)
Author(s): T Newburn; T Jones
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Independent Cmtte of Inquiry into the Role and Responsibilities of the Police
Vauxhall, London SE11 5RA, England
Sale Source: Independent Cmtte of Inquiry into the Role and Responsibilities of the Police
1 Glyn Street
Vauxhall, London SE11 5RA,
United Kingdom
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This overview of police accountability focuses on external and internal mechanisms of accountability.
Abstract: Two broad trends in external accountability for police are clear over the past three decades; these have been reinforced by the 1994 Police and Magistrates Court Act. First, there has been a move toward the concentration of power at the center. In the main, this has meant that the power of the Home Secretary and the influence of Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) has increased. In many, if not most, cases this expansion and concentration of power has apparently been at the expense of local police authorities. Second, there has been a move away from "political" kinds of accountability and toward "financial" and "managerial" modes. The increasing emphasis on financial accountability can be viewed in the central role played by the activities of the Audit Commission. Management and financial accountability have been described as the "contractual and calculative" mode within which performance is judged against targets that are often set centrally rather than locally and which are evaluated by HMIC. This still allows the doctrine of constabulary independence to remain apparently unchanged, while imposing a variety of constraints on the degree to which that independence is likely to be used. External control mechanisms provide a necessary but not sufficient condition for bringing about an accountable police service. They will be effective, however, only if they are supported and complemented by highly developed internal forms of control. 23 references
Main Term(s): Complaints against police
Index Term(s): Accountability; Civilian Review Boards; Complaint processing
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