skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 204863 Find in a Library
Title: Police Governance and Official Inquiry (From Crime, Truth and Justice: Official Inquiry, Discourse, Knowledge, P 115-137, 2004, George Gilligan and John Pratt, eds., -- See NCJ-204857)
Author(s): David Dixon
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter examines official discourses surrounding the police and how official inquiries serve to shape those discourses.
Abstract: In many cases, official inquiries into police practices merely obfuscate the issues at hand in an attempt to protect the authority and legitimacy of the police. The author makes this point through an analysis of different police inquiries, such as the Jones Commission, which was charged with uncovering allegations of corruption involving prostitution and gambling within the police department. The Jones Commission asked leading questions of witnesses and conducted the inquiry in such a way as to underscore the legitimacy of the police and to brush aside any misconduct as individual in nature and not a widespread police problem. In the late 1970’s, with the coming to power of Margaret Thatcher’s neo-conservative government, official inquiries ceased for a decade while the governance of the police changed and became more formally organized. Reforms in police governance grew from internal Home Office inquiries with minimal external review. New institutions eventually developed around the policing institution that added crime-fighting capacity to issues that had proved beyond the reach of typical police officers issues such as organized crime and international drug trafficking. In 1997, with the election of the New Labour government, another round of radical police reform began that shifted focus away from the rhetoric of efficiency and effectiveness and towards raising police standards by relying on evidence-based practices. The accumulated case law on policing, while not an official public inquiry, provided a significant source of regulation concerning police practices. However, commissions are still deemed useful in that their establishment allows legitimate delay while public concern about a matter dissipates and allows the government to distance itself from controversial matters. However, when it comes to implementing recommendations made by official commissions, the government routinely turns a blind eye. In conclusion, the author notes that the world of policing today is more complex and incorporates audit, evaluation, analysis, and reporting functions into its everyday operations. However, there is still room for public inquiries, particularly in terms of human rights commitments. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Foreign police; Police corruption
Index Term(s): Commission reports; United Kingdom (UK)
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.