Electing police and crime commissioners in England and Wales: prospecting for the democratisation of policing

Stuart Lister, Michael Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores the prospects for greater democratic governance and accountability of policing arising from the inaugural elections for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across England and Wales. It argues that the democratic credentials of PCCs have been undermined not only by a failure of local politics to confer on them a strong mandate but also by wider inadequacies in how their role and remit have been defined and structured in law. The analysis proceeds to consider whether PCCs represent a truly local vision of governance, particularly in the light of the size of their areas of jurisdiction, but also given the centralised political affiliations of many PCCs. The implications for whether PCCs will be able to deliver a more socially democratic form of policing are discussed. The article concludes by suggesting the prospects for more democratically governed policing depend on a much wider range of social, economic and political features than a cyclical election for a Commissioner. Few of these are within the remit of PCCs and the risk of populism and majoritarianism might mean that the new office privileges rather than democratises local policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-377
JournalPolicing and Society
Volume25
Issue number4
Early online date3 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jan 2014

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