The idea of the political 'independence' of the police: international interpretations and experiences

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Title The idea of the political 'independence' of the police: international interpretations and experiences
Author Stenning, Philip
Book Title Police and Government Relations: Who is calling the shots?
Editor Margaret E. Beare and Tonita Murray
Year Published 2007
Place of publication Toronto
Publisher University of Toronto Press
Abstract This chapter serves to clarify some of the key concepts. By graphically illustrating the relationship between degrees of 'control' and degrees of accountability it is argued that the two concepts are not incompatible. The term independence is then used in the chapter to refer only to decision-making that falls in what is pictured as the fourth quadrant: 'full accountability' with 'no control'. The chapter then outlines the scope or range of the potentially 'independent' decision-making tasks. Stenning discusses the growth of the 'doctrine of police independence'. It is argued that what we might assume is a widely held value favouring police independence is in fact unique to certain jurisdictions and the United Kingdom 'roots' to the Canadian police services are more questionable than many writers assume. The main task of this chapter was to present an international perspective. The chapter provides an overview of police independence in England and Wales, Australia and New Zealand. Regarding England and Wales, the chapter concludes that the scope and practical implications of police independence remain 'unclear and open to contestation and debate'. In Australia police independence tends to be limited by the way in which the Australian police services are organized—on a state and Commonwealth governmental level rather than having local or municipal forces. In New Zealand there is one single national police service and therefore no local authorities that could make demands or issue instructions to the police. The NZ police are governed directly by the central government. However, three recent factors have expanded the discussion in NZ regarding the issues that surround police-government relations: a governmental review of the administration and management of the New Zealand Police; controversy over the state visit of the President of China to NZ in 1999; and the introduction of a Bill to amend the existing Police Act.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI
Chapter Number 4
Page from 183
Page to 255
ISBN 9780802091529
Date Accessioned 2011-03-17
Language en_AU
Research Centre ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security; Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
Publication Type Book Chapters
Publication Type Code b1x

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