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Mind the implementation gap?

Mind the implementation gap?: Police reform and local policing in the Netherlands and Scotland

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  • Jan Terpstra
  • Nicholas Fyfe (Lead / Corresponding author)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-544
Number of pages18
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number5
Early online date19 Feb 2015
StatePublished - Nov 2015


In 2013 the governments of the Netherlands and Scotland established national police forces, replacing a tradition of largely autonomous regional police organisations. In both jurisdictions, these radical reforms have raised concerns about the consequences of these national police structures for local policing and for relationships with local communities and local government. Drawing on documentary sources and interview material from each jurisdiction and informed by insights from the policy implementation literature, the key question addressed in this article is how has the legislation that created the new national police forces been put into effect at a local level? Focusing on the impact on the governance, organisation and delivery of local policing, the article reveals how the implementation in both jurisdictions involves interpretation and discretion by multiple actors so that gaps are emerging between the national ‘policy promises’ set out in the legislation and the ‘policy products’ experienced in local contexts.

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