Negotiating divergent tides of police reform within the United Kingdom

Nicholas Fyfe, Alistair Henry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Discussion of current police reform agendas around Europe have tended to emphasise convergence in western police policy and practice, and the role of global problems and dilemmas - from international terrorism, to migration, to fiscal austerity following the economic crisis - in driving it. We argue here that the divergent patterns of reform that have become apparent within the United Kingdom in recent years require such prespectives to be qualified. Jack Green's maritime metaphor of tides and currents in policing is used throughout as a framework for helping to unpack the context, drivers and content of reform agendas in both England and Wales and in Scotland. We move on to argue that the metaphor talks effectively to core narratives within existing police scholarship that act as timely reminders of the sometimes limited purchase of police reform - namely the limited role of the public police in securing social order and their oft-found inertia in the face of currents of change - but also that the metaphor requires extension if it is to adequately account for political agency and the local political cultures through which the tides and currents of policing are negotiated, traversed and given meaning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-190
    JournalJournal of Police Studies
    Issue number25
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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