Policy processes and police reform: examining similarities and differences between Scotland and the Netherlands

Jan Terpstra (Lead / Corresponding author), Nicholas Fyfe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    During 2013 the national governments of both the Netherlands and Scotland have introduced radical reforms which have replaced largely autonomous regional police forces with a national police service. Despite these structural similarities, however, there are important differences in the underlying processes which have shaped these reforms and the broader narratives about policing which have informed public and policy discourses.

    The purpose of this paper is to understand the underlying dynamics of these police reforms. Following an overview of concepts drawn from the public policy literature regarding policy change, the paper describes in detail the structural changes to policing that have occurred in both countries. These structural changes relate not just to the spatial re-organization of policing but also to the structure of police governance and accountability. The focus then shifts to disentangling key aspects of the decision-making processes which led to the reforms drawing on Kingdon's analysis of policy change and policy formation. The paper concludes with a broader discussion of the similarities and differences in police reform in the two countries, highlighting important issues regarding the significance of political context, debates around localism and policing, and narratives regarding a normative vision of the police role.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)366-383
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Law, Crime and Justice
    Issue number4
    Early online date18 Apr 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


    • Police
    • Reform
    • Policy
    • Politics


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