January 3, 2002

Going local: Who should run Britain’s police?

This is Policy Exchange’s very first report, the report which originally suggested the creation of the Police and Crime Commissioner post.

Recent governments – both Conservative and Labour – have extended central control over Britain’s police. Key decisions about targets, budgets, appointments and strategy are now made in Whitehall. The ties that bind local police forces to the communities they serve have been eroded.

Through interviews with police officers and community representatives as well as analysis of Home Office data, the authors assess the successes and failures of Britain’s system of centralised political control over policing. They compare it with similar systems in France and the Netherlands and with diverse, decentralised and locally-accountable arrangements in the US.

Putting local forces under the control of locally-elected representatives, they conclude, fosters efficiency and innovation, and delivers the kind of policing the public want. Going local is the answer for Britain’s police.


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