What Future for Policing? Some Reflections on the Concept and Purpose of Policing and Their Implications for Police Reform in England and Wales

Andrew Williams, Craig Paterson


Policing develops in different ways at different times and to differing demands in states around the world. Thus, policing and security models are established and evolve in the context of the host society. In England and Wales, modern bureaucratic policing emerged from a locally focused and administered system. Following on from this, contemporary Anglo-American policing aligns, to varying degrees, with the political, socio-cultural, legal and ideological aspects of contemporary liberal democratic society with its emphasis on democratic localism and decentralised accountability. Policing is also a field where Anglo-American and other western states provide support to transitional states with often different developmental paths. The transitional states seek, or have imposed on them (depending upon your perspective), western democratic models of policing and the policies, programmes, institutions and tactics associated with these models. This paper reviews the conceptual and theoretical assumptions that underpin thinking about policing and asks whether there is a sufficiently common philosophical and conceptual understanding of policing across nation states to support the development of policing rather than just a common understanding of police functions. This is profoundly important when considering different conceptual understandings of policing and how that is applied in support of the reform of policing in transitional states. The paper calls for a concerted effort to conceptualise a philosophical understanding of policing and its relationship to social development.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijlpa.v2i1.4158


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International Journal of Law and Public Administration   ISSN 2576-2192 (Print)     ISSN 2576-2184 (Online)

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