Police Forces at Work: Going through Management?

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Kendra BRIKEN, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
Christian MOUHANNA, Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions pénales (CESDIP), France
The police are one of the traditional sources of power for public administration. They can be seen as a paradigmatic example of public administration because they refer to a sovereign duty (the monopoly of legal force). However, during the last decades police forces have been restructured along the neoliberal logic of rationalization. Police, as the main argument of this paper goes, turn into the executing power of an “economically driven state monopoly of force” (Briken 2014). Such a business management is characterized by a professionalized production of evaluative knowledge and by strategic targets (Mately and Mouhanna 2007).

So far not much is known about the consequences for the changes of the police profession and the new police identity within the police forces. Based on case studies including expert interviews and group discussions with Police officers in three Western European Police forces  (France, Germany, Sweden), the paper will outline the peculiarities of what we call New Police Management. We focus on the changing  police profession and investigate in how police staff reflects on their new role within the Police. We will argue that NPM can lead the police in extending towards delivering social services, or to restraint it task to law and order strategies. Whatever these changes, what is supposed to be ‘real police work’ seems to be at stake for the police officers. We will show that the Police resist the idea of managing the streets and show a strong alignment to traditional policing. They use their leeway and discretion to execute their tasks following their own professional understanding. Ironically, the new organizational requirements are both bypassed by making use of them and by ‘cooking the books’. 

Briken, K. (2014): Ein verbetriebswirtschaftlichtes Gewaltmonopol, Kriminologisches Journal (46) 4, 213-231.

Matelly, J.-H./Mouhanna, C. (2007): Police – des chiffres et des doutes. Paris.