For What Reasons Did the Coalition Government Abolish Police Authorities in 2012? What Problems Do You Think Are Raised by the Introduction of Elected Police and Crime Commissioners?

Topics: Police, Constable, Law enforcement Pages: 11 (3919 words) Published: March 28, 2013
For what reasons did the Coalition Government abolish police authorities in 2012? What problems do you think are raised by the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners? This essays objective is to take into consideration the rationale of the Coalition governments’ decision to replace police authorities with elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC). A critique and a background of the police authorities operations will be discussed and evaluated. A brief history of policing before police authorities were established will also be explored. Furthermore, the reasons why there was a radical reform to PCC’s will be debated and the problems that may arise. Policing has always been a challenging issue and it most likely will always be challenging. Sir Robert Peel’s first principle of policing stated: “The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder” (Cited in Theresa, M 2010). There has been an attempt to always cling onto this. The only difference is how certain authorities or political groups approach it. In the nineteenth century, autonomy and power were located within boroughs, locally. After a few attempts to try to centralise the police force and a few police corruption scandals which occurred in the 1950s, it was finally the time for the government to produce a centralised, professionalised group of senior police officers. In 1964, under the Police Act, these smaller, more manageable forces were to be known as “police authorities”. Their role was to ‘‘secure the maintenance and of an adequate and efficient police force for their area’’. (Citied in Williams, C 2003). However, the police authorities are now being replaced by elected PCCs. The main purpose of this reform is to restore the drive for local policing priorities and the public by leading engagement with local policing partners. This will boost the empowerment of local communities in criminal justice affairs. Beginning with a little history of how and why police authorities were introduced. Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, police power was largely seen as a responsibility of local government, and police were controlled by the appropriate local institution. The policing were in the hands of the local government and the boroughs of England and Wales, by whom fiercely protected the police powers exercised by their elected watch committees. These powers were symbolic of the city's independence, and police forces were crucial exercisers of executive power locally, concerning poor relief, licensing laws, the regulation of the streets, and the imposition of morality on the community. The 1835 Municipal Corporations Act introduced democracy to the self-governing towns of England and Wales. The only compulsory statutory duty was to select a watch committee to run the police force. The self-governing towns can be described as self-confident, prosperous and autonomous. . The committees had complete power over the activities and composition of their forces. (Citied in Brogden, M 1982). The government aimed at increasing centralisation within the police force but after a few attempts to intervene, they failed. The first attempt by the state to reduce the autonomy of the towns and cities came after the 1853 Select Committee on Police, which recommended extending compulsory police provision to all areas. The Home Office were under no doubt that, the most efficient way to run each force would be to put it 'under the orders of Government. However, these recommendations from the Home Office had to be consulted with the opposition of the local government. In 1854 and 1856, the Home Office's attempts to pass police bills that limited the rights of boroughs to control their own police forces were defeated by the borough. The boroughs also had total autonomy and democratic control over operational decisions. The watch committees, meeting weekly, had the power to hire and fire members of their forces and...
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