Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy: Power, Protection, Consent and Control 3030858782, 9783030858780

This book adds to knowledge about chief police officers in England and Wales by exploring their understandings of the ri

252 10 2MB

English Pages 259 [260] Year 2021

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy: Power, Protection, Consent and Control
 3030858782, 9783030858780

Table of contents :
Preface
Acknowledgements
Contents
1: Introduction
Chief Police Officer Literature
The Scholarly and Policing Terrain Covered and Contributed To
Methodology
Structure of the Book
References
2: Legitimacy: A Contested Concept
Hobbes
Utilitarianism
Weber
Durkheim
Beetham
Perspectives That Challenge Claims to the Legitimacy of the State and Its Institutions
Procedural Justice
Conclusion
References
3: Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations
Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds
Chief Police Officers: A Liberal Elite?
The Career Paths and Socialisation, Development and Training of Chief Police Officers
Chief Police Officers’ Motivations
A Power/Service Paradox?
Gendered Understandings of Power
How Chief Police Officers Reflect on the Use of Power and the Right to Use It
Conclusion
References
4: Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable
Methodology
Vulnerability, a Developing Discourse
Vulnerability, a Complex Concept
The Development of a Police Discourse of Vulnerability and Associated Policy
Politically Privileged Threats
Protecting the Vulnerable as a Response to Police Failures
Divergent Police Responses to Vulnerability
Policing Purpose and Vulnerability
Ambiguous and Hidden Vulnerability
Vulnerability and Prioritisation
Threat, Harm and Risk: Identifying and Responding to Vulnerability
Conclusion
References
5: Policing by Consent
The Endurance and Meaning of ‘Policing by Consent’
Chief Police Officers’ Accounts of Policing by Consent
Hazy Consent
Communicating, Conversations and Accountability
Neighbourhood/Community Policing
Gauging and Building Consent
Informed Consent or Coerced Compliance?
Listening to People with Little Power
Procedural Justice
Withdrawn Consent
Police Performance Management and Consent
Conclusion
References
6: Law and Governance
A Right to Exercise Power Based on Law
Legality and Legitimacy
Contemporary Police Governance
Chief Police Officers’ Accounts of Governance
Operational Independence After the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
Chief Police Officers’ Concerns About Career Security and Progression
Discussion of Police Governance
Conclusion
References
7: Conclusion
Overview
Legitimacy: A Contested Concept
Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations
Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable
Policing by Consent
Law and Governance
How an Archetypal Chief Police Officer Understands the Right to Exercise Power
Confused
Conflicted
Convenient
Implications for the Current and Future State of Policing
Areas for Further Research
Conclusion and Recommendations
References
Index

Citation preview

PALGRAVE’S CRITICAL POLICING STUDIES

Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy Power, Protection, Consent and Control Ian Shannon

Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies

Series Editors Elizabeth Aston School of Applied Sciences Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh, UK Michael Rowe Department of Social Sciences Newcastle City Campus Northumbria University Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

In a period where police and academics benefit from coproduction in research and education, the need for a critical perspective on key challenges is pressing. Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies is a series of high quality, research-based books which examine a range of cutting-edge challenges and developments to policing and their social and political contexts. They seek to provide evidence-based case studies and high quality research, combined with critique and theory, to address fundamental challenging questions about future directions in policing. Through a range of formats including monographs, edited collections and short form Pivots, this series provides research at a variety of lengths to suit both academics and practitioners. The series brings together new topics at the forefront of policing scholarship but is also organised around who the contemporary police are, what they do, how they go about it, and the ever-changing external environments which bear upon their work. The series will cover topics such as: the purpose of policing and public expectations, public health approaches to policing, policing of cyber-­ crime, environmental policing, digital policing, social media, Artificial Intelligence and big data, accountability of complex networks of actors involved in policing, austerity, public scrutiny, technological and social changes, over-policing and marginalised groups, under-policing and corporate crime, institutional abuses, policing of climate change, ethics, workforce, education, evidence-based policing, and the pluralisation of policing. More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/16586

Ian Shannon

Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy Power, Protection, Consent and Control

Ian Shannon Centre for Criminal Justice Studies University of Leeds Leeds, UK

ISSN 2730-535X     ISSN 2730-5368 (electronic) Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies ISBN 978-3-030-85878-0    ISBN 978-3-030-85879-7 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: Ploppy / Alamy Stock Photo This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Preface

This book interrogates taken-for-granted assumptions about police legitimacy through the prism of chief police officers’ understandings of the purported right of police to exercise power. This includes examining the drift from a conceptualisation of a right to exercise power based on a broad duty to protect people and property, to a discourse of protecting the most vulnerable. Chief officers’ narratives of consent are assessed, and questions posed about the role that they can play in obscuring the coercive features of policing, as it may be better to accept and control coercion, rather than to cloud its inevitable use. Justifications for the use of power based on law and the oversight and political direction of police are examined, revealing damaged processes of police governance that risk undermining police leadership and legitimacy. It is argued that the confused, conflicted and, above all, convenient understandings of the right of police to exercise power held by chief police officers in England and Wales may support them in asserting a privileged position from which they can pursue their preferences for the use of police power and resources. This book adds to knowledge about chief police officers,

v

vi Preface

police cultures, the policing of vulnerability, policing by consent, police accountability and governance and police legitimacy. Recommendations are made for police policy, practice and research. Edinburgh, UK Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 

Elizabeth Aston Michael Rowe

Acknowledgements

I am immensely grateful to Professors Stuart Lister and Adam Crawford at the University of Leeds, and to Professor Sandra Walklate and Dr Lynn Hancock at the University of Liverpool, for their guidance, support and patience. I also thank other academic colleagues and reviewers for their helpful suggestions and encouragement. This book would not have been possible without the chief police officers and senior leaders from other institutions in the policing landscape who generously participated in this research, thank you. The editorial team at Palgrave Macmillan have been helpful throughout and I am also grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council for its support. Finally, I thank my family who have lived with this project. Sarah has been a patient sounding board and given me valuable advice and support and Jonty and Leila have been unfailingly encouraging throughout, I could not have done it without you.

vii

Contents

1 Introduction  1 2 Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 29 3 Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 51 4 Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 81 5 Policing by Consent129 6 Law and Governance175 7 Conclusion209 Index247

ix

1 Introduction

This book contributes to knowledge about and discussions of important issues for the police and their publics, including police power, legitimacy, leadership and governance (the oversight, accountability and political direction of police), as well as the purposes and priorities of the police. In so doing, it critically examines assumptions and narratives about policing by consent and vulnerability that, it is contended, are too often taken for granted. The analysis and arguments that are presented throughout matter because they have implications for the current and future state of policing, for police leadership and governance, for civil liberties and for protecting people. The implications are discussed, and suggestions and recommendations are made that could, if acted on, enhance police effectiveness and legitimacy. These ideas and arguments are particularly important in the context of continuing police controversies, including those concerning the proportionality and effectiveness of police actions in dealing with Black Lives Matter and climate change protests, the use of lethal force by police, stop and search, and the police role during the Coronavirus disease pandemic. Readers who are not immersed in discussions of policing but who care about the quality of policing and civil liberties will, it is intended, gain © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_1

1

2 

I. Shannon

insights into practices, concepts and arguments that are central to policing, but which are often clouded by prevailing legitimating narratives. Academics, researchers and students with an interest in the public police and its future will be presented with an alternative and critical perspective on ideas and practices that remain central to discussions of the police and are also relevant to the legitimacy of the state and its institutions. The book is also a resource for police officers and staff, police policy makers and officials and politicians responsible for the oversight and political direction of the police. And the analysis, arguments, suggestions and recommendations that are made could help improve how policing is delivered and received. The research that underpins it was conducted in England and Wales, but the findings are relevant in many other countries due to the cross-jurisdictional nature of the ideas and concepts that lie at the heart of the arguments that are set out. This introduction now turns to a more detailed discussion of the rationale and purpose of this book and of its scholarly and policing context. Legitimacy is central to ideas and arguments about policing and lies at the heart of this work, which approaches this key concept by scrutinising chief police officers and identifying their understandings of the purported right of police to exercise power. Chief police officers’ opinions about the right to use power are important because they are an elite who have significant authority (Reiner, 1991) and their views, it will be argued, have consequences for how police use power. Chief police officers’ thinking about power should be interrogated because police powers are substantial and their malign or inept application can result in ineffective policing and lost legitimacy (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984; Loveday, 2018). Police forces are rank based, hierarchical and tend to management by command and control (Manning, 2007:52). These cultural features give chief officers significant authority over their staff, although more junior officers have considerable scope for the discretionary use of power (Cockcroft, 2013). Chief officers also have specific legal powers that are not provided to their subordinates, including the ability to authorise covert and intrusive surveillance, using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000. Crucially chief constables are operationally independent, and they direct and control their police forces (Home Office, 2011), although the extent of this independence is questionable (Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021).

1 Introduction 

3

Whilst some of these powers are vested in the office of chief constable, the views and actions of deputy and assistant chief constables also matter, as the authority of chief constables is frequently delegated to them, they oversee and direct the delivery of policing, and future chief constables are drawn from this pool (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services [HMICFRS], 20191). Chief officers’ views about legitimacy should also be examined because they have sometimes used their status as prominent local and national figures to influence public and political debates through their commentary, not only on matters which are obviously relevant to policing but also on wider social issues (Loader & Mulcahy, 2001a, p. 41). Crucially, it is contended, what chief police officers think about the right of police to exercise power is important, as this influences what they and their subordinates do, and what police do and how they do it largely determine police legitimacy (Loader, 2020). The actions and legitimacy of the police have wider significance, as whilst the political direction of a democratic state influences policing, the police can also affect the legitimacy of democratic states (Bayley, 1969, pp. 409–410). This is a consequence of the public police’s position as the institution that wields the most coercive and contentious of state powers, particularly the legitimate use of violence (Reiss, 1971; Brodeur, 2010). Therefore, if police powers are exercised in ways that lead to widespread withdrawals of consent this endangers the legitimacy of the police and the state (Beetham, 1991; Habermas, 1976). Whether the effect of the use of police power is beneficial or malign is, it is contended, partly shaped by what chief police officers do, and what they do is influenced by what they think. This book interrogates chief police officers’ accounts about police legitimacy to provide a qualitative and critical assessment of this important but contested concept. The principal question to be answered is, ‘how do chief police officers in England and Wales understand the right of police to exercise power?’ In answering this question chief police officers’ thinking, motivations, beliefs and backgrounds are explored. Light is also cast on how they perceive broader issues, including the use and abuse of power, coercion, control, policing purpose, protecting people, vulnerability, consensual policing, police discretion, operational independence,

4 

I. Shannon

the law and the oversight and political direction (or governance) of police. The empirical qualitative research into chief officers that underpins this book differs from the dominant contemporary academic approach to police legitimacy, procedural justice research, which is largely supported by quantitative methods examining public perceptions (Mazerolle et al., 2013; Fiducia, 2020). Police power, legitimacy and leadership, it is argued, are always important issues for scrutiny and this book is timely. The Coronavirus pandemic has heightened the need to pay attention to the use of police power and police legitimacy (Smith, 2020; The Times, 2020; Karim, 2020; Parris, 2020). It has raised interest in the influence of chief police officers on the use of power, including their capacity to prevent or provoke police overreach (Simpson et al., 2020). It has also, arguably, added to continuing concerns about the capacity, capability, selection and development of chief officers, which were already the subject of scrutiny (HMICFRS, 2019). The pandemic underscores the role of the police in wielding power on behalf of the state and illustrates the inextricably political nature of decisions about the use of police power (Loader, 2020, p. 8). This was seen in the joint positions adopted by the Home Secretary and chief constables about enforcement priorities over Christmas 2020 (Dearden, 2020), and in the contrasting tensions over the policing of protests in 2020, with the Home Secretary demanding ‘a clampdown on Black Lives Matter protests’ (debatably a delegitimating political intervention), whilst chief constables took a more liberal stance (Hamilton, 2020). Whilst the research that informs this book was largely conducted before the pandemic its findings are relevant to these debates and provide evidence about how chief police officers can affect police legitimacy. Police legitimacy and the role chief officers play in it are not just issues that should be examined during a national crisis. Prior to the pandemic, scandals such as the debacle of Operation Midland—the investigation into false allegations of child abuse by prominent public figures (Henriques, 2019)—highlighted the continuing need to question the legitimacy of police actions and competence of police leadership. Concerns persist about past police failures and the conduct of chief police officers (Loveday, 2018). Examples include the resignations in London of two assistant commissioners, in 2007 and 2011, linked to their

1 Introduction 

5

relationships with the press and poor judgment and leadership (Colbran, 2017), the dismissal of Chief Constable Price in 2012 (BBC, 2012) and imprisonment of Commander Dizaei in 2013 (BBC, 2013): the latter two cases concerned abuse of power. The resignation of Chief Constable Gargan in 2015, following eight proven instances of misconduct, exacerbated these worries (Smith, 2017). Anxieties persist about the behaviour of a former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster (Hillsborough Independent Panel, 2012; Loveday, 2018). Routine failures to provide an effective service to many people, and divergent standards of policing, also call police legitimacy and leadership into question (HMICFRS, 2020). This book gives an insight into these challenges to the right of police to exercise power, partly through chief officers’ discussions about withdrawn consent, including the sometimes delegitimating consequences of their policies and conduct. Conversely their accounts also suggest that chief officers can play a positive part in the legitimation of the police. This book also contributes to debates about the law and governance systems that are intended to control the police and hold them to account. The influence these mechanisms have on chief police officers and on police legitimacy is assessed. There has been limited critical research into chief police officers since the implementation of the Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011, which introduced police and crime commissioners (PCCs, hereafter this acronym will also be used to include Police Fire and Crime Commissioners and the mayors for London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, who have the same governance powers over the police as PCCs) and other significant reforms to police governance. These were controversial measures that continue to generate important debates in policing, political and academic circles (Independent Police Commission, 2013; Bailey, 2015; Loveday, 2018; Jones & Lister, 2019). The Coalition Government lauded these changes as a democratisation of policing (May, 2010; Cooper, 2020). However, the reforms marked a radical change to police governance and may destabilise police leadership (Cooper, 2020). They also risk the rise of majoritarian agendas, which may win votes but fail to protect the interests and liberties of minorities and others with little power and influence (Loader, 2004; Lister & Rowe, 2015). These reforms were accompanied by shifts in

6 

I. Shannon

police priorities, including a move from local policing, reassurance and public confidence to crime reduction and a new focus on vulnerability (Higgins, 2018), which possibly reflects wider and complex societal changes (Police Foundation, 2020). The challenges posed by these changes were probably exacerbated by substantial cuts in police budgets and in the funding of other actors that can contribute to public safety, following the 2010 election (ibid.). Together, it will be argued, these changes place the police service and chief police officers in a precarious position and endanger legitimacy. This book considers these contextual issues in conjunction with an analysis of the data that was gathered from chief police officers and other senior leaders in the national policing landscape. And its findings and recommendations, if acted on, could improve the service that the police provide and reinforce the right of police to exercise power in the eyes of many people. This chapter is structured as follows, the next section considers literature that is particularly relevant to the connections between chief police officers and police legitimacy. This book adds to this literature and owes it a debt, as it is used to inform interpretation of the data gathered from chief officers. This discussion is followed by an outline of the broad academic and policing terrain which this book covers and adds to. Then the methodology and methods used are explained; this includes consideration of ethical issues and the limitations of the research. This chapter concludes with an overview of the book’s structure, including the purpose of subsequent chapters.

Chief Police Officer Literature The selected literature is relevant to debates about police legitimacy and chief police officers, although legitimacy was not the authors’ primary concern. This scholarship is commonly concerned with the effectiveness of the institutional aspects of police accountability. The effectiveness of these systems is important in setting police priorities and providing parameters for, and checks on, the use of police power. And how the power of state institutions is directed and controlled is critical for legitimacy (Weber, 1948a [1921]). The authors were also inquisitive about

1 Introduction 

7

what sort of people very senior police officers are. The data and analysis this literature provides about police leaders’ opinions, backgrounds and work are important, as the effectiveness and legitimacy of the state are partly determined by the type of people who lead its institutions (ibid.). This book is placed in the context of this scholarship, and it adds to this field of knowledge. Reiner’s seminal Chief Constables (1991) was written in the wake of serious public disorder in 1981 and 1985 and following the contentious policing of industrial disputes, including the 1984/1985 Miners’ Strike— issues which Reiner found had influenced a shift amongst chief constables, from an enforcement focus, towards a greater emphasis on community policing. Reiner attends to the type of person that occupied the office of chief constable and explored their backgrounds and policing philosophies. He provides insights into critical issues for policing in the 1980s, including developments in chief constables approaches to accountability and an assessment of the relative influence and power of police authorities, chief constables and central government. Reiner’s (1991) work is sociological and was followed, chronologically, by Wall’s (1998) socio-legal and historical analysis. Whilst the methods adopted were different, similar concerns emerged about accountability. Wall (1998) provides rich interpretation of the backgrounds and socialisation of chief constables from 1836 to 1996 and reflects on the implications of the appointment processes for chief constables and of their oversight and political direction. He identifies that the chief officers of the 1990s were more liberal and better educated than the cohort that Reiner (1991) had interviewed in the 1980s. Wall (1998) also identifies a shift towards a more coherent national approach to the development and selection of chief officers, driven in part by the growing influence of national government over the police and chief constables. Stallion and Wall (1999) supply further historical context about chief constables, and the opening chapter gives an analysis and overview of phases of development in policing and in the office of chief constable. Again, themes about the accountability and control of chief constables emerge. They comment on the impact of the introduction of New Public Management on the police (an approach that was heavily reliant on quantitative objectives and performance measures), following Home

8 

I. Shannon

Office Circular 114/1983 (Home Office, 1983), and on the potentially perverse outcomes resulting from the responses to such simplistic objectives and performance regimes. Day and Klein (1987) and the Audit Commission (1990) also identified that New Public Management often produced unintended and perverse results, because of the complexity of policing, lack of clarity about what good looks like in policing and the inadequacy of data about the outcomes of policing. Stallion and Wall (1999) identified that New Public Management played a part in shifting influence away from local political direction and oversight towards greater central government authority over chief police officers, and this was reflected in apparently greater organisation and coordination of chief officers nationally. This is a theme also examined by Savage et al. (2000), who paid attention to shifts in the national and local governance and accountability of police. They assessed the apparently growing influence, but arguably inadequate accountability, of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which was replaced as the body providing a voice for national police leadership and coordination by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) in 2015. Reiner (1991), Wall (1998) and Stallion and Wall (1999) had also addressed the role of ACPO in influencing policing policies. Savage et al. (2000) argued that the increasing influence of ACPO could be associated with the decrease in the effectiveness of local accountability mechanisms and the growth in the influence of national government. Savage et al. (2000) also contribute with a critical assessment of the development of the concept of constabulary independence, now usually referred to as operational independence, which they argued could act as a shield to shelter chief officers from scrutiny (ibid.). Loader and Mulcahy (2001a, 2001b) echoed Wall (1998), Stallion and Wall (1999) and Savage et al. (2000) in identifying growth in the national dimensions of policing. But Loader and Mulcahy’s (2001a, 2001b) focus was different from these studies, their main concern was about the influence and role that chief police officers had as social commentators. They looked at the ideologies and voices of this police elite and how it had transformed from an often noisy and predominantly conservative grouping in the 1970s (although chief officers often disagreed with each other, and there were some with maverick views and a few with liberal voices),

1 Introduction 

9

to the emergence of a more influential, coherent and ‘professional and pragmatic liberalism’ in the 1980s and 1990s (Loader & Mulcahy, 2001a, p. 52). This contrasts with Reiner’s (1991) description of a conservative elite, which arguably had more in common with a craft than a profession. However, the authors noted that ‘[t]here is of course no guarantee … that the current cohort of liberal chiefs will—culturally and organizationally—reproduce themselves’ (Loader & Mulcahy, 2001b, p. 263). Loader and Mulcahy (2001a, 2001b), like Savage et al. (2000), examined developments in police governance and the associated possible decline of chief constables’ operational independence. A trend which they partly attributed to the centralising tendency of national government and the increasing influence of a national approach to the development of chief officers, through secondments to national organisations, shared rites of passage, such as the Senior Command Course (now the Strategic Command Course [SCC]) and selection processes. There is a significant chronological gap between Loader and Mulcahy’s (2001a, 2001b) work and the next selected literature, Caless (2011) and Roycroft (2016). Caless (2011) and Roycroft (2016) pay attention to new governance systems introduced by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, which were about to be implemented as Caless (2011) conducted his research and were established when Roycroft (2016) interviewed chief officers. There is also a shift in approach, as these books are not, unlike the previously discussed scholarship, works in the tradition of ‘European critical criminology’ (Van Swaaningen, 1999). Their attention is less focused on the office of chief constable and more attention is paid to all chief officer ranks. These two books provided platforms from which chief officers voiced their views and frustrations about a wide range of issues. Caless (2011) provides insights into the working lives of chief officers and about aspects of their development, training, professional socialisation and promotion processes. This adds to the earlier work, particularly of Reiner (1991) and Wall (1998), by showing a continuing trend towards a more educated police elite, but it does not confirm the tendency to greater liberalism identified by Wall (1998) and Loader and Mulcahy (2001a, 2001b), which raises questions about how fragile this trend might be. Caless (2011) also considers the impact of police governance

10 

I. Shannon

on chief officers, and he is concerned with the fractious relationships between chief officers and their overseers and the damaging consequences this might have, an issue that is raised again in later research (Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021). Caless (2011) also reports on the potentially corrosive effects of nationally imposed performance targets, and he worries about the effects of national performance regimes and initiatives have on chief officers and on policing, a finding that is reminiscent of the comments of Stallion and Wall (1999) about the adverse consequences of New Public Management. Roycroft’s (2016) interviews with chief constables cover an assortment of issues which were of concern to his interviewees. Of greatest relevance to this book are their views about police accountability and governance mechanisms. These accounts reinforce the warning issued by Caless (2011) about the damaged relationships between chief officers and their overseers. They also add weight to later assessments of the potentially destabilising effects of governance mechanisms on police leadership (Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021). Roycroft’s (2016) interviewees also comment on the, in their eyes, potentially damaging influence of national initiatives and performance regimes, echoing the observations of Caless (2011) and Stallion and Wall (1999). Three other notable and recent books address police leadership, although their focus is not confined to chief officers or to England and Wales. However, there are some similarities with the previous works that have been discussed, as police governance and accountability are recurring themes, and there is a continuing interest in the type of people that police leaders are, and in what this means for the quality of policing. Fleming’s (2015) edited selection is wide ranging and uses paired chapters between serving, or recently retired, senior police officers and academics to reflect on the complexity and change confronting senior police officers. This book stresses the benefits for police leaders of embracing academic research and evidence-based practice. This includes debates about leadership styles, the effects of austerity, the political dynamics of police governance and the challenges of working in partnership. The edited selection of Ramshaw et al. (2019) has an international perspective, with a theme being concerns about the ‘quality and capacity of police leaders and leadership’ (ibid., p. xviii). It also considers approaches

1 Introduction 

11

to ethical leadership, the influence of police organisational culture on its leaders, development of leadership styles and diversity. Even more recently Davis and Silvestri (2020) provide a critical examination of recent reforms to police leadership training and of the degree of diversity of police leadership. All these works are inevitably snap shots in time, but their arguments remain rich and relevant and need to be engaged with. They are a valuable source of data and analysis that helps inform this book. They are referred to and assessed as the accounts of legitimacy provided by contemporary chief police officers and are examined in Chaps. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of this book. Research into chief police officers is no longer rare, but far more scholarly attention has been paid to the attitudes, behaviours and cultures of junior officers. This book helps fill the relative lacuna in research into chief police officers. Studies examining the cultures of junior police include (in a far from exhaustive list) Skolnick (1966), Muir (1977), Reiner (1978), Shearing (1981), Holdaway (1983), Chan (1996), Westmarland (2017), Cockcroft (2013) and Charman (2017). It may be a mistake to draw conclusions about the culture, or cultures, of chief police officers by extrapolating from evidence about their subordinates (Reuss-Ianni, 1983). However, research about the broader cultural context of policing also informs interpretation of the data gathered for this book. Further grounds for renewed research into chief police officers can be found in the tendency of elites to shield themselves from scrutiny, whilst social science tends to pay more attention to marginalised groups (Moore & Stokes, 2012, p.  443). This book helps address this imbalance by examining an elite group which, to a greater or lesser degree, wields power over many people. This research focuses on chief police officers, whose attitudes, behaviours, directions and policies should affect what more junior officers do and how they do it. Although, as identified earlier, how much influence they have over their staff is unclear, as constables have considerable discretion about how they act (Cockcroft, 2013, p. 20) and they may be influenced more by their peers than managers (Reuss-Ianni, 1983). Nonetheless, it is contended that chief officers should be subjected to renewed academic scrutiny, as to varying degrees they influence what other officers do and how they do it, which in turn largely

12 

I. Shannon

determines police effectiveness and legitimacy (Loader, 2020). Having outlined why previous research about chief police officers is important and remains relevant and identified why further research into chief police officers and police legitimacy is required, the next section outlines the academic and policing landscape this book investigates and adds to.

 he Scholarly and Policing Terrain Covered T and Contributed To This book explores the range of arguments that the chief officers who were interviewed used to explain the right of police to exercise power. The first of these explanations related to a moral duty to use power to achieve the claimed policing purpose of protecting people, particularly those deemed to be most vulnerable. This category of justification is analysed in Chap. 4. The second category deployed accounts of policing by consent, which were wide ranging but involved societal norms and expectations of policing being met. This overlaps with the first category of justification in relation to assumptions about the purposes of the police. These justifications are assessed in Chap. 5. These first two categories of argument did not rely on narrowly drawn legal and constitutional rights to use power and on formal political and bureaucratic controls on police power, however the third category did, although interviewees saw these law and governance-based justifications as insufficient on their own; these arguments are examined in Chap. 6. Interviewees consistently used these three broad categories of argument, relating first to protection, second to consent and third to law and the governance of police. These categories are not placed in priority order. Interviewees did not consider that any one of these justifications was sufficient on its own; they used aspects of all these arguments and saw them as interdependent. This might suggest a coherent and cohesive chief officer discourse of legitimacy. However, whilst three broad categories were identified, these accounts were often inconsistent between chief officers, and the justifications offered by individual chief officers were sometimes internally confused and contradictory. And some of the narratives could

1 Introduction 

13

be interpreted as convenient constructs, invoked to justify a (contestably) privileged position for chief officers when making decisions about policing priorities and the use of police power. The other aspect of interviewees’ accounts that is examined is data about their social origins, education and career paths and about what motivated them to become police officers, which is analysed in Chap. 3. This data gives insights into the type of person that becomes a chief police officer, and consideration is given to the implications this has for how they understand the right of police to exercise power. These understandings, or justifications, of a right to exercise power are—in conjunction with the data about chief officers’ backgrounds— interrogated, disentangled and interpreted to identify the implications they have for police legitimacy, and for knowledge about chief police officers. This is the terrain which this book explores, and in so doing it contributes to wider scholarship about chief police officers and police legitimacy. The methodology that underpins this research is examined next.

Methodology This book uses interviews with selected chief police officers and senior leaders from other institutions in the national policing landscape to explore chief officers’ views about the right of police to exercise power. This data is contextualised and interpreted to determine not just what was said, but why and what it means. The implications this has for police legitimacy, for the use of police power, and for civil liberties are considered. Recommendations for future scholarship and for practice and policy are made, as research should have theoretical and practical impact. A critical realist philosophy was adopted, which asserts that ‘society is both the condition and outcome of human agency and human agency both reproduces and transforms society … at any moment of time society is pre-given for the individuals who never create it, but merely reproduce or transform it’ (Bhaskar, 1998, p. xvi). Critical realism recognises that knowledge relates to its cultural and historical context, but it is still possible, and desirable, to make reasoned judgments about which theories

14 

I. Shannon

and explanations best represent knowledge of reality (Lopez & Potter, 2001, p. 9). Police legitimacy and the perceived right of police to exercise power are forms of social reality that are reproduced, developed and potentially transformed by interactions between people and between people and institutions. Chief police officers, it is contended, are important social actors in this process. This research saw these actors’ accounts forming the ‘indispensable starting point of social enquiry’ (Bhaskar, 1998, p. xvi). However, critical realism does not determine the methods to be adopted, rather the methods should be appropriate for the type of research (Lopez & Potter, 2001, p.  15). Crewe (1974, pp.  42–43) and Mikecz (2012) both suggest that interviews are usually the best method for studying elites, as surveys are often ineffective due to the need to obtain nuanced understandings, and other methods, such as direct observation, are generally not viable due to issues such as access and time constraints. Interviews provide the opportunity not only to gather accounts, but also to challenge and explore them. The accounts were collected in semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted in 2016 and 2020. In 2016 interviews were conducted with nine chief constables, three deputy chief constables and four assistant chief constables, including the equivalent ranks in London (the rank designations applied outside London are used for all). The officers served in metropolitan, rural and mixed forces. In two forces, two officers of different ranks were interviewed: in London, three officers of different ranks participated. Four interviewees were female. Chief constables are overrepresented but otherwise the sample broadly and deliberately reflects the demographic profile of chief officers across England and Wales. The interviews typically lasted about 90 minutes. In 2020 a further six interviews were completed, with three male chief constables and with three very senior individuals in three institutions in the wider national policing landscape, two of whom were female and one was male. These interviews each took about an hour. The 2020 interviews focused on how the policing of vulnerability was conceptualised, put into policy and practice, overseen and directed, and also on the relevance of these developments for police legitimacy. Therefore the 2020 interviewees were selected using criteria that differ from the 2016 research. The

1 Introduction 

15

2020 interviewees were not selected to be demographically representative of chief officers and very senior leaders in the wider policing landscape. They were identified based on their apparent involvement in issues of police policy and practice, or oversight of policy and practice, relating to vulnerability. None of the interviewees in 2016 was interviewed in 2020 and different interview schedules were used in 2016 and 2020. Changes were identified between how interviewees in 2016 and 2020 understood vulnerability, but these were different individuals and most of the 2016 interviewees would not have been as deeply immersed in discussions of the policing of vulnerability as was the case for the chief officers and senior leaders interviewed in 2020. Hence caution is exercised when making comparisons between what was found in 2016 and in 2020. The reliance on samples of larger groups is also a research limitation; therefore care is also taken when seeking to extrapolate findings from these samples to the wider groupings of chief police officers and very senior leaders in institutions in the wider national policing landscape. The 2016 interviews were conducted in person at various police headquarters, with one taking place elsewhere. The 2020 interviews were undertaken by using Microsoft Teams or Skype, due to Coronavirus disease pandemic restrictions. Across both phases of the study only two chief police officers who were approached declined to be interviewed. Analysis of the interviews involved immersion in the data, including recordings, transcripts and hand-written notes, followed by coding using QSR NVivo and subsequent refinement of coding, analysis and interpretation. A key methodological and ethical issue was how to minimise bias. In adopting a critical realist stance objectivity was striven for, whilst recognising that this is difficult to achieve. It is reasonable to pose questions about the risks of subjectivity of the researcher; this may be particularly pertinent if the researcher is a current or former insider (Levi-Strauss, 1966, p. 126; Serrant-Green, 2002; Boser, 2006, p. 12). I am a former chief police officer and served in three police forces from 1981 to 2013 and was twice seconded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC2), for three years as a Chief Inspector and one year as a Chief Superintendent. From 2005 to 2013 I served as an Assistant Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Temporary Chief Constable.

16 

I. Shannon

Following retirement from the police I was an associate with HMICFRS until 2019. I inevitably knew many of the interviewees. The risk of subjectivity was controlled by supportive but challenging relationships with academic colleagues and reflexivity. Overall, the benefits of being a former insider outweighed the disadvantages, notably in gaining access and building rapport. However, the approach to research unavoidably influenced responses, and analysis of individuals and institutions involved in police leadership and governance is inevitably selective, as networks of governance are complex (Crawford, 2006), and systems for formulating policy are broad (Holdaway, 2017; Jones & Lister, 2019). An aspect of the research that will influence its findings are the decisions made about who to interview. For the first phase of this study, which gathered and used data from the 2016 interviews, it was judged that those in governance roles (such as PCCs and representatives of HMICFRS, the Independent Office for Police Conduct [IOPC], College of Policing, National Crime Agency [NCA] and Home Office) were not in scope, due to the volume of data to be collected and the need to interview a range of chief officers. Hence, the research is limited by its reliance on interviews with chief police officers. However, other researchers (Reiner, 1991; Savage et al., 2000) have demonstrated the value of conducting critical research into chief police officers by using the accounts that these officers provided in interviews. In the second phase of this study, which focused on the policing of vulnerability and involved the 2020 interviews, it was judged that it would be helpful to gather data from individuals in other institutions in the national policing landscape with responsibilities for police governance, as well as from chief police officers. Therefore, three very senior people in different institutions with varying responsibilities for police governance were interviewed. The funding and commissioning of research may also affect the direction of research and raise questions about its objectivity, as may the influence of any gatekeepers controlling or facilitating access to interviewees. No gatekeepers were involved in this research. The first phase of research was conducted at the University of Liverpool as part of a PhD study (Shannon, 2018) and was self-funded. The second phase was undertaken at the University of Leeds and was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council. Both universities’ ethical requirements and processes

1 Introduction 

17

were complied with. This included protecting the interests of the interviewees by not disclosing their identities, rather each interviewee is referred to by using a code.3 Material from the interviews that might help identify the interviewees has also been excluded. The rank of the chief police officers is used but this does not risk disclosing their identities. Anonymity also encouraged openness in their responses. This book is a product of this project and is organised around the main themes that were identified during this research, as is described next.

Structure of the Book Chapter 2 places this book in the context of selected legitimacy literature. This literature is used to construct a conceptual framework to support interpretation of interviewees’ accounts of legitimacy. It starts by explaining why the exercise of legitimate power, and in particular the use of force, is central to what the public police do, and hence why legitimacy should be a key issue for policing research. Next, selected explanations of legitimacy relevant to understandings of the supposed right of police to exercise power are explored. Analysis of this literature leads to six conceptual propositions; these support the organisation and interpretation of interviewees’ explanations of legitimacy in later chapters. The first proposition is that dominant discourses about legitimacy should be rigorously assessed, as they may be dubious concepts promoted by the powerful to reproduce existing power relationships (Habermas, 1976). The next four propositions identify legitimating discourses that provide further context to inform the theoretical framework. The second proposition is that the state has the right to exercise power to protect people and that there is a reciprocal duty for the populace to obey the state and its servants (Hobbes, 1968 [1651]; Weber, 1948a [1921]). Third, legitimacy is a right to exercise power that is underpinned by rational rules or laws, which provide parameters for the use of power and safeguards to minimise its abuse (Beetham, 1991; Weber, 1948b [1922–1923], pp.  294–296). Fourth, rules should be rooted in widely shared values (Durkheim, 1992 [1957]). More recent scholars have developed this normative theoretical position and argued that fair and respectful processes are important shared values

18 

I. Shannon

and are critical to constructing legitimacy (Tyler, 1990), as is dialogue between police and their publics (Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012). Fifth, the right to exercise power needs to be broadly accepted by those it is exercised over (Beetham, 1991; Weber, 1948a [1921]), and consequently there is a requirement for effective mechanisms to gauge consent (Beetham, 1991). The final proposition is that the type of person who holds and wields power is crucial for legitimacy (Weber, 1948a [1921]). The relevance of these propositions to the central research question is identified, and how and where the propositions are used to inform the interpretation of interviewees’ accounts is signposted. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how, based on the conceptual framework that has been outlined, chief police officers can promote police legitimacy. Chapter 3 considers chief officers’ social, educational and policing backgrounds and identifies what motivated them to become police officers. This data is assessed and provides context to support subsequent interpretation of interviewees’ accounts of legitimacy. Evidence is presented that shows that contemporary chief officers differ from the socially conservative working-class, and entirely white and male, elite described by Reiner (1991, pp. 57–58). They are now predominantly middle-class, well-educated and tend to espouse liberal values (Punch, 2013). And although women are a minority, they are not rare, but very few chief officers are not white. The interviews reveal interviewees’ motivations for joining the police, which fell into two broad categories: the potential for excitement and public service. Excitement was, for some, associated with power and the ability to make a difference, presenting a potential tension between an attraction to excitement and power, and a commitment to public service. It is argued that the socialisation processes of contemporary policing dilute the impact of career specialisms on the views of chief officers. This contributes to a more consistent set of opinions and a decline in maverick voices. It is identified that interviewees reported receiving little support and encouragement to reflect on the right of police to exercise power and they tended to feel that they should spend more time on such reflective practice. This research did not deliberately seek data about how gendered approaches to power influence understandings of a right to exercise power, but some interviewees suggested that this was relevant to police legitimacy, and these accounts are assessed.

1 Introduction 

19

The implications of these findings for how chief officers understand police legitimacy are discussed. Before moving to the succeeding chapters’ analysis of the three broad categories of arguments used by interviewees to justify the right of police to exercise power it is noted that all interviewees used elements of each of these rationales and saw them as interconnected. Chapter 4 examines the first of the main arguments used by interviewees to justify the right to use power, a purported normative duty to use police power to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable in society. This chapter makes greater use of the 2020 interviews than is the case in other chapters. Interviewees’ use of the concept of vulnerability as part of a legitimating narrative is interrogated, a discourse that has only recently been exposed to a critical eye (Dehaghani & Newman, 2017: Dehaghani, 2019). It is argued that chief police officers’ interpretations of who is most vulnerable have often been narrow, are ambiguous and are changing and have tended to take insufficient notice of the views of people labelled as vulnerable. However, there appears to have been a shift in the police discourse of vulnerability between 2016 and 2020, towards a more consistent, and possibly convincing, account of what protecting the vulnerable means in a policing context. Yet gaps and discrepancies remain and how the concept can be interpreted and applied to protect vulnerable people and to enhance police legitimacy remains problematic, as do some of the contributions to a vulnerability discourse of individuals and institutions responsible for police governance. The chapter also examines the utility of a discourse of vulnerability in justifying rationing or prioritisation decisions about the use of police power and resources, particularly when police budgets are cut and other actors that can contribute to community safety and criminal justice also have funding reduced. It is argued that the ambiguity of interviewees’ accounts of vulnerability conveniently supports chief officers in claiming a privileged position from which to determine police priorities. Links are made to broader debates about police discretion, police governance and vulnerability. An element of these discussions concerns whether those labelled as vulnerable consent to the consequences that come with this categorisation, which again demonstrates the connections between the different categories of

20 

I. Shannon

legitimating narratives. The next of these narratives is policing by consent, which is addressed in the next chapter. Chapter 5 interrogates interviewees’ assumptions that there is consensual policing and that this gives police the right to exercise power. To frame this discussion the meanings of policing by consent are explored. The role played by hazy accounts of consent in legitimating narratives is considered, as is the tension between a discourse of consent and the inevitability of coercion and control in policing. These accounts of policing by consent commonly feature minimal coercion, values shared with wider society, rule of law, trust and the symbolic role of police and appeals to Peelian myths. Most interviewees confirmed that consent is contested, partly due to breaches in social cohesion, ill-considered short-term enforcement initiatives, the adverse effects of performance regimes, poor police behaviour and gaps between public expectations and service delivery. However, interviewees’ accounts of withdrawn consent tended to construct a relatively consensual ‘now’, contrasted with a more coercive, ‘then’. Interviewees considered that accountability and engagement with their publics (as opposed to formal governance and accountability mechanisms, which are examined in Chap. 6) are crucial in building consent, as is gauging consent. Yet they acknowledged that these activities are often ineffective, particularly in engaging with marginalised people. It was also unclear if consent was more than an absence of obvious resistance, resulting from habit, disinterest or fear, framed as ‘dull compulsion’ by Carrabine (2004, p. 180). Interviewees commonly included law as an element of consensual policing and law was associated with the formal oversight and political direction, or governance, of police. This is reminiscent of the ‘legal audiences’ that Jefferson and Grimshaw (1984) argued chief constables need to address to be accountable and to build consent. And the emphasis interviewees put on law and police governance was such that it receives specific consideration in the next chapter. Chapter 6 considers interviewees’ claims that law helps justify the right of police to exercise power and provides parameters within which they operate. And it considers their claims that formal governance mechanisms, which are established by law, also provide boundaries and direction for the use of power and bolster the right to use it. Attention is drawn to the conflict between their use of explanations based in law and

1 Introduction 

21

formal governance, and their anxieties and frustrations with the process of scrutiny and their scrutineers. The oversight applied to chief officers by the Home Office, HMICFRS, the IOPC and the College of Policing is considered. But most attention is paid to the scrutiny applied to chief officers by PCCs and to the power they hold over chief constables. It is argued that recently introduced governance arrangements have heightened chief police officers’ anxieties about their job security, career prospects and operational independence and this may destabilise police leadership (Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021; R v Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, 20174). It is reasoned that this may sap chief officers’ confidence, leading to them failing to resist political directions that undermine civil liberties or prioritise the needs of the powerful over those of the marginalised. They may also fail to challenge policies that lead to ineffective policing or neglect the priorities of many people. Consequently, these changes to police governance may endanger legitimacy (Shannon, 2021). The relevance of this research to wider debates and literature concerning police discretion, accountability and governance is signalled. All the interviewees viewed law and formal governance as a necessary but insufficient explanation of the right to exercise power. The connections and contradictions between the three broad categories of understandings of the police right to exercise power are explored further in the last chapter. The final chapter reviews the main elements of this book and describes how an archetypal contemporary chief officer might understand the right of police to exercise power. Taken for granted assumptions about the right of police to exercise power held by interviewees are interrogated. It is argued that collectively their understandings of this claimed right are confused, conflicted and cumulatively convenient in promoting a privileged position from which chief police officers can advance their preferences for the use of police power. This analysis includes examination of the apparent drift from a conceptualisation of a right to exercise police power based on a broad moral duty to protect people and property, to a discourse of vulnerability. Questions are posed about legitimating stories of consent that can obscure the coercive features of policing, as it may be better to accept and manage coercion than to cloud its inevitable use. Justifications for the use of power based in law reveal a fractious system of

22 

I. Shannon

scrutiny and governance, which may destabilise police leadership. The implications of these findings for police legitimacy are highlighted and the consequences for police policy, chief officers and their publics, and civil liberties are discussed. Recommendations for police policy, practice and research are made. The book ends with a call for an informed public debate about police priorities and the right of police to exercise power. This chapter has identified the political, policy, scholarly and policing context this book is set in, and which it contributes to. The organisation and purpose of later chapters have also been presented, and in doing so the main arguments that are to come have been signalled. The next chapter provides further theoretical context by reviewing a selection of legitimacy literature, which is used to construct a conceptual framework to support subsequent interpretation of interviewees’ accounts of the right of police to exercise power.

Notes 1. The author declares an interest as the leader of the team that produced Leading Lights: An inspection of the police service’s arrangements for the selection and development of chief officers (HMICFRS, 2019). 2. HMIC was given an extended remit and became Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services [HMICFRS] in 2017. For simplicity HMICFRS is used in this book, other than for quotations or citation of reports. 3. The chief officers interviewed in 2016 are coded as ‘CO’, then a unique identifying number, followed by ‘A’ to indicate the 2016 tranche of interviews (CO1A, CO2A etc.). The three chief officers interviewed in 2020 are coded ‘CO’, then a unique identifying number, then ‘B’ to signify the 2020 tranche of interviews (CO17B, CO18B, CO19B). The three senior leaders from institutions in the national policing landscape are coded ‘SL’, then a unique identifying number, then ‘B’ to indicate the 2020 tranche of interviews (SL20B, SL21B, SL22B). 4. Compton, R (on the application of ) V Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire & Ors, England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) (9 June 2017).

1 Introduction 

23

References Audit Commission. (1990). Effective policing—Performance review in police forces. Police Paper No. 8. Audit Commission. Bailey, R. (2015). Policing the police and crime commissioners (PCCs): An examination of the current statutory and political frameworks for holding PCCs to account—A case study of the Surrey police and crime panel. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 9(4), 305–313. Bayley, D. H. (1969). The police and political development in India. Princeton University Press. BBC. (2012, October 5). Cleveland police chief Sean price sacked after inquiry, Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-­19840069 BBC. (2013, May 13). Metropolitan police sacks commander dizaei. Retrieved April 1, 2020, from, www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-­england-­london-­18076053 Beetham, D. (1991). The legitimation of power. Macmillan. Bhaskar, R. (1998). General introduction. In M. Archer, R. Bhaskar, A. Collier, T.  Lawson, & A.  Norrie (Eds.), Critical realism: Essential readings (pp. ix– xxiv). Routledge. Boser, S. (2006). Ethics and power in community-campus partnerships for research. Action Research, 4(1), 9–21. Bottoms, A. E., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: A dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102(1), 119–170. Brodeur, J. P. (2010). The policing web. Oxford University Press. Caless, B. (2011). Policing at the top: The roles, values and attitudes of chief police officers. The Policy Press. Carrabine, E. (2004). Power, resistance and discourse: A genealogy of the Strangeways prison riot. Ashgate. Chan, J. (1996). Changing police culture. British Journal of Criminology, 36(1), 109–134. Charman, S. (2017). Police socialisation, identity and culture: Becoming blue. Palgrave Macmillan. Cockcroft, T. (2013). Police culture: Themes and concepts. Routledge. Colbran, M. (2017). Leveson five years on: The effect of the Leveson and Filkin reports on relations between the metropolitan police and the national news media. British Journal of Criminology, 57(6), 1502–1519. Cooper, S. (2020). Police and crime commissioners: A corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability? Criminal Law Review, 4, 291–305.

24 

I. Shannon

Crawford, A. (2006). Networked governance and the post-regulatory state. Steering, rowing and anchoring the provision of policing and security. Theoretical Criminology, 10(4), 449–479. Crewe, I. (1974). Studying elites in Britain. In British political sociology yearbook 1: Elites in Western democracy. Croom Helm. Davis, C., & Silvestri, M. (2020). Critical perspectives on police leadership. Policy Press. Day, P., & Klein, R. (1987). Accountabilities five public services. Tavistock Publications. Dearden, L. (2020, Decemebr 24). Priti Patel urges police to target “high risk” parties over Christmas and New Year. The Independent. Retrieved January 13, 2020, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-­news/christmas-­ coronavirus-­laws-­police-­priti-­patel-­b1778625.html Dehaghani, R. (2019). Vulnerability in police custody: Police decision making and the appropriate adult safeguard. Routledge. Dehaghani, R., & Newman, D. (2017). “We’re vulnerable too”: An (alternative) analysis of vulnerability within criminal legal aid and policy custody. Onati Socio-Legal Series, 7(6), 1199–1128. Durkheim, E. (1992 [1957]). Professional ethics and civil morals. With a new preface by B.S. turner. Routledge. Fiducia: Justice Needs Trust. (2020). European Union funded project for new European crimes and trust-based policy. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.fiduciaproject.eu/ Fleming, J. (Ed.). (2015). Police leadership: Rising to the top. Oxford University Press. Habermas, J. (1976). Legitimation Crisis. Heinemann Educational Books. Hamilton, F. (2020, June 13). Patel’s interference is abuse of power, say police chiefs. The Times, p. 4. Henriques, R. (2019). The independent review of the metropolitan police service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations alleged against persons of public prominence. Retrieved August 3, 2020, from https://www.met.police. uk/henriques Higgins, A. (2018). The future of neighbourhood policing. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from http://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2017/wp-­content/ uploads/2010/10/TPFJ6112-­Neighbourhood-­Policing-­Report-­WEB.pdf Hillsborough Independent Panel. (2012). Hillsborough independent panel: Disclosed material and report. Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://assets. publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_ data/file/229038/0581.pdf

1 Introduction 

25

HMICFRS. (2019). Leading lights: An inspection of the police service’s arrangements for the selection and development of chief officers. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­content/ uploads/leading-­l ights-­i nspection-­p olice-­a rrangements-­s election-­ development-­chief-­officers.pdf HMICFRS. (2020). PEEL spotlight report: Diverging under pressure. An overview of 2018/19 PEEL inspections. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from https://www. justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­content/uploads/peel-­spotlight-­ report-­diverging-­under-­pressure-­2018-­19-­overview.pdf Hobbes, T. (1968 [1651]). Leviathan, or the matter, forme & power of a Commonwealth ecclesiasticall and Civil. Pelican Books. Holdaway, S. (1983). Inside the British Police: A Force at Work. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Holdaway, S. (2017). The re-professionalization of the police in England and Wales. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17(5), 588–604. Home Office. (1983). Economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the police service. Home Office. Home Office. (2011). Policing protocol order. Retrieved April 26, 2020, from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2744/made Independent Police Commission. (2013). Policing for a better Britain: Report of the independent police commission. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303873773_Policing_for_a_ Better_Britain_Report_of_the_Independent_Police_Commission/ link/5759888d08ae9a9c954f06d1/download Jefferson, T., & Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the constable. Frederick Muller Limited. Jones, T., & Lister, S. (2019). Localism and governance in England and Wales: Exploring continuity and change. European Journal of Criminology, 16(5), 552–572. Karim, F. (2020, May 2) CPS will review every charge under new law. The Times, p. 13. Levi-Strauss, C. (1966). Anthropology: Its achievements and future. Current Anthropology, 7(2), 124–127. Lister, S., & Rowe, M. (2015). Electing police and crime commissioners in England and Wales: Prospecting for the democratisation of policing. Policing and Society, 25(4), 358–377. Loader, I. (2004). Policing, securitisation and democratisation in Europe. In T. Newburn & R. Sparks (Eds.), Criminal justice and political cultures. Willan.

26 

I. Shannon

Loader, I. (2020). Revisiting the police mission. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/insight_paper_2.pdf Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001a). The power of legitimate naming: Part 1. British Journal of Criminology, 41(1), 41–55. Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001b). The power of legitimate naming: Part II. British Journal of Criminology, 41(2), 252–265. Lopez, J., & Potter, G. (2001). After postmodernism: The millennium. In J. Lopez & G. Potter (Eds.), After postmodernism: An introduction to critical realism (pp. 1–18). The Athlone Press. Loveday, B. (2018). Police and crime commissioners: Developing and sustaining a new model of police governance in England and Wales. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 20(1), 28–37. Manning, P. K. (2007). A dialectic of organizational and occupational culture. In M. O’Neill, M. Marks, & A. Singh (Eds.), Police occupational culture: New debates and directions—Sociology of crime, law and deviance (Vol. 8, pp. 47–83). Elsevier. May, T. (2010, June 29). Speech to the ACPO conference. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-­centre/speeches/ theresa-­may-­SP-­NPC Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Davis, J., Sargeant, E., & Manning, M. (2013). Legitimacy in policing: A systematic review. The Campbell Collaboration. Mikecz, R. (2012). Interviewing elites: Addressing methodological issues. Qualitative Inquiry, 18(6), 482–493. Moore, N., & Stokes, P. (2012). Elite interviewing and the role of sector context: An organizational case from the football industry. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 1(4), 438–464. Muir, K. W., Jr. (1977). Police Streetcorner politicians. Chicago University Press. Parris, M. (2020, March 25). Let’s not rush to bow at the state’s command. The Times. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ lets-­not-­rush-­to-­bow-­at-­the-­states-­command-­cl7ttg387 Police Foundation. (2020). Public safety and security in the 21st century: The first report of the strategic review of policing in England and wales. Retrieved September 8, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/ phase_1_report_final-­1.pdf Punch, M. (2013). Police corruption: Exploring police deviance and crime. Taylor and Francis. Ramshaw, P., Silvestri, M., & Simpson, M. (Eds.). (2019). Police leadership: Changing landscapes. Palgrave Macmillan.

1 Introduction 

27

Reiner, R. (1978). The blue-coated worker. Cambridge University Press. Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Reiss, A. J., Jr. (1971). The police and the public. Yale University Press. Reuss-Ianni, E. (1983). The two cultures of policing: Street cops and management cops. Transaction Books. Roycroft, M. (2016). Police chiefs in the UK: Politicians, HR managers or cops? Palgrave Macmillan. Savage, S., Charman, S., & Cope, S. (2000). Policing and the powers of persuasion. Blackstone Press. Serrant-Green, L. (2002). Black on Black: Methodological Issues for Black Researchers Working in Minority Ethnic Communities. Nurse Researcher 9, 30–44. Shannon, I. (2021). Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales: Implications for police legitimacy. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 5(2), 912–926. Shannon, I.C.N. (2018). Convenient constructs: How chief police officers in England and Wales understand the right of police to exercise power. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool. Retrieved July 6, 2021, from https://livrepository. liverpool.ac.uk/3027487/ Shearing, C. (1981). Subterranean processes in the maintenance of power. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 18(3), 283–298. Simpson, J., Johnston, N., Humphries, W., & Wace, C. (2020, April 10). Coronavirus: Police Chief forced to back down after threat to search shopping. The Times. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.thetimes. co.uk/article/police-­m ust-­n ot-­b e-­h eavy-­h anded-­d uring-­l ockdown-­s ays-­ home-­secretary-­lx7ljwq50 Skolnick, J. (1966). Justice without trial. Bantam. Smith, C. (2020, June 1). Enforcement drops against people breaking lockdown. Police Oracle. Retrieved July 16, 2021, from https://www.policeoracle. com/news/police_performance/2020/May/29/enforcement-­drops-­against-­ people-­breaking-­lockdown_104884.html Smith, J. (2017, December 5). Disgraced Chief Constable Nick Gargan stripped of police medal for bringing honours system into disrepute’. Bristol News. Stallion, S., & Wall, D. (1999). The British police: Police forces and chief officers 1829–2000. Police History Society. The Times (editorial). (2020, May 2). Petty Officers: Overzealous policing of the lockdown has led to too many wrongful convictions. p. 29.

28 

I. Shannon

Tyler, T. R. (1990). Why People Obey the Law. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Van Swaaningen, R. (1999). Reclaiming critical criminology: Social justice and the European tradition. Critical Criminology, 3(1), 5–28. Wall, D. S. (1998). The chief constables of England and Wales: The socio-legal history of a criminal justice elite. Ashgate. Weber, M. (1948a [1921]). Politics as a Vocation. In H. H. Gerth & C. Wright Mills (Eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp.  77–127). Routledge and Kegan Paul. Weber, M. (1948b [1922–1923]). The social psychology of the world religions. In H. H. Gerth & C. Wright Mills (Eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 267–301). Routledge and Kegan Paul. Westmarland, L. (2017). Putting their bodies on the line: Police culture and gendered physicality. Policing, 11(3), 301–317.

2 Legitimacy: A Contested Concept

This chapter places chief officers’ narratives about police legitimacy in a conceptual context by reviewing relevant selected literature. Thinking that has influenced contemporary understandings of legitimacy, particularly police legitimacy, has been chosen to provide an intellectual frame and focus to support subsequent analysis of the three broad categories of justifications of the purported right of police to exercise power that were provided by interviewees. These explanations drew on a moral duty to use power to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, on policing by consent and on using power as permitted by law and within parameters provided by the oversight and political direction (or governance) of police. Theoretical interpretations of legitimacy and propositions about how legitimacy can be promoted or undermined are identified from the selected literature, as are critiques of these conceptualisations. These propositions and critiques act as reference points that are used as interviewees’ legitimating narratives and are critically assessed in subsequent chapters. This chapter considers the main thinkers that have been selected in chronological order and this discussion draws attention to the connections and differences between these forms of legitimation. Next, © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_2

29

30 

I. Shannon

consideration is given to the ideas of writers who have challenged conceptualisations of legitimacy that, they argue, reinforce existing power structures. Then prevalent thinking about police legitimacy is considered before the discussion is concluded with propositions about how legitimacy can be constructed or damaged. The discussion of the selected legitimacy literature starts with Hobbes’ (1968 [1651]) account of the Sovereign’s right to use power to prevent life from being nasty, brutish and short. This is arguably one of the earliest legitimations of the right of a modern state to exercise power and remains relevant to debates about the legitimacy of states and their institutions (Runciman, 2020a). Utilitarian justifications of a right to exercise power to promote the greatest good or happiness for the greatest number are then examined (Mill, 1962 [1861]), as these arguments continue to be called onto justify the use of state power, including police power (Independent Police Commission, 2013). Weber’s (1948a [1921]) explanation of a right to use power based on the need to protect people, a right restricted by legality and rational rules, is then considered, as is his stress on the importance for legitimacy of the type of person who holds power. Weber’s rationale for the use of power remains relevant, and along with Durkheim (1986), helps provide the conceptual foundations for the prevalent contemporary thinking on police legitimacy, procedural justice theory (Hough & Maffei, 2013). Next is Durkheim’s (1986) explanation of a pathway to legitimacy arising from shared values, bolstered by the symbolic role of the state in representing and promoting these norms, which contrasts with the pessimism of Weber (1948a [1921]) and Hobbes (1968 [1651]) but is also important in accounts of police legitimacy. Beetham’s (1991) dimensions of legitimacy are then considered; these reflect aspects of Durkheim’s (1986) and Weber’s (1948a [1921]) thinking and provide a possible template for assessing claims to legitimacy. Attention then turns to perspectives that challenge the previous conceptualisations of legitimacy, broadly by arguing that they are constructed to perpetuate prevailing power relationships. These thinkers include Marx and Engels (1848), Gramsci (1992), Habermas (1976) and Foucault (1971, 1982). Foucault (1982) is the first of these thinkers to specifically consider the role of the public police. Police legitimacy is then discussed directly, with examination of procedural justice theory and its proposed

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

31

route from fair and respectful processes to trust, leading to legitimacy and compliance (Tyler, 1990, 2006, 2011). This chapter concludes by setting out a conceptual framework constructed from six theoretical propositions, a framework that supports this book’s exploration of chief police officers’ legitimating narratives. However, before reviewing this literature it is necessary to clarify why legitimacy, or ‘the right to exercise power’ (Tankebe, 2013, p. 103), should be central to consideration of the role of the police. A defining feature of the state is its legitimate use of force (Weber, 1948a [1921], p. 78). The public police are an institution of the state and perform a ‘bewildering array of tasks’ (Bowling, et  al., 2019, p.  7). However, it is the police’s use of, or threat to use, legitimate violence to achieve its aims—particularly to resolve conflict and maintain order— that distinguishes it from other institutions, as does its legitimate use of intrusive covert surveillance (Brodeur, 2010). The military occasionally uses force or conducts surveillance in support of the civil power, and the security services and a few other government bodies undertake some surveillance operations. However, an effective monopoly on the legitimate use of force and intrusive covert surveillance rests with the public police (Brodeur, 2010; Bowling et al., 2019, p. 7). The police’s right to use these coercive and intrusive powers has been contested in England and Wales since the foundation of London’s Metropolitan Police in 1829 (Storch, 1975). Consequently, the police have been continually constrained and shaped by a quest for legitimacy (Bowling et  al., 2019, pp.  65–98). Therefore, the right to use power, in particular the use of force, should be central to any discussion of what police do or should do (Reiss, 1971, p. 2; Bittner, 1974). Part of the construction of legitimacy lies in chief police officers’ legitimating accounts, as can be seen in the first Commissioners’ instructions to the London Metropolitan Police (Emsley, 2014, p. 17), in chief officers’ personal accounts that have followed (Mark, 1977; Oliver, 1987) and in repeated reframing of the purpose of policing, such as The Principles of Policing and Guidance for Professional Behaviour (Metropolitan Police, 1985) and the Policing Vision 2025 (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners [APCC] and National Police Chiefs Council [NPCC],

32 

I. Shannon

2014). These legitimating narratives use, usually implicitly, elements of the conceptualisations of legitimacy that are considered next.

Hobbes Hobbes (1968 [1651]) arguably provides the earliest rationale for the right of the Sovereign (or the government) of a modern nation state to exercise power and of an accompanying obligation on the populace to obey, in the interests of protecting people from a war of all against all (Runciman, 2020a). For Hobbes this is not a contract between ruler and ruled, rather it is a ‘covenant’ in which the multitude hands authority to the Sovereign, who (or which) can produce conformity through violence and terror in the interests of peace. This is a conceptualisation that could be used to justify a totalitarian state, as Hobbes does not place obligations on the Sovereign or restrictions on the right to use power, although Hobbes hoped that the exercise of power would not be arbitrary (Runciman, 2016, 2020a). Utilitarianism is considered next, as it follows chronologically and its optimism about the outcomes of the choices of individuals contrasts with Hobbes’ pessimism.

Utilitarianism Utilitarianism (Mill, 1962 [1861]; Bentham, 1977) can be used to legitimate the exercise of power in the interests of ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong’ (Bentham, 1977, p. 393) or the greater good. This potentially provides a paradigm for the legitimate use of power (Independent Police Commission, 2013). A call to exercise power to promote happiness is probably more attractive than a Hobbesian alternative, but it is problematic. Defining happiness or the greater good is difficult, as who defines what good is? How is good measured? How does Utilitarianism cope with competing and contradictory goods? Good for who? Also, there are risks to liberty posed by powerful illiberal majorities pursuing their interests, which may result in tyranny being exercised over minorities. These risks were recognised, but

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

33

not resolved, by Mill (1962 [1861]) and Bentham (Burns, 2005). Another difficulty for Utilitarianism is that it assumes that people are rational actors, an assertion about human psychology that has been challenged, notably by procedural justice theorists (Tyler, 1990). However, Utilitarianism continues as an important legitimating narrative (Burns, 2005; Independent Police Commission, 2013). The optimism and appeal of Utilitarianism were challenged by the war of 1914–1918 and it was in the wake of this, and in the shadow of the 1919/1920 influenza pandemic and in a Germany that had a barely functioning government, that Weber delivered a lecture which provides an alternative interpretation of legitimacy (Weber, 1948a [1921]; Runciman, 2020b), which is examined next.

Weber Weber (1948a [1921]) had a bleak, almost Hobbesian, view of the chaos that can arise in the absence of a functioning state and of a consequent right and requirement for a state to use power to maintain order and protect people. Whilst it is not all that the modern state does, Weber (ibid., p.  79) claims that it inevitably and virtuously uses violence on behalf of (and against) people to protect them, and there is a reciprocal obligation on the populace to obey the state and its servants. Weber (op. cit.) proposed three ‘legitimations of domination’, traditional, charismatic and legal authority. Traditional authority provides an explanation for the habit of obedience, yet this conceptualisation of legitimacy could be criticised for not distinguishing consent from ‘dull compulsion’ arising from convention, fear or fatigue (Carrabine, 2004). Charismatic authority helps explain consent to the use of power due to ‘confidence in revelation, heroism, or other qualities of individual leadership’ (Weber, 1948a [1921], p. 79). It can be argued that legitimacy that relies on this dimension may be used to justify the rise of populists or demagogues and risks a consequent erosion of liberties. Weber’s discussions of charismatic authority also identified the importance of the type of person that becomes a leader for legitimacy, and of what motivates them to lead and to use power. The relevance of the type of person best

34 

I. Shannon

suited for political leadership for legitimacy was also a broader theme of Weber’s lecture on Politics as a Vocation (ibid.). The third Weberian legitimation is legal authority (Weber, 1948a [1921], p. 79). He asserted that the state is legitimate if it is ‘considered to be legitimate’ by those it exercises power over (ibid., p. 78). Therefore, legitimacy relies on consent, which is probably contingent on the state’s compliance with ‘rationally created rules’ and on its competence in protecting people and maintaining order (ibid., p. 79). Weber’s accounts of legitimacy and legal authority also emphasise the importance of bureaucratic controls to ensure that state power is used for the benefit, not detriment, of the populace, as his pessimism about human nature extends to the potential for those with power to abuse their authority (Weber, 1948b [1922–1923], 1948a [1921]; Terpstra, 2011, p. 8). The next thinker to be considered is Durkheim (1984, 1986). His optimistic account of legitimacy arising from shared values contrasts with Weber’s more pessimistic recourse to rules and controls to help secure legitimacy. However, their approaches to legitimacy are not mutually exclusive and both inform the intellectual foundations of procedural justice theory, the prevalent contemporary thinking about police legitimacy (Hough & Maffei, 2013, p. 4).

Durkheim Durkheim (1986, p. 156) proposed that a right to exercise power and an obligation to obey develop from shared morals and values between power holders and those subject to it. Durkheim (1984) argued that these norms are a product of increasing and essential cooperation in modern industrial societies, which leads to interdependence and ‘organic solidarity’. These norms, he claimed, place a higher value on individual freedoms than had been the case in earlier societies, and the tendency to comply is dependent on both ruled and rulers respecting these values. Relationships of cooperation and communication between the state and its institutions and their publics, as a source of trust and mutual understanding, are central to this conceptualisation of legitimacy. This puts an onus on the state and its institutions to ensure they understand and promote these norms.

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

35

These relationships and values can be reinforced through the state’s symbolic function as ‘the organ of moral discipline’ (Durkheim, 1992 [1957, p.  72), which Terpstra (2011, pp.  7–8) interprets as ‘a source of some powerful, efficacious and collective representations about, community, order, the distinction between good and evil and security and protection’. However, the challenge of aligning the values of the state and its institutions with those of their publics is significant and may have changed since Durkheim was writing in the early twentieth century, partly due to an apparently less deferential and more diverse society (Giddens, 1994). This raises questions about whose norms are the state and its institutions aligned to and is complicated by the probability that different state institutions, and even parts of these institutions, have divergent norms (Giddens, 1994; Murphy & Cherney, 2012). Durkheim’s analysis can also be critiqued for its unilinear and positive paradigm of social development, a model that has been challenged in the light of growing evidence about variations in how societies change across time and around the world (Seymour-Smith, 1986, p. 106). This criticism can also be made about Beetham’s (1991) claims to universal application of his conceptualisation of legitimacy and to the economic and class-based analysis provided by Marxism, both of which are considered below. However, Durkheim’s notion of shared values as a pathway to legitimacy and compliance remains influential (Myhill & Beak, 2008). Beetham’s (1991) work draws on aspects of the literature that has been discussed so far and provides a potential paradigm for assessing claims to legitimacy.

Beetham Key themes that emerge from the legitimacy literature discussed above can be seen in Beetham (1991). Like Hobbes (1968 [1651]) Beetham (1991) accepts that a state is necessary to protect people. The links to Utilitarianism are less explicit but using power to promote common goods probably contributes to the consent that Beetham deems necessary for legitimacy. Beetham (1991) rejects Weber’s (1948a [1921]) assertion that a state is legitimate if people believe it to be so, as he argues that belief is insufficient on its own. However, Beetham’s emphasis on

36 

I. Shannon

evidence of consent and on rules that the state should abide by reflects Weber’s discussions of legitimacy. Connections can also be made between Beetham and Durkheim (1992 [1957]), in the importance that both place on shared values between rulers and the ruled. Beetham (1991, pp. 15–16) argued: Power can be said to be legitimate to the extent that: (i). It conforms to established rules (ii). The rules can be justified by reference to beliefs shared by both dominant and subordinate, and (iii). There is evidence of consent by the subordinate to the particular power relation. Beetham (1991) claimed that all three dimensions need to be present for the use of power to be legitimate, and he viewed them as essential criteria for legitimacy in all societies. Accountability mechanisms are also argued to be important to test whether power is legitimate, and through dialogue (that is a necessary element of these mechanisms) they may surface shared values and bolster legitimacy (ibid.). Beetham’s (1991) claim to universal application is contestable. A state, or police force, could be viewed as legitimate by many, meeting Weber’s (1948a [1921]) criteria for judging legitimacy (that a state or state institution is legitimate if people believe it to be so) and Beetham’s (1991, pp. 15–16) third dimension (consent), despite breaching Beetham’s first dimension of legitimacy, by failing to comply with rules and laws. This point is illustrated by Klockars’ (1980) ‘Dirty Harry’ problem, as effectiveness in providing security may outweigh considerations of propriety, particularly in relatively insecure and low-trust environments (Goldsmith, 2005; Sargeant et  al., 2014; Tankebe, 2009). Beetham has influenced thinking about police legitimacy, including the dominant contemporary approach to police legitimacy, procedural justice theory (Bottoms, 2002). But before turning to police legitimacy it is important to consider selected writers who question the theories of legitimacy that have been discussed so far, as they provide alternative perspectives, which assist assessment of chief police officers’ accounts about legitimacy.

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

37

 erspectives That Challenge Claims P to the Legitimacy of the State and Its Institutions The following thinkers challenge conceptions of legitimacy that, they assert, support existing power structures in unequal societies. They are considered in chronological order. Polemically Marx and Engels (1848, p. 53) claimed that ‘political power … is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another’. This contrasts with Hobbes’ (1968 [1651]) argument that the populace should obey the Sovereign; rather, from a Marxist perspective, the oppressed class will and should resist and revolt, when their class consciousness has been sufficiently raised. The economic drivers of social and political change asserted by Marxism also contradict a Utilitarian vision of individual rational actors making choices that contribute to the greatest happiness for the greatest number. A Marxist emphasis on class and economic imperatives also challenges Weber’s (1948a [1921]) contention that a (non-socialist) state can be legitimated by virtue of the decisions it makes and the powers it exercises to protect the populace. Rather Marxism contends that the capitalist state will exercise power on behalf of the dominant class at the expense of those with little power and few resources. Similarly, Marxist-inspired thinking may be deployed to refute the Durkheimian (1992 [1957]) assumption that in modern societies pathways to legitimacy can be found in the values shared by rulers and ruled, as it is contended, they are not shared, and the dominant class will use power to accumulate capital for their own benefit. Durkheim’s (ibid.) emphasis on the growing importance of the individual in modern society also clashes with a Marxist focus on class. Gramsci (1992) refined Marxist analysis of class oppression with a notion of hegemony that denotes: the ideological domination of one social group over others: the exercise of a degree of intellectual and moral leadership over subordinates that diminishes the need for direct coercive measures to ensure compliance … [leading to] … the predominance of consent over coercion. (Martin, 1997, p. 38)

38 

I. Shannon

From this perspective theories and narratives that are used to legitimate the state and its institutions, including the police, can be construed as conceptual mechanisms for perpetuating existing power relationships (Brogden, 1982). These critiques of legitimacy raise questions concerning the construction of artificial consent, as in whose eyes is the state’s use of power legitimate, and about who power is being deployed for, and over whom? Habermas (1976) provides a critique of legitimations of power in capitalist states, which has similarities with Gramsci’s (1992) notion of hegemony. Habermas (1976) argued that in capitalist liberal democracies state institutions tend to systematically distort communications to support discourses that construct false or fragile consent to the exercise of power. The legitimacy of the state and its institutions is continually contested, and this may be increasing in a more diverse and unequal society. Real legitimacy, he maintained, can only be achieved when there is parity of power within the dialogue between those with authority and their subordinates. Whilst this equality is an ideal, Habermas asserts that an approximation should be strived for if a legitimation crisis is to be avoided. The crisis occurs when many people ‘feel their social identity is threatened’ by the exercise of power over them (ibid., p. 3) and consequently believe that change is vital. The crisis can be recognised when the state fails to maintain ‘the requisite level of mass loyalty’ (ibid., p.  146). Habermas also critiqued conceptualisations of legitimacy founded on compliance with the law—a feature of the analysis provided by Weber (1948a [1921]) and Beetham (1991)—as he claimed law is established by and for the elites that run the capitalist state, even if in liberal democracies they are competing elites (ibid,. p. 143). At this point it is appropriate to turn discussion specifically towards the legitimacy of the police, as Foucault (1982) is the first of the selected thinkers who directly discusses the police. He maintained that narratives about order maintenance and protection that have been used to justify the exercise of state power—central to the arguments of Hobbes (1968 [1651]) and Weber (1948a [1921])—do not stand scrutiny, notably when applied to the police, as the key purpose of the police is not to maintain law and order or assist ‘governments in their struggles against

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

39

their enemies’, rather it is to ensure that commerce and capitalism run smoothly (Foucault, 1982, p. 784). Foucault’s (1971) historical analysis of webs of discourse, which he contends entrench domination, can be used to question the apparently taken-for-granted concept of police legitimacy and the myths that support it, myths such as historically dubious Peelian principles and associated narratives of consent (Emsley, 2014; Lentz & Chaires, 2007). Foucault (1971) did not deny the agency of the individual and nor did he see the webs of discourse as static, but he claimed they were powerful and difficult to discern and defy, although indicators of the nature of the webs might be found by looking for evidence of resistance. A critical focus on the role of police in reinforcing existing power structures can also be seen in the work of researchers investigating the role of the police in England and Wales. Reiner (2013, p. 166) argued that it was necessary to focus on the effects of the ‘class repression element of the police role’. And Loader (2004) identified the asymmetrical power used against disadvantaged people by police, particularly towards religious and racial minorities. Loader (2004) and Reiner (2013) also arguably illustrate the difficulty in framing police legitimacy due to the complexity created by different contexts and views of legitimacy, contingent on the position and power of the person exercising power and the subordinate, and of the observer. A focus on power relationships may illuminate the risks of majoritarianism for police legitimacy, including the tyranny of the majority warned of by Mill (1962 [1863], p.  3). Populism and the democratisation of policing could also threaten civil liberties and police legitimacy, in part through the impetus it may provide to disproportionate action and to simplistic approaches to the outcomes of police activity (Loader, 2004; Sanders et  al. 2010; Van Sluis & Cachet, 2007; Shannon, 2021). Attention now turns to the arguably prevalent contemporary approach to the study of police legitimacy, procedural justice research.

40 

I. Shannon

Procedural Justice Procedural justice research has been inspired and informed by Tyler’s studies (1990, 2006, 2011). This work is partly, from Tyler’s perspective, a critique of the rational choice actor assumptions that are a feature of Utilitarianism, particularly its instrumental understanding of compliance being driven by individuals’ assessments of costs against benefits, and pleasure against pain. Instead, a normative conception of compliance is proposed, whereby values relating to procedural fairness influence behaviour and compliance. This normative approach reflects Durkheim’s (1992 [1957]) emphasis on shared values and Weber’s (1948a [1921]) focus on the need for the state to set and comply with rational rules. The core propositions of procedural justice theory are as follows: • Trust in justice leads to legitimacy, which leads to compliance. • Trust in institutions of justice is built on the role of procedural justice, rather than outcome justice, in shaping legitimacy. • Institutions of justice need to pursue fair and respectful processes, in contrast to outcomes, as the surest way to build trust and thus legitimacy and compliance. • It does not pose the traditional criminological question, ‘why do people break the law’? Rather it asks, ‘why do people obey the law’? (Hough & Maffei, 2013). Procedural justice research is dominated by projects that use quantitative survey-based studies of public perceptions of police legitimacy and its relation to linked concepts. Those involved in this research are often aware of the strengths and limitations of these methods. Sindall et  al. (2012) highlighted the limitations of the British Crime Survey (now the England and Wales Crime Survey) data within their research. Tankebe (2013) observed that the conflation of concepts can be problematic and Jackson et al. (2012) identified the difficulties in establishing causality. The attempt to establish general laws within procedural justice research has been subject to challenge as not catering for the complexities of a diverse world, where ‘procedural justice may be an insincere attempt to

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

41

win cooperation’ (Murphy & Cherney, 2012, p. 193). It has also been suggested that it is not effective in environments where security is a greater concern than trust and fairness (Goldsmith, 2005; Homolova, 2012). Another critique is that legitimacy also requires distributive justice and policing that supports marginalised people, otherwise procedural justice might be viewed as polite policing that reproduces inequalities (Reiner, 2007, p. 153). Some important procedural justice research, such as the European Union (EU) funded Fiducia project (2020) and the Campbell Collaboration systematic review (Mazerolle et al., 2013), is explicitly targeted at the needs of criminal justice practitioners, policy makers and politicians. This body of positivist inclined research is likely to be attractive to these audiences, as it may be cheaper and more effective than instrumental rational choice compliance models based on punishment and surveillance. It is also probably more benign and liberal than some existing criminal justice approaches (Tyler, 2006), such as the penal state approach discussed by Garland (2013). By focusing on legitimacy, it may also assist authorities and governments in mobilising populations and retaining support (Tyler, 2006, pp. 377–378). Procedural justice research has not critically examined and interpreted the understandings of legitimacy held by individuals who probably play particularly influential roles in constructing legitimacy, such as chief police officers. Nor has procedural justice research considered what motivates such actors or addressed what their views about legitimacy and the right to exercise power might make them do, and what the implications of such actions could be for wider society. This book seeks to help fill this gap by interpreting the accounts about the right of police to exercise power provided by chief police officers who were interviewed. This interpretation is supported by conceptual propositions that can be drawn from the preceding discussions, which are set out next.

42 

I. Shannon

Conclusion Six conceptual propositions are drawn from the preceding review of legitimacy literature. They form a frame that supports subsequent analysis of chief police officers’ legitimacy stories. This section sets out these propositions, and signposts why and where they are addressed in later chapters. Then the probable implications of these propositions for how chief police officers should act and lead to building legitimacy are considered; this adds to the conceptual context that informs interpretation of these legitimating narratives. The first proposition comes from perspectives that contest claims to the legitimacy of the state and its institutions, and it is that dominant legitimating discourses should be rigorously examined. This is important, as legitimacy can be construed as a concept constructed by the powerful to sustain their authority (Habermas, 1976). And applications of police power that are validated by webs of discourse may subjugate, not support, marginalised people (Foucault, 1971, 1982). This can involve asymmetric applications of power that damage the disadvantaged in society (Loader, 2004). Such use of police powers potentially results in repression and reinforcement of existing inequalities (Reiner, 2013). A consequence may be withdrawals of consent and a legitimation crisis (Habermas, 1976). Therefore, claims to legitimacy should be robustly researched, particularly because of the coercion inevitably used by police and the implications this has for liberty (Murray & Harkin, 2017). From the critical realist perspective that informs this book, taken for granted assumptions about society are valid subjects of inquiry (Harre & Bhaskar, 2001, p. 28). Narratives of police legitimacy are arguably often based on taken for granted assumptions, exemplified by repeated references to historically dubious Peelian principles that are rooted in contestable beliefs about social reality, including assumptions about widely shared values (Emsley, 2014). Hence a critical interrogation of chief police officers’ accounts about legitimacy permeates this book. The second proposition is that the state and its institutions have a right to use power and that there is a corresponding duty to obey the state. This entails virtuous use of violence and power, which protects people from

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

43

each other (Hobbes, 1968 [1651]; Weber, 1948a [1921]). In this century elements of this argument continue to be used, as the effective use of police power to protect people and maintain order can enhance police legitimacy (Goldsmith, 2005). This book assesses how chief police officers use versions of this narrative and explores the implications this has for the use of power and police legitimacy. This is examined in Chap. 4 ‘Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable’. Third, legitimacy is a right to exercise power that is underpinned by rational rules or laws, which provide parameters for the use of power and safeguards to minimise its abuse (Beetham, 1991; Weber, 1948b [1922–1923], pp.  294–296). Safeguards should include robust and transparent accountability mechanisms that are established by law; these can reduce abuse of police power and encourage its effective use, which builds legitimacy (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984; Goldsmith, 2005). Effective accountability structures are arguably particularly important for legitimacy in low-trust environments (Goldsmith, 2005). The role of the law—and associated mechanisms for the democratic direction, oversight and accountability of the police—in constructing police legitimacy is examined in Chap. 6. This is done through critical consideration of interviewees’ justifications of the right to use power that were founded on law and police governance. Fourth, these rules and laws should be rooted in widely shared values (Beetham, 1991), as an alignment of norms between rulers and ruled is critical if a state and its institutions are to be legitimate (Durkheim, 1992 [1957]). Amongst these norms are values relating to the state and its institutions using fair and respectful processes; this helps build legitimacy and compliance (Tyler, 1990; Hough & Maffei, 2013). These norms should be identified and promoted through dialogue (Durkheim, 1992 [1957]; Beetham, 1991). And dialogic legitimacy is arguably particularly relevant for the police (Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012), which is the state institution most often required to intervene in social conflict. The ways in which interviewees used these concepts, and the implications this may have for police legitimacy, are examined when considering their narratives of consent in Chap. 5. Fifth, legitimacy is a right to exercise power that is broadly accepted by those over whom power is exercised (Weber, 1948a [1921]; Beetham,

44 

I. Shannon

1991). Consequently, the state and its institutions should ensure that there are meaningful mechanisms for gauging consent (Beetham, 1991). This is linked to the previous proposition, through the importance that dialogue between those with power and their subordinates can play in gauging consent, as well as in identifying shared values. Gauging consent and dialogue are crucial in constructing and sustaining legitimacy. Consequently, interviewees’ claims about how consent is constructed and gauged, and the implications this has for police legitimacy, are interrogated in Chap. 5 when assessing their accounts of consensual policing. Sixth, the type of person who becomes a leader and exercises power contributes to the construction or destruction of legitimacy (Weber, 1948a [1921]). Examining leaders’ backgrounds, attitudes and motivations may provide insights into the type of person they are and help reveal how they understand and use power. Reiner (1991) attended to the type of person who became a chief constable in the 1980s, and Wall’s (1998) socio-legal history provides insights into the backgrounds of chief constables from the nineteenth century to the 1990s. In Chap. 3 the social, educational and policing backgrounds of contemporary chief officers, and their motivations for becoming police officers, are examined. The implications these backgrounds and motivations may have for police legitimacy and for how chief officers understand the right to exercise power are discussed. Based on these conceptual propositions, chief officers can, it is contended, promote legitimacy by acting and leading lawfully and fairly, and by protecting people effectively. They should also engage constructively with governance and accountability mechanisms that place parameters around their use of power, although oversight structures and overseers need to be rational and fair, otherwise police leadership may be destabilised (Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021). Additionally, chief officers should secure dialogue with their various publics, to promote shared understandings of societal norms and priorities. Effective dialogue with, and protection of, excluded groups in society is particularly important, as their consent to the exercise of police power may be tenuous or absent, due to their perceptions and experiences of being more policed than protected (Loader, 2020, p. 6). Not acting and leading in these ways—particularly when serving partisan interests (Royal Commission on the

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

45

Police, 1962)—undermines the normative foundations of legitimacy, as it will probably not reflect widely shared values about fairness, liberty and protection (Beetham, 1991). Even if chief officers act like this it is not certain that their staff will behave in ways that foster legitimacy, because, as was noted in Chap. 1, how much influence chief police officers have over their subordinates is unclear due to the discretion available to junior officers and because of the influence of their peers, which may exceed that of their managers (Cockcroft, 2013, p. 20; Reuss-Ianni, 1983). Therefore, chief police officers need to convince, not just order, more junior officers to act in a manner that bolsters legitimacy (Hoggett et  al., 2019). They must also persuade other audiences, including their various publics and overseers, that these actions and behaviours will promote legitimacy (Peck & Dickinson, 2010). Nonetheless, it is likely that leaders’ conduct is crucial in constructing legitimacy (Dyzenhaus, 2001; Lee & McGovern, 2014). And it is contended that chief police officers should affect what more junior officers do and how they do it, and what police officers do and how they do it largely determine police effectiveness and legitimacy (Loader, 2020). These conceptual propositions underpin the organisation and analysis of interviewees’ accounts of legitimacy. The next chapter acts as a bridge between this chapter’s conceptual exploration of legitimacy and the assessment in later chapters of the three categories of legitimacy narratives told by chief police officers. It does this by using data from interviews with chief officers to explore their social, educational and policing backgrounds and to consider what motivated them to become police officers. By delving into this data insights are provided into chief officers’ approaches to power and context is supplied to support subsequent interpretation of their accounts of legitimacy.

References Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs’ Council. (2014). Policing vision 2025. Retrieved January 05, 2020, from https://www.npcc.police.uk/documents/Policing%20Vision.pdf

46 

I. Shannon

Beetham, D. (1991). The legitimation of power. Macmillan. Bentham, J. (1977). A comment on the commentaries and a fragment of government. In J. H. Burns & H. L. A. Hart (Eds.), The collected works of Jeremy Bentham. Clarendon Press. Bittner, E. (1974). Florence Nightingale in pursuit of Willie Sutton: A theory of the police. In H. Jacob (Ed.), The potential for reform of criminal justice. Sage. Bottoms, A.  E. (2002). Morality, crime, compliance and public policy. In A.  Bottoms & M.  Tonry (Eds.), Ideology, crime and criminal justice: A Symposium in honour of Sir Leon Radzinowicz (pp. 20–51). Willan Publishing. Bottoms, A. E., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: A dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102(1), 119–170. Bowling, B., Reiner, R., & Sheptycki, J. (2019). The politics of the police (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. Brodeur, J. P. (2010). The policing web. Oxford University Press. Brogden, M. (1982). The police: Autonomy and consent. Academic Press. Burns, J.  H. (2005). Happiness and utility: Jeremy Bentham’s Education. Utilitas, 7(1), 46–61. Carrabine, E. (2004). Power, resistance and discourse: A genealogy of the strangeways prison Riot. Ashgate. Cockcroft, T. (2013). Police culture: Themes and concepts. Routledge. Cooper, S. (2020). Police and crime commissioners: A corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability? Criminal Law Review, 4, 291–305. Durkheim, E. (1984). The division of labour in society (W.  D. Halls, Trans.). New York: The Free Press Durkheim, E. (1986). Political obligation, moral duty and punishment, translated by Halls, W.D. In A. Giddens (Ed.), Durkheim on politics and the state (pp. 154–173). Polity Press. Durkheim, E. (1992 [1957]). Professional ethics and civil morals: With a new preface by B.S. Turner. Routledge Dyzenhaus, D. (2001). Hobbes and the Legitimacy of Law. Law and Philosophy, 20(5), 461–498. Emsley, C. (2014). Peel’s principles, police principles. In J.  Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 11–22). Routledge. Fiducia, European Union funded project for new European crimes and trust-­ based policy. (2020). Fiducia: Justice needs trust. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.fiduciaproject.eu/

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

47

Foucault, M. (1971). Orders of discourse. Social Science Information, 10(2), 7–30. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8(4), 777–795. Garland, D. (2013). Penality and the Penal State. Criminology, 51(3). Giddens, A. (1994). Beyond left and right—the future of radical politics. Polity. Goldsmith, A. (2005). Police reform and the problem of trust. Theoretical Criminology, 9(4), 443–468. Gramsci, A. (1992). Prison notebooks (J.  A. Buttigieg, Ed.). Columbia University Press Habermas, J. (1976). Legitimation crisis. Heinemann Educational Books. Harre, R., & Bhaskar, R. (2001). How to change reality: Story v. structure—a debate between Rom Harre and Roy Bhaskar. In J. Lopez & G. Potter (Eds.), After postmodernism, an introduction to critical realism (pp.  22–39). The Athlone Press. Hobbes, T. (1968 [1651]). Leviathan, or the matter, forme & power of a Commonwealth ecclesiasticall and Civil. Pelican Books. Hoggett, J., Redford, P., Toher, D., & White, P. (2019). Challenges for police leadership: Identity, experience and legitimacy and direct entry. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 34, 145–155. Homolova, P. (2012). Trust in Criminal Justice and Compliance with the Law in Czech Society: Testing the Normative Hypothesis on 1999 and 2011 Samples. Acta Universitatis Crolinae, Philosophy et Historica 2 / Studia Sociologica XVIII, Studies on Criminology (pp. 37–56). Prague: Charles University. Hough, M., & Maffei, S. (2013). Trust in justice: Thinking about legitimacy. Criminology in Europe: The Newsletter of the European Society of Criminology, 2, 4–10. Independent Police Commission. (2013). Policing for a better Britain: Report of the Independent Police Commission. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https:// www.researchgate.net/publication/303873773_Policing_for_a_Better_ B r i t a i n _ R e p o r t _ o f _ t h e _ I n d e p e n d e n t _ Po l i c e _ C o m m i s s i o n / link/5759888d08ae9a9c954f06d1/download Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Hough, M., Myhill, A., Quinton, P., & Tyler, T. R. (2012). Why do people comply with the law? Legitimacy and the influence of legal institutions. British Journal of Criminology, 52(6), 1051–1071. Jefferson, T., & Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the constable. Frederick Muller Limited. Klockars, C. (1980). The Dirty Harry problem. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 452, 33–47.

48 

I. Shannon

Lee, M., & McGovern, A. (2014). Policing and media: Public relations, simulations and communications. Routledge. Lentz, S.  A., & Chaires, R.  H. (2007). The invention of Peel’s principles: A study of policing “textbook” history. Journal of Criminal Justice, 35(1), 69–79. Loader, I. (2004). Policing, securitisation and democratisation in Europe. In T. Newburn & R. Sparks (Eds.), Criminal Justice and Political Cultures. Willan. Loader, I. (2020). Revisiting the police mission. Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/insight_paper_2.pdf Mark, R. (1977). Policing a perplexed society. George Allen & Unwin. Martin, J. (1997). Hegemony and the crisis of legitimacy in Gramsci. History of the Human Sciences, 10(1), 37–56. Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Davis, J., Sargeant, E., & Manning, M. (2013). Legitimacy in policing: A systematic review. The Campbell Collaboration. Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1848). Manifesto of the communist party. In K. Marx & F.  Engels (Eds.), Marx Engels: Selected works (pp.  31–63). Lawrence and Wishart. Metropolitan Police. (1985). The Principles of policing and guidance for professional behaviour. Metropolitan Police. Mill, J. S. (1962 [1861]). Utilitarianism. In M. Warnock (ed.), Utilitarianism (pp. 251–321). William Collins and Son. Murphy, K., & Cherney, A. (2012). Understanding cooperation in a diverse society. British Journal of Criminology, 52(1), 181–201. Murray, K., & Harkin, D. (2017). Policing in cool and hot climates: Legitimacy, power and the rise and fall of mass stop and search in Scotland. British Journal of Criminology, 57(4), 885–905. Myhill, A., & Beak, K. (2008). Public confidence in the police. National Police Improvement Agency. Oliver, I. (1987). Police government and accountability. The Macmillan Press. Peck, F., & Dickinson, H. (2010). Pursuing legitimacy: Conceptualising and developing leaders’ performance. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 31(7), 630–642. Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Reiner, R. (2007). Media made criminality: The representations of crime in the mass media. In M. Maguire, R. Morgan, & R. Reiner (Eds.), The Oxford book of criminology (4th ed.). Clarendon. Reiner, R. (2013). Who governs? Democracy, plutocracy, science and prophesy in policing. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 13(2), 161–180. Reiss, A. J., Jr. (1971). The police and the public. Yale University Press.

2  Legitimacy: A Contested Concept 

49

Reuss-Ianni, E. (1983). The two cultures of policing: Street cops and management cops. Transaction Books. Royal Commission on the Police. (1962). Final Report of the Royal Commission on the Police. 1962, HC, Cmnd. 1728 Runciman, D. (2016). The sovereign. In The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes (pp. 359–397). Oxford University Press. Runciman, D. (2020a). Hobbes on the state. In Talking Politics: History of Ideas (podcast). Retrieved December 09, 2020, from https://www.talkingpoliticspodcast.com/history-­of-­ideas Runciman, D. (2020b). Weber on leadership: The profession and vocation of politics. Talking Politics: History of Ideas (podcast). Retrieved December 10, 2020, from https://www.talkingpoliticspodcast.com/history-­of-­ideas Sanders, A., Young, R., & Burton, M. (2010). Criminal justice (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. Sargeant, E., Murphy, K., & Cherney, A. (2014). Ethnicity, trust and cooperation with police: Testing the dominance of the process based model. European Journal of Criminology, 11(4), 500–524. Seymour-Smith, C. (1986). Macmillan dictionary of anthropology. Macmillan. Shannon, I. (2021). Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales: Implications for police legitimacy. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 5(2), 912–926. Sindall, K., Sturgis, P., & Jennings, W. (2012). Public confidence in the police: A time-series analysis. British Journal of Criminology, 52(4), 744–764. Storch, R. D. (1975). The plague of the Blue Locusts: Police reform and popular resistance in Northern England, 1840–57. International Review of Social History, 20(1), 61–90. Tankebe, J. (2009). Public cooperation with the police in Ghana: Does procedural fairness matter? Criminology, 47(4), 1265–1293. Tankebe, J. (2013). Viewing things differently: The dimensions of public perceptions of police legitimacy. Criminology, 51(1), 103–134. Terpstra, J. (2011). Two theories on the police—The relevance of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim to the study of the police. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 39(1), 1–11. Tyler, T. R. (1990). Why people obey the law. Yale University Press. Tyler, T. R. (2006). Psychological perspectives on legitimacy and legitimation. Annual Review of Psychology, 57(1), 375–400. Tyler, T. R. (2011). Why people cooperate: The role of social motivations. Princeton University Press.

50 

I. Shannon

Van Sluis, A., & Cachet, L. (2007). Police, policing and governance in the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom. In E.  Bekkers, G.  Dijkstra, A.  Edwards, & M.  Fenger (Eds.), Governance and the Democratic deficit, assessing the democratic legitimacy of governance practices (pp. 107–124). Ashgate. Wall, D. S. (1998). The chief constables of England and Wales: The socio-legal history of a criminal justice elite. Ashgate. Weber, M. (1948a [1921]). Politics as a vocation. In H. H. Gerth, & C. Wright Mills (eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 77–127). Routledge and Kegan Paul Weber, M. (1948b [1922–1923]). The social psychology of the world religions. In H. H. Gerth, & C. Wright Mills (eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 267–301). Routledge and Kegan Paul.

3 Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations

This chapter identifies what type of people become chief police officers by examining their backgrounds, social and policing opinions and motivations for joining the police, and it considers the implications this has for police legitimacy. It contributes to the argument presented in this book by acting as a contextual bridge between the theoretical framework provided in the last chapter and later consideration of chief officers’ accounts of legitimacy. The information and analysis provided by this chapter, about the sort of people who rise to the top of the police, help to explain interviewees’ use of the three broad justifications of the purported right of police to exercise power based on protecting people, particularly the most vulnerable, policing by consent, and law and the oversight and political direction (or governance) of police, which are examined in the following chapters. The analysis in this chapter matters because, as was argued in the previous chapter, the type of people who become leaders is important for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the state and its institutions (Weber, 1948 [1921]). The public police are an important state institution and the type of leaders at the top of it, and the styles they adopt, are ‘key to driving structural and operational change and supporting a workforce as they adapt and move forward’ (Ramshaw & Simpson, © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_3

51

52 

I. Shannon

2019, p. 65). Therefore, chief officers should affect what their staff do, which largely determines police legitimacy (Loader, 2020). Debates continue about the best ways to act as a police leader and include discussions of the benefits of transformational and transactional traits, and the merits and meanings of leadership, management and command (Grint & Thornton, 2015). This chapter does not focus on these debates, rather it contributes to knowledge about chief officers, in terms of their type, attitudes they adopt and how this may influence the outcomes of policing, in particular the legitimacy of the police, as there is limited previous research that has investigated the type of person and the characteristics that are likely to make a good police leader (Caless, 2011, p. 117; Fleming, 2015b, p. 2; Ramshaw & Simpson, 2019, p. 52). This chapter is structured as follows. First, interviewees’ accounts about their social and educational backgrounds, career paths, training and policing socialisation processes are assessed, and comparisons are made with the chief constables interviewed by Reiner (1991), to evaluate how chief officers’ backgrounds and outlooks have changed since the 1980s. Second, drawing on the interviews conducted for this book, the national socialisation processes of contemporary policing are considered, to see if they have contributed to a more consistent set of views amongst chief officers, a feature identified by some previous researchers (Wall, 1998; Savage et al., 2000; Loader & Mulcahy, 2001a, 2001b). Third, interviewees’ motivations for joining the police are examined and a tension is identified between an attraction to excitement—that was associated with the use of power—and a desire to serve the public. Fourth, interviewees’ commentaries that illuminate how gender influences their understandings of a right to exercise power and the use of police power are assessed. Fifth, interviewees’ accounts are used to identify how, and to what extent, they reflect on the use of power and the right to use it—arguably an important consideration, as the use of legitimate power is central to the functions of the police (Reiss, 1971; Brodeur, 2010). The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications of this analysis for chief police officers’ understandings of the right of police to use power, for the exercise of power and for police legitimacy. The methodology used in this research was discussed in detail in Chap. 1. However, attention is again drawn to the limitations of the research, as

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

53

care must be taken in drawing conclusions about the social and policing backgrounds and motivations of all chief police officers based on the sample interviewed for this book. This chapter draws primarily on the 16 interviews conducted in 2016 with four assistant chief constables or commanders (ACCs or individually ACC), three deputy chief constables or deputy assistant commissioners (DCCs or individually DCC) and nine chief constables (CCs or individually CC). Less data that is relevant to the exploration in this chapter was gathered from the three chief constables and three senior leaders from other institutions in the policing landscape (hereafter senior leaders) interviewed in 2020. Where this chapter does use data from the 2020 interviews will be indicated.

Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds Cockcroft (2019, p. 28) argues that the culture of police leaders has had ‘more opportunity [than junior police officers’ cultures] to be influenced by a mixture of wider and social and biographic factors’. And he claims that the influence of social background has been underplayed in research on police culture. This chapter assesses data about the biographical and social backgrounds of chief police officers and this assessment contributes to knowledge about police cultures, as well as to the implications it may have for their understandings of the right of police to exercise power. Reiner (1991) was interested in the backgrounds of his chief constables and the types of people they were. The chief officers interviewed for this research differed from Reiner’s (1991, pp. 57–58) working-class elite. Of the 16 chief officers interviewed in 2016 only two of them considered that they came from working-class backgrounds, 11 had parents with professional careers, including a commissioned military officer, vicar, teacher, social worker and managing director. Two parents had been midranking police officers. In one case it was not clear how social background might be described. Overall, this was a group with middle-class origins. The research in 2020 did not examine the backgrounds of interviewees in detail, so the data about this group is limited. All the chief constables Reiner (1991) interviewed were white men. The 16 chief officers interviewed in 2016 were not a perfect reflection of

54 

I. Shannon

current chief officers but included four women and one officer from an ethnic minority background, and they were drawn from representative forces across England and Wales. This sample is similar to the demographic makeup of chief police officers across England and Wales, although chief constables are over-represented, and the one non-white chief officer is also an over-representation. All three chief constables interviewed in 2020 were men and two of the senior leaders from other institutions were women and one was a man, all were white. On 31 March 2020, 29.4 per cent of chief police officers in England and Wales were women and only 2 per cent were from black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds (Home Office, 2020). Women remain substantially under-represented when compared with the general population and chief officers from non-white backgrounds are even more under-represented. None of Reiner’s (1991, pp. 59–60) chief constables had degrees before they joined the police and only a quarter obtained degrees subsequently. Chief officer posts are now almost entirely filled by graduates, many with higher degrees; a trend that was identified in the 1990s by Wall (1998). Amongst the 16 chief officers interviewed in 2016 only one did not have a degree and all 3 chief constables interviewed in 2020 had degrees, as did the three senior leaders. In the 2016 cohort three did not have degrees before joining the police service but acquired them later. Seven had a master’s degree, one without a first degree, all the master’s degrees had been gained whilst in the police and one interviewee was working towards a PhD.  The universities attended included Oxford, Cambridge and Durham and most had studied at Russell Group universities. Four had attended independent schools and six went to grammar schools (one went to both). Three had been to comprehensive schools. In three cases, it was not clear what kind of secondary school had been attended. To summarise this section, chief police officers are no longer the male working-class elite that Reiner (1991) interviewed in the 1980s, very few of whom were graduates. Chief police officers are now mainly from middle-­class backgrounds and nearly a third of them are women, although very few are not white. And almost all chief police officers are university educated, mainly at prestigious universities and many have master’s degrees. Phelan et  al. (1995, p.  126) found that ‘education socializes

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

55

students to the “official culture” which in the United States includes values of equal opportunity and equal respect’, although not equal outcomes. Phelan et  al. (1995) did not look at chief police officers, the research was in the USA and their concern was the effects of education on social attitudes. However, the relevance of their research lies in providing a plausible, if partial, explanation for the apparently liberal views expressed by the current cohort of well-educated chief officers, views which are discussed next.

Chief Police Officers: A Liberal Elite? This group was also different from Reiner’s in what it did not voice. The law-and-order language and socially conservatively rhetoric of many of Reiner’s chief constables (1991, pp.  193–220) was absent, as were the maverick views and individuals identified by Loader and Mulcahy (2001a). Indeed, the language of consent, proportionality and human rights was commonly used by interviewees in 2016 and 2020, and they appeared to be socially liberal, although the extent to which the language translates into operational practice is unclear. This assessment reflects a trend identified by Wall (1998) and Loader and Mulcahy (2001a) and is not dissimilar from Punch’s (2009, pp. 233–234) judgement: Policing elites in recent years have become relatively liberal in the UK— and in the Netherlands. The consent paradigm espoused by these leaders— geared to service to the public, consultation, rights, due process and integrity is, however, difficult to maintain when the heat is on from politicians and the populist media.

The extent to which this apparent shift in attitudes reflects wider societal changes, rather than a change in the background and socialisation of chief officers, is not clear. Loader and Mulcahy (2001a) postulated a link between the decline in chief officers expressing authoritarian views and a waning of authoritarian political rhetoric. Elements of political and public authoritarian rhetoric have, arguably, returned in political and public debate. This can arguably be seen in Home Secretary Patel’s demands for

56 

I. Shannon

‘a clampdown on Black Lives Matter protests’ (Hamilton, 2020) and earlier in Theresa May’s (2010) limited interpretation of the police role, which focused on crime reduction and enforcement, which has echoes of the narrow view of policing held by a significant minority of the chief constables interviewed by Reiner (1991). Given this change in emphasis in parts of political discourse, one might expect some interviewees to have used elements of the authoritarian language of law and order, but this did not surface in the interviews. Evidence as to why the lexicon and narratives used by chief officers have apparently altered might be found in their career paths and policing socialisation processes, which are considered next.

 he Career Paths and Socialisation, T Development and Training of Chief Police Officers Interviewees had a wide range of police backgrounds, some serving only in largely urban forces, others in predominantly rural areas and some in both. Of the 19 chief officers interviewed in 2016 and 2020, five had only served in one force, although most had moved during their service and several had experiences of secondments, such as to HMICFRS, the National Crime Agency (or its predecessor the Serious and Organised Crime Agency), Home Office or elsewhere in the Civil Service. These wider experiences are now likely to be less common, due to the growth of in-force appointments, and reduced incentives to seek external development, that were in part a product of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSRA). The PRSRA introduced police and crime commissioners (PCCs, hereafter this acronym will also be used to include Police Fire and Crime Commissioners and the mayors for London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, who have the same governance powers over the police as PCCs) and placed few limitations on their ability to recruit and remove chief constables (Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021). The PRSRA also removed rules which prevented chief officers from serving in all three chief officer ranks in one force, without

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

57

at least two years’ experience as a chief officer in another force or organisation (in exceptional circumstances the Home Secretary had the authority to make exemptions, but this was rarely done). Since 2011 PCCs have largely chosen to select chief officers from within their own forces as chief constables (HMICFRS, 2019). The PRSRA shifted responsibility for appointing assistant and deputy chief constables from police authorities to chief constables and chief constables have also been more prone than police authorities to promote internal candidates to assistant and deputy chief constable posts (ibid.). Prior to the PRSRA police authorities could only appoint chief officers (of all ranks) from short lists of candidates approved by the Home Secretary, who was advised by HMICFRS. The PRSRA removed this requirement, and the Home Office no longer provides short lists of approved candidates for chief police officer posts. HMICFRS (2019) has raised concerns about the negative impact of these reforms in terms of greater parochialism, inadequate professional development, reduced diversity amongst chief officers and the potential for inappropriate appointments to the most senior ranks. Wall (1998, p. 6) provides a historical warning about the risks of local elites selecting chief constables in their own image, consequently reinforcing inequalities and the status quo. This issue will be returned to when discussing accounts of police governance in Chap. 6. But despite this increased parochialism, some important national career socialisation processes remain. All officers aspiring to be chief officers must pass a national assessment process to qualify for the Strategic Command Course (previously labelled the Senior Command Course) and successfully complete the course, which includes long residential elements, before applying for chief officer positions. This was not the case for Reiner’s (1991) cohort of chief constables. The majority of those interviewed in 2016 were also products of accelerated promotion schemes through the Special Course, or its replacement the High Potential Development Scheme, and/or had been highlighted and been paid for through full-time degrees by the Bramshill Scholarship scheme.1 There was a mix of specialisms, all interviewees had experience as uniformed officers, some had specialised as detectives and several spent considerable time as firearms and/or public order commanders. Others served for lengthy periods in local policing, community

58 

I. Shannon

relations and partnership roles and a few had expertise in counter-­ terrorism policing. Reiner (1991, pp. 303–340) made considerable play of the influence of the type of career on the approach adopted by chief constables. With one exception (a very experienced public order commander, whose views about the right to exercise power relied heavily on law and police governance, with arguments relating to consent and protecting people being subsidiary) it was difficult to discern starkly different approaches to policing, or patterns in understandings of the right to exercise power amongst the chief officers that were interviewed in 2016 and 2020. The views varied and were sometimes confused and contradictory, as will be discussed in the following chapters. But the broad themes and trains of argument—when disentangled—were similar, and the differences did not appear to relate to their career histories and specialisms. It is possible that the socialisation processes of contemporary policing, including changes in roles and shared experiences of training, have diluted the impact of career specialisms on the views of chief officers. The national processes of socialisation and training (Wall, 1998; Caless, 2011) appear to have removed most of the mavericks described by Loader and Mulcahy (2001a, p. 41). These processes include the role of the Strategic Command Course as a rite of passage, accompanied by the centralising tendency of national government (Wall, 1998, p. 315; Savage et al., 2000; Loader & Mulcahy, 2001b, pp.  258–259). This seems to have produced a group who espouse a more consistent set of views, which is in line with the findings of earlier researchers (Wall, 1998; Savage et  al., 2000; Loader & Mulcahy, 2001a, 2001b). And their opinions and policing philosophies appear to be liberal and inclined to support human rights, which also resonates with earlier research findings (Wall, 1998; Loader & Mulcahy, 2001a; Punch, 2009). The details about chief officers’ backgrounds were drawn from answers to questions in the early stages of the interviews. These were designed to elicit contextual data and, through a hopefully uncontentious opening, to encourage an open conversation. Interviewees were also asked, early in the interviews, why they had joined the police, and the following section assesses their responses.

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

59

Chief Police Officers’ Motivations Asking chief police officers why they joined the police prompted accounts about their perceptions of policing and its purposes and gave insights into why they joined the police and about what continued to motivate them as police officers. This data informs interpretation of their explanations of legitimacy. Their reasons for joining the police fell into two broad categories, excitement and public service. For all but two of the 2016 interviewees (the 2020 interviewees were not asked these questions) both excitement and public service were cited. A predilection for excitement is not necessarily the same as a fondness for power. However, excitement was, mainly, associated by interviewees with the use of power. And satisfaction and confidence in using power were also evident in many responses as a necessary element of interventions made as a police officer to protect people. For some interviewees, the perceived excitement and variation of policing contrasted with alternative careers they had started or considered, and stories were also provided of the excitement policing provided them.2 Chief Constable CO6A recalled: My first night as a sergeant on a response group was during the XXX riots, so taking over a serial of officers who I had met for the first time in the streets of XXX amid petrol bombs that were thrown at us, cars driven at us—I suppose learning to lead people in extremis … I loved that sort of policing. (CO6A)

The lure of power and the ability this provides to make a difference was noted by Deputy Chief Constable CO12A, who was also attracted by the structure provided by policing: I’m pre-suited to a … fairly structured organisation[al] context to work in, which the police certainly offers … it’s about a fairly direct influence on people’s lives through the decisions you make—intervening, that sort of thing … there’s something about power in a sense. (CO12A)

The perception of a varied police career was also an attraction. CC CO1A’s response was typical, ‘in policing—that unpredictability and

60 

I. Shannon

variety—there is no job like it in the world’. CC CO4A had a similar view and contrasted the perceived excitement of policing with a previous career: I was a week short of my XXth birthday when I joined, having worked in XXX for about nine months and been really bored by it, so it [policing] was an exciting job and I can always remember not even wanting a rest day to take a day off, never mind taking annual leave. (CO4A)

CC CO2A’s following comment illustrates the combined pull of public service and excitement, and there are echoes of Reiner’s (2010, pp. 186–202) discussion of the potentially legitimating role of fictional portrayals of policing, though the second of CO2A’s fictional choices is not a model of rectitude: I was fundamentally driven, as I say, by the public service, sort of, orientation and … the fact that the job looked pretty exciting from what I could see on the TV. … So, it was those two. I was too young for Dixon of Dock Green as I recall it, I think but it was—yeah. So, I think it was a mixture of, you know, the real sort of values of being associated with being a community cop, that sort of—but also sat alongside that, some of the excitement that was perhaps displayed through programmes like The Sweeney. (CO2A)

The other motivation was public service, which was widely associated with tackling unfairness and improving people’s lives, as discussed by CC CO14A: It’s actually to serve. Well, one, I needed a job but two is actually to serve … to make a difference to people’s lives …. And that has never changed. (CO14A)

Other interviewees echoed this, ‘a, kind of, public service ethos that’s pretty strong for me’ (DCC CO12A); ‘I think some of it is fundamentally me, because I can see some of that fairness and rights stuff even when I was right back at school’ (DCC CO16A); and ‘[I] had that

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

61

idealistic view of wanting to “do my bit” for society and make a difference’ (CC CO13A). The distinction between the attractions of excitement and power and those of public service is reminiscent of accounts of a service/force dichotomy or a similar consent/control contrast. These can all be argued to be artificial divides, as public service and the use of force are both features of policing, as are consent and control (Van Dijk et al., 2015). Contemporary chief officers appear to recognise this, as all these aspects appear in interviewees’ accounts. Although, as will be discussed in Chap. 5, the coercive and controlling facets of policing tended to be underplayed and consent was emphasised. The opinions of chief police officers about policing purpose seem to have changed since the late 1980s. The interviewees in 2016 placed a greater emphasis on the service and welfare aspects of policing than had been the case for Reiner’s (1991) cohort, a substantial minority of whom thought about policing largely in terms of crime fighting. This may reflect a wider change in police organisational cultures, from the purpose of policing being predominantly framed in terms of crime fighting and enforcement—which Innes (2019) framed as ‘magical’ thinking and Loader (2014, p. 70) described as the ‘myth of crime-fighting’—to a police mission which emphasises the service, welfare and public engagement aspects of policing, a change which Charman (2017) comments on in her study of police recruits and which is reflected in wider discussions of policing purpose (Police Foundation, 2020). The views of some individual chief officers also altered over time, as illustrated by CC CO3A: as a younger officer … I was very much in the—this is the police force—we are not a police service. But as you get older, and hopefully wiser, you realise that, whether you like it or not, we’re a social service. (CO3A)

This may arise from personal experience and the perspective offered by different rank or position. However, these alterations in opinions and attitudes are also likely to be heavily influenced by wider social and political cultures (Chan, 1996), and these fluctuate. This can be seen in the political shift from an emphasis on ‘neighbourhood policing’ (Home Office, 2005) and ‘citizen focus’ (Home Office, 2006) to an apparent return to law-and-order rhetoric with the arrival of the Coalition

62 

I. Shannon

Government (May, 2010), which seems to continue under Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government, as indicated by Home Secretary Patel’s demands for a police clampdown on Black Lives Matter protests (Hamilton, 2020). Yet amongst interviewees there was a continuity in the liberal-leaning and service-led discourse that had previously been identified by Wall (1998), Loader and Mulcahy (2001a, 2001b) and Punch (2009). There was an interesting outlier (rank and code removed to further protect anonymity). Although no questions were posed about faith one interviewee raised religion as their primary motivation and guide to policing: my own learning link to, in particular, faith and theology, and that sense of service, is really important to me in terms of how I conduct my business in work and how I see the privilege of what people would call a powerful position, but I certainly don’t see it as powerful—I see it as a responsibility, which is sometimes a heavy responsibility. But my background and sense of service is what I fall back on to allow me to make some of those difficult decisions.

However, only one interviewee referred to religion as a reference point for their understandings of how they should use power. But all interviewees reported that they were attracted to policing by the excitement it seemed to offer, and this was often associated with the power of the role. They also said they were drawn to policing by a sense of public service. The implications of these motivations for their understandings of the supposed right of police to exercise power require further attention.

A Power/Service Paradox? It is arguably possible to be enticed to, and enjoy, a career that seems exciting and which requires the exercise of power whilst valuing public service and gaining satisfaction from delivering it. However, some interviewees highlighted hazards in the potential tension between these

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

63

attractions. These risks related to the type of person who could be drawn to policing and to climbing the policing ranks, as CC CO14A commented: I think positions of power attract people who like power. Now if you walk around any of my police stations now … you will meet a great deal of people whose motivation is giving great service. But … the closer to the top you get, in this or any other profession, the closer you will be to people who either like power or have become a little tipsy on it because they’re people who didn’t expect to have it and now have it and rather like it. (CO14A)

The risk that the practice of policing and success in climbing the ranks, particularly to a senior level, could lead to feelings of entitlement to power and an expectation that they would not be challenged was also raised. This resonates with Wooldridge’s (2021) critique of the illusion of meritocracy and of the sense of (unwarranted) entitlement that can come with academic and career success. Particularly when individuals believe this is a result of personal merit, despite the likelihood that the social position they were born into and their upbringing have heavily weighted the scales in their favour. And contemporary chief police officers have largely been successful academically and have risen to the top of their careers, which requires negotiating difficult and competitive promotion processes (Caless, 2011). DCC CO12A reflected on a specific pattern of abuse of power and position by some chief officers (details of the abuse of power are withheld to protect the anonymity of the interviewee): The thing that really struck me … two things really. One is the feeling of invulnerability that grew up—the feeling that because of who I am, or what I am—and/or what I am, I can do this. And who is going to question me? (CO12A)

Some chief officers contended that the dark side of the lure of power is not confined to those in, or aiming for, senior rank and that some people are attracted to the power of policing for self-serving and malign ends. As CC CO7A observed:

64 

I. Shannon

There’s an interesting question we don’t ask ourselves enough, both people who want to join the police and I guess, arguably, also, we should ask it about those who want to leave the police. And that’s—policing is a really attractive career if—if you are a bully, if you are power-crazed, if you are a sexual predator—you know, there is a whole range of pretty unpleasant personality traits which make policing look like a really attractive career— certainly the way it is seen from outside currently. And inside … if you’re, I don’t know, authoritarian, manipulative, like to control, like to bully, then you want to be one of the bosses, don’t you—rather than one of the— the front line or, you know, one of the constables. So, how can we eliminate those people or those traits from being successful in either joining us and then climbing the pole … you can get some pretty nasty people in policing. (CO7A)

The well-educated, predominantly middle-class and liberal-leaning chief police officers who were interviewed for this book differ from most officers who have been the subject of academic curiosity about their working practices and cultures, who were principally ‘lower-ranking officers without a college education’ (Cockcroft, 2013, p.  80). Therefore, wider conclusions about police culture or personality should arguably not be drawn from this research, as these chief officers are atypical of the wider police service, in which there are a variety of cultures or sub-­cultures (Hobbs, 1988; Foster, 2003; Reiner, 2010). However, there are echoes in some of these chief officers’ accounts of Holdaway’s (1983) observations about the risks of a police culture that puts a high value on excitement and action and attracts people with this predilection. Skolnick (1966) argued that the experience of policing, notably feelings of danger and isolation, shapes the attitude of officers and they develop personalities, which tend to value excitement and action. This research does not provide firm evidence on whether police officers are predisposed to excitement, or alternatively develop this trait whilst serving. Indeed, it is possible that both an innate attraction to exhilaration and the experience of policing shape the value that officers put on excitement, action and power. However, excitement, power and public service, to varying degrees, played an important part in attracting these chief officers to policing. And it is probable, it is contended, that these motivations help

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

65

sculpt their understandings of a supposed right of police to exercise power. It may also influence how they use power, as a predisposition to excitement and authority could lead to a tendency to precipitative use of power, although this might be mitigated by a persistent public service ethos. Police officers must be prepared to use power, as the exercise of legitimate power is a critical, indeed defining, element of the role of the public police (Brodeur, 2010; Bowling et al., 2019). And officers would arguably be ill-suited to intervening in social conflict, maintaining order and protecting people if they shied from the use of power. But police legitimacy also calls for restraint in the use of power if consent is to be retained or renewed, an argument espoused by earlier chief officers (Mark, 1977; Oliver, 1987). Consequently, it is contended, police officers need to be willing to use power, including violence. But they must try to ensure that power is applied only when necessary, and then proportionately, to achieve public goods by improving and protecting people’s lives. This should enhance police legitimacy. The accounts provided by interviewees suggest that many people who are committed to public service are attracted to join the police, and most of these may also gain satisfaction from the excitement involved in some policing activities and from the associated use of power. But a career in the police also appeals to a type of person who might use police power for their own selfish and malign ends, and some of these may end up as chief officers. This worry appears to influence interviewees’ accounts of a right to exercise power, which they argued must be used legally and within constitutional parameters set by the democratic political direction and oversight of police. These justifications are examined in Chap. 6. Interviewees’ accounts about the motivations of excitement, power and public service may also influence their claims to a right to use power to protect people, which they envisaged as a key public good that police contribute to and protecting people requires the legitimate use of power. These claims are discussed in Chap. 4. The motivation of public service is also likely to influence chief officers’ justifications of a right to use power founded on policing by consent, as the use of power needs to be in line with wider societal norms, including the rights of the individual (Durkheim, 1986) and expectations of

66 

I. Shannon

minimal coercion (Mark, 1977). These accounts of legitimacy are considered in Chap. 5. Gender may also play a role in determining how chief police officers use power and understand police legitimacy and is considered next.

Gendered Understandings of Power In 2016 five interviewees, three women and two men, raised the role of gender in how police power might be used and understood. This section assesses these accounts, and it contributes to discussions about the connections between gender, power, chief police officers and legitimacy. However, this research did not set out to explore the impact of gender on these issues, hence the data gathered was limited and the findings are tentative. As noted earlier 29.4 per cent of chief police officers are now women (Home Office, 2020), including 12 chief constables, the Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, the Chief Executive of the National Crime Agency3 and from 2015 to 2019 the Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council. There were no female chief constables and very few chief officers4 in other ranks when Reiner (1991) completed his research. Silvestri (2019) argues that little has altered since Reiner’s (1991) study and that police leadership is still dominated by white males from a similar background who, which she argues, continue: to shape contemporary characterisations and constructions of the ‘ideal’ police leader. Informed by a masculinist paradigm of leadership the image of the leader is underpinned by universalistic norms and beliefs which call for certain behaviours and characteristics. (Silvestri 2019, p. 105)

These characteristics are purported to include being single-minded, competitive, ambitious, task focused, assertive and confident when exerting power (Silvestri, 2019, p. 105, referencing Maier, 1997, as cited in Olsson, 2002, p. 143). There is also a high value placed on a full-time career, without breaks, and on working extremely long hours (Caless, 2011). This helps secure ‘men’s position as “insiders” and simultaneously

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

67

reconfirming women’s status as “outsiders”’ (Silvestri, 2019, p. 115). But the suggestion that contemporary chief officers resemble those of the 1980s needs to be examined. As discussed earlier, the chief officers of the 1980s were all male and white, from working-class origins, with a substantial proportion with military backgrounds and none had degrees before joining the police. Contemporary chief officers have a quite different make-up, nearly a third are female, although few are not white, almost all are graduates and many have master’s degrees, some have PhDs, they mainly have middle-class origins, and military backgrounds are now rare (one interviewee in this research had completed a short-service military commission). The data gathered from interviewees is now examined for indications as to whether the culture and characteristics of police leaders identified by Silvestri (2019) persist amongst chief officers. CC CO13A perceived a prevalent expectation within the police service, and amongst leaders of institutions with responsibility for police oversight, that chief officers should behave in ways that fitted a masculine stereotype. CO13A’s description reflects the ‘assertive masculinity’ that Langan et al. (2019) argued is a feature of wider police culture and resembles the leadership culture described by Silvestri (2019): I still think there’s a gender issue. So—and the reason I say that is because people still have a view about what a leader is and what a powerful leader is and … it’s about masculine stereotypes. … there’s still a certain type of leader and so, if you link that to use of power and how they display it, that it’s still being promoted as that’s the way it should—and that’s—we’ve still got that flaw—it’s almost that flaw of you don’t figure out right and wrong, you just have to be certain and bang the table a lot …And, if you also look at what comes from the HMI as well, around the leadership stuff—if you look at the treatment of female chiefs—so you either subscribe to the fact that [we/they] are all not very good, or there’s something still going on there. And its not just female chiefs … [the interviewee then provided an example of a male chief constable who was scrutinised and criticised by individuals from institutions responsible for police governance for not behaving in ways, that the interviewee judged, reflected assertive masculinity. This example is withheld to protect the anonymity of the interviewee and the anonymity of the chief constable she was referring to] … [although] if you look around, there are less people in that ­silverback-type role—that was always the expression that was used, wasn’t

68 

I. Shannon

it—than there used to be. But there is—there are—these things are still going on. (CO13A)

CO13A was one of the three chief officers to mention ‘Silverbacks’, chief officers who, it was contended, appeared confident and certain, even when confidence and certainty were inappropriate, with a predisposition to action, and a disinclination to reflection. They appeared to favour command over collaboration in achieving policing goals. It was suggested that this type of chief officer tended to dominate meetings with peers and their conduct could constrain contributions from others. Examples were provided by interviewees of men and women who, they suggested, fell into this category. CC CO4A claimed that there was an element of group dynamic amongst this type of chief officer, with this apparently dominant group supporting each other and excluding others who appeared less confident. However, CO4A felt the issue was less pronounced than in the past: People sometimes talk about the Big Silverbacks—you know, XXXX was one of them. XXXX was another—you know, you could trot off those chiefs—and there was probably six or ten of them who were big hitters— you know, XXXX—you can name them, as I can. It seems now to be less clique-y. (CO4A)

CO4A’s observations might reflect a wider shift in police culture from a propensity for command and control towards a greater emphasis on collaboration, engagement and empowerment, but with ‘more work to be done’ to embed this cultural change (Brown et al., 2020, p. 19). CC CO13A held HMIC partly responsible for the persistence of certain gendered types of approaches to the use of power. CC CO14A expanded this to include those who select chief officers (police authorities and now PCCs) and to the influence of training, particularly the Strategic Command Course (SCC): I had a discussion with a Chair of the Police Authority some years ago about some issues they had with a particular Chief [and qualities they wanted in a new Chief ] … they used the word ‘kindness’ at one point and

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

69

another word they used, it was about service—you know, service and selflessness. Was that in the job advertisement you put out? It wasn’t … The Service has been selecting particular types of people and then are surprised when the people they have selected are doing what was in the advertisement … the course [the Strategic Command Course] valued particular things. So, for example, the more mouthy you were, the better grades you seemed to get. And it did value that type of Lord Flashheart5 type of behaviour, the ego-driven behaviour. (CO14A)

DCC CO12A made a similar point to CC CO14A about the SCC, which he recollected reinforced brash and overly competitive behaviours, whilst failing to meaningfully support reflective practice. The SCC has changed since these chief officers commented on it but whether this has altered the approach to competition or reflection, which could be framed as ‘competitive masculinity’ (Silvestri, 2019, p. 114), is unclear. When HMICFRS (2019) conducted its inspection of chief officer development and selection the SCC had not been subject to any independent review and HMICFRS has no power to inspect the College of Policing, who are responsible for the SCC. CO14A’s and CO12A’s comments arguably support Chan’s (1996) proposition that police cultures reflect the political and societal cultures they operate in. Consequently, the cultures of political and bureaucratic elites, particularly of those who select and oversee chief constables, may influence chief officers’ behaviours and approaches to power. This is reminiscent of Wall’s (1998, p. 300) historical account of local elites selecting chief constables who shared their values and norms. Interviewees who commented on these issues claimed that whilst some gendered, brash and ego-driven behaviours persist, they are less prevalent than they used to be. Whether this perception reflects what is happening now is uncertain; in part because a wider feature of interviewees’ accounts was a tendency to portray the past as a coercive and controlling ‘then’, which was contrasted with a more consensual and collaborative ‘now’. This theme is returned to in Chap. 5. However, if interviewees’ accounts reflect contemporary behaviours and attitudes, they may fit with the cultural shift identified by Ramshaw et al. (2019, p. xvii), at least in rhetoric, from ‘autocratic and transactional leadership styles to transformational

70 

I. Shannon

models’, which seek to increase the involvement of the wider workforce in how policing is delivered and in changing police culture or cultures. On balance interviewees’ accounts suggest that some of the cultural features identified by Silvestri (2019) persist, although there appears to have been a shift in culture. Whether this apparent trend away from ‘competitive masculinity’ (Silvestri, 2019, p. 114) continues may be in doubt, particularly if police and crime commissioners and chief constables persist with a parochial approach to the development and selection of chief police officers, which appears to have stalled the increase seen in the number of women, and to a lesser extent non-white people in chief officer ranks (HMICFRS, 2019; Shannon, 2021). Even if the numbers of women and non-white chief officers rise again, this will not necessarily change the cultural expectations and behaviours identified by Silvestri (2019) and Langan et  al. (2019). Achieving quantitative targets for increasing diversity is arguably insufficient if it is not accompanied by wider changes within the police, notably in addressing persistent drivers of inequalities, such as the expectation of extreme overwork (Silvestri, 2019, p. 115), a feature of chief police officers’ lives that was identified by Caless (2011). The behaviours and cultures of chief officers also need to be seen in the context of the cultures of the political and bureaucratic elites responsible for directing, overseeing and selecting them (Chan, 1996). The Home Affairs Select Committee (2013) described the first elected PCCs as a monoculture. This has hardly changed. Of the 42 PCCs and deputy mayors responsible for policing prior to the May 2021 PCC elections, only nine were women, and one was not white. Following the May 2021 elections 12 of the PCCs and deputy mayors responsible for policing were women and one was not white. And the two women who were deputy mayors worked for mayors who were men, this was the case before and after the 2021 election. And of the three mayors with responsibility for policing, all were men and one of these was not white prior to the 2021 election and after the election two were men and one was not white. One election was due to be rerun in August 2021 (APCC, 2021). The 43rd territorial police force in England and Wales, the City of London Police, continues to be governed by the City of London Police Authority, where the Chair and Deputy Chair are white men (City of London, 2021).

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

71

However, the research that underpins this book cannot substantiate a causal link between the near monoculture of PCCs and the behaviour, conduct and culture of chief police officers. This would, it is suggested, be a fruitful area for new research. The influence of the oversight and direction of policing on chief officers, and on police legitimacy, is returned to when discussing police governance in Chap. 6. An aspect of the culture of chief police officers that some interviewees contended related to gendered behaviours was a disposition to action and insufficient attention to reflection. And how interviewees seemed to reflect on the use of power and on the right to exercise power is examined next.

 ow Chief Police Officers Reflect on the Use H of Power and the Right to Use It The use of power is central to the role of the public police (Brodeur, 2010; Bowling et  al., 2019). Therefore, it is arguably appropriate to expect chief police officers to reflect seriously on how to use power, and on the right of police to use it. Effective systems, including mentoring and training, should support such thinking (HMICFRS, 2019). The need for effective reflexive practice may be greater if policing is becoming more complex and demanding, leading to increasingly difficult decisions concerning priorities, including judgements about how to use power. Growing complexity in policing, associated with an expansion in the range and size of criminal, societal and budgetary challenges, was repeatedly referred to by chief officers in the accounts that underpin this book. This theme was particularly pronounced when interviewees talked about protecting vulnerable people, a subject which is explored in Chap. 4. Chief police officers have always had to prioritise and make decisions about how to use power. And some of the challenges they raised are not new, rather they are now political and societal priorities (such as child sexual exploitation). But others are relatively recent (notably cybercrime), and some are variations of old problems (e.g. terrorism). However, concerns about increasing change and complexity in policing are widespread.

72 

I. Shannon

It is a theme of the Police Foundation’s (2020) ongoing strategic review of policing, and it runs through Fleming’s (2015) edited collection Police Leadership: Rising to the Top and dominates Sir Peter Fahy’s (2015) foreword to this book (he was then Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police). Yet, most interviewees in 2016 said that there were few opportunities to reflect on the use of power, and little encouragement to do so, particularly once they became chief officers (the interviews in 2020 did not cover this issue). Although, in some operational areas—notably police use of firearms, public order and counter-terrorism—command training is available, which should include the opportunity to reflect on how and why power is used. However, as CC CO14A noted, some of this training could be interpreted as defensive and legalistic, and it might lead to inappropriate risk-averse behaviours: a lot of the training that we have had around decision making has been around recording decision making for subsequent inquiries, rather than— rather than, if you like, a review of, well, what was supposed to happen, what actually happened, what was the difference and so on, which would be really helpful. It seemed to be very much around let’s try and avoid some form of legal action. (CO14A)

CC CO6A was typical in commenting on the paucity of training and development opportunities: There is no finishing school for chief constables. There is no—no training for you, other than a little bit of continuous professional development … there’s nothing there for—once you get past ACC, DCC, chief—there is nothing. (CO6A)

And CC CO2A considered there was a need for more reflection on power and legitimacy: I don’t tend to think about power at all … the only time I think about power is when—when I have a personal engagement with a member of the public, either out on patrol or when I am stopping them … I think the service is confused around this notion of legitimacy. I don’t think it’s—it’s not in the conversation as much as it ought to be. (CO2A)

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

73

Although, in an e-mail responding to a summary of emerging findings sent to the 2016 interviewees, ACC CO8A noted that there were some opportunities for reflection: [the exercise of power] is discussed to a degree in command training; particularly the Gold Public Order Command Course which places great emphasis on the need to balance the rights of the individual and the state and often two sets of individual groups, one of whom often feels that the state is using force unfairly against them. (CO8A)

However, beyond firearms, public order and counter-terrorist command training (and CCs rarely remain accredited in these areas, and not all DCCs and ACCs are trained and accredited in these specialisms) there appear to be few opportunities for structured consideration of the exercise of power. Although, there was some unstructured personal reflection on the use of power, as CC CO14A noted: I think self-questioning is really important. Self-doubt. I actually think self-doubt is great, in some cases. I think you do need to continue to reflect ‘am I doing the right thing?’ You need to continue to reflect on these things—that’s why we have all got grey hair. (CO14A)

DCC CO16A picked up the same theme: I ask XXXX [CO16A’s chief constable] quite a lot to go through some of the thinking on things and just, sort of, question why I have done something. Particularly if, you know, it is mulling over—so we, you know—we do that. But probably not as much as we ought to. (CO16A)

There was little to suggest that the SCC, a rite of passage for all chief officers, provided significant opportunities to reflect on the right to exercise power. DCC CO12A was forthright in identifying that it did not provide an environment that supported reflective practice: I think SCC’s awful—was awful—awful … I thought SCC did more to foster a feeling of elitism and arrogance about your place in the world— certainly in the organisation, if not actually in the world, than was ever

74 

I. Shannon

healthy. The parade of chiefs coming through and posturing and telling us how wonderful they were. (CO12A)

Although, as was noted earlier, the SCC had altered since these chief officers attended it, and has changed again since the interviews in 2016. A more recent attendee than CO12A, ACC CO15A, held an alternative but solitary view: the leadership training and Strategic Command Course that I have received and [I] felt that it really did have a huge impact on me, and I learnt a hell of a lot, then the seeds planted is around constantly reflecting and learning. (CO15A)

Most interviewees reported that there was insufficient encouragement of, and opportunities for, reflection. And some felt that they did not reflect sufficiently on the use of power and the right to use it, although these comments can also be interpreted positively as displaying self-­ awareness and being examples of informal reflexive practice. Overall interviewees’ accounts about reflective practice resonate with Goode and Lumsden’s (2018) finding that managerial level police officers tend not to have, or take, sufficient time to reflect and that this might come from a culture percolating up from lower ranks that values action and quick decisions and does not value reflection. An intention to improve reflective practice and career development opportunities was signalled by the College of Policing’s (2015) Leadership Review, but four years later HMICFRS (2019) identified that much more still needed to be done to support chief officers’ professional development. Arguably senior leaders, in an occupation that aspires to professional status (Holdaway, 2017), should take greater responsibility for their own reflexive practice (Grint & Thornton, 2015). However, the culture of excessive hours (Caless, 2011) and the demands placed on them by individuals in institutions responsible for police governance (Thornton, 2019; Cooper, 2020; Shannon, 2021) may make this an unreasonable counsel of perfection. Arguably responsibility for developing reflective practice amongst chief officers lies not only with them, but also with individuals and institutions responsible for their oversight and political direction.

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

75

Conclusion This chapter has provided insights into the type of people contemporary chief police officers are, by examining their backgrounds, motivations and attitudes. It has identified that they are well educated, predominantly from middle-class backgrounds, are liberal leaning and nearly a third are now women. This contrasts with the entirely male working-class and socially conservative inclined elite examined by Reiner (1991). Chief officers are attracted to policing by a sense of public service and the lure of excitement, which is associated with the authority and power inherent to policing. These attractions are not incompatible, but they are in tension, as a pronounced inclination to action and enjoyment of power may not be conducive to chief officers making good decisions about how and when to exercise power, for (and not just over) their various publics. Interviewees identified that some police officers, including chief officers, could be attracted to the power that is intrinsic to being a police officer for their own purposes, to the detriment of public service and the greater good. And such misuse of power might endanger consent to the use of power, which is discussed in Chap. 5. The potential for the self-interested misuse of power by police appeared to influence interviewees’ justifications for the right to use power related to the importance for legitimacy of legal and constitutional controls on police power, which are discussed in Chap. 6. Some interviewees suggested that the approaches to the use of police power adopted by chief officers are affected by gendered cultural norms, which resemble the ‘competitive masculinity’ described by Silvestri (2019). The data suggests that these attitudes persist, but they are probably less prevalent than they used to be. However, it is possible that the wider political and bureaucratic cultures that chief police officers operate within—which amongst PCCs is arguably a white and mainly male culture—may stall this apparently positive development. Interviewees’ accounts suggest that there is insufficient support and encouragement for chief police officers to reflect on the use of police power, and the right to use it, and some interviewees (arguably encouragingly in a reflective mode) considered that they did not reflect sufficiently on the exercise of police power and the right to use it; this may be

76 

I. Shannon

associated with wider police cultural norms that tend to favour action over reflection. The analysis of chief police officers’ backgrounds and motivations in this chapter supports the assessment and interpretation of their three broad understandings of the right to exercise power in the following chapters. The first is addressed in the next chapter and is a justification of the right to exercise power based on a duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable.

Notes 1. Bramshill was the former location of the Police Staff College. The Bramshill Scholarship scheme (which funded some serving police officers who were considered to have potential to excel, to attend university full time whilst being paid as police officers) has not operated for several years. 2. This research did not disentangle these perceptions of excitement from the day-to-day experience of the practice of policing, which may often be more mundane. 3. On 25 June 2021. 4. Alison Halford became the first police chief officer in the UK when she was appointed as an Assistant Chief Constable in Merseyside in 1983. Pauline Clare became the first woman to be a Chief Constable in the UK when she was appointed to this post in Lancashire in 1995. 5. Lord Flashheart is a loud, arrogant fictional character who appeared in series 4 of the BBC comedy series Blackadder and in series 2 as an ancestor with similar traits.

References Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. (2021). Record number of women to govern policing across England and Wales. Retrieved May 25, 2021, from https://www.apccs.police.uk/latest-­news/record-­number-­of-­women-­ to-­govern-­policing-­across-­england-­and-­wales/ Bowling, B., Reiner, R., & Sheptycki, J. (2019). The politics of the police (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. Brodeur, J. P. (2010). The policing web. Oxford University Press.

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

77

Brown, J., Fleming, J., & Silvestri, M. (2020). Policewomen’s perceptions of occupational culture in the changing police environment of England and Wales: A study in liminality. The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles, 1–23. Caless, B. (2011). Policing at the top: The roles, values and attitudes of chief police officers. The Policy Press. Chan, J. (1996). Changing police culture. British Journal of Criminology, 36(1), 109–134. Charman, S. (2017). Police socialisation, identity and culture: Becoming blue. Palgrave Macmillan. City of London. (2021). Committee details: City of London police authority board. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/ mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=142 Cockcroft, T. (2013). Police culture: Themes and concepts. Routledge. Cockcroft, T. (2019). Police culture and leadership. In P. Ramshaw, M. Silvestri, & M.  Simpson (Eds.), Police leadership, changing landscapes (pp.  23–45). Palgrave Macmillan. College of Policing. (2015). Leadership review. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://www.college.police.uk/What-­we-­do/Development/Promotion/ the-­leadership-­review/Pages/Leadership-­Review.aspx Cooper, S. (2020). Police and crime commissioners: A corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability? Criminal Law Review, 4, 291–305. Durkheim, E. (1986). Political obligation, Moral duty and punishment. In Durkheim on politics and the state (pp.  154–173) (A.  Giddens, Ed., Trans. W. D. Hall). Polity Press. Fahy, P. (2015). Foreword. In J. Fleming (Ed.), Police leadership: Rising to the top (pp. v–x). Oxford University Press. Fleming, J. (Ed.). (2015a). Police leadership: Rising to the top. Oxford University Press. Fleming, J. (2015b). Experience and evidence: The learning of leadership. In J.  Fleming (Ed.), Police leadership: Rising to the top (pp.  1–16). Oxford University Press. Foster, J. (2003). Police Cultures. In T. Newburn (Ed.), Handbook of policing (pp. 196–227). Willan. Goode, J., & Lumsden, K. (2018). The McDonaldization of police-academic partnerships: Moving from research on police to research with police. Policing and Society, 28(1), 75–89.

78 

I. Shannon

Grint, K., & Thornton, S. (2015). Leadership, management and command in the police. In J. Fleming (Ed.), Police leadership: Rising to the top (pp. 95–110). Oxford University Press. Hamilton, F. (2020, June 13). Patel’s interference is abuse of power, say police chiefs. The Times, p. 4. HMICFRS. (2019). Leading Lights: An inspection of the police service’s arrangements for the selection and development of chief officers. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­content/ uploads/leading-­l ights-­i nspection-­p olice-­a rrangements-­s election-­ development-­chief-­officers.pdf Hobbs, D. (1988). Doing the business: Entrepreneurship, the working class and detectives in the east end of London. Oxford University Press. Holdaway, S. (1983). Inside the British police: A force at work. Basil Blackwell. Holdaway, S. (2017). The re-professionalization of the police in England and Wales. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17(5), 588–604. Home Affairs Select Committee. (2013). PCCs profile. Retrieved February 10, 2020, from https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/ cmhaff/69/6907.htm Home Office. (2005). Neighbourhood policing; your community; our commitment. Central Office of Information. Home Office. (2006). Citizen focus good practice guide. Central Office of Information. Home Office. (2020). Police workforce England and Wales, as at 31 March 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020, from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/ government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/905169/police-­ workforce-­mar20-­hosb2020.pdf Innes, M. (2019). Wicked policing and magical thinking; evidence for problems that cannot be solved in an age of alternative facts. In N. Fielding, K. Bullock, & S.  Holdaway (Eds.), Critical reflections on evidence-based policing (pp. 131–151). Routledge. Langan, D., Sanders, C. B., & Gouweloos, J. (2019). Policing women’s bodies: Pregnancy, embodiment, and gender relations in Canadian police work. Feminist Criminology, 14(4), 466–487. Loader, I. (2014). Why do the police matter? Beyond the myth of crime-­fighting. In J. Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 70–81). Routledge. Loader, I. (2020). Revisiting the police mission. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/insight_paper_2.pdf

3  Chief Police Officers’ Backgrounds and Motivations 

79

Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001a). The power of legitimate naming: Part 1. British Journal of Criminology, 41(1), 41–55. Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001b). The power of legitimate naming: Part II. British Journal of Criminology, 41(2), 252–265. Maier, M. (1997). Gender equity, organizational transformation and challenge. Journal of Business Ethics, 16(9), 943–962. Mark, R. (1977). Policing a perplexed society. George Allen & Unwin. May, T. (2010, June 29). Speech to the ACPO conference. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-­centre/speeches/ theresa-­may-­SP-­NPC Oliver, I. (1987). Police government and accountability. The Macmillan Press. Olsson, S. (2002). Gendered heroes: Male and female self-representations of executive identity. Women in Management Review, 17(3), 142–150. Phelan, J., Link, B. G., Steuve, A., & Moore, R. E. (1995). Education, social liberalism, and economic conservatism: Attitudes towards homeless people. American Sociological Review, 60(1), 126–140. Police Foundation. (2020). Public safety and security in the 21st century: The first report of the strategic review of policing in England and Wales. Retrieved September 8, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/ phase_1_report_final-­1.pdf Punch, M. (2009). Police corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Willan Publishing. Ramshaw, P., Silvestri, M., & Simpson, M. (Eds.). (2019). Police leadership, changing landscapes. Palgrave Macmillan. Ramshaw, P., & Simpson, M. (2019). The art of flexing: Translating a new vision of police leadership from the top. In P. Ramshaw, M. Silvestri, & M. Simpson (Eds.), Police leadership, changing landscapes (pp. 47–69). Palgrave Macmillan. Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Reiner, R. (2010). The politics of the police (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. Reiss, A. J., Jr. (1971). The police and the public. Yale University Press. Savage, S., Charman, S., & Cope, S. (2000). Policing and the powers of persuasion. Blackstone Press. Shannon, I. (2021). Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales: Implications for police legitimacy. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 5(2), 912–926. Silvestri, M. (2019). In search of diversity: An embodied account of police leadership. In P. Ramshaw, M. Silvestri, & M. Simpson (Eds.), Police leadership, changing landscapes (pp. 99–120). Palgrave Macmillan.

80 

I. Shannon

Skolnick, J. (1966). Justice without trial. Bantam. Thornton, S. (2019). Postscript. In P. Ramshaw, M. Silvestri, & M. Simpson (Eds.), Police leadership, changing landscapes (pp.  277–282). Palgrave Macmillan. Van Dijk, K.  A., Hoogenwoning, F., & Punch, M. (2015). What matters in policing. Polity Press. Wall, D. S. (1998). The chief constables of England and Wales: The socio-legal history of a criminal justice elite. Ashgate. Weber, M. (1948 [1921]). Politics as a vocation. In H. H. Gerth & C. Wright Mills (Eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 77–127). Routledge and Kegan Paul. Wooldridge, A. (2021). The aristocracy of talent: How meritocracy made the modern world. Allen Lane.

4 Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable

This chapter contributes to the book’s overall argument by exploring the first of the three categories of explanations of the supposed right of police to exercise power provided by the chief police officers who were interviewed. This category of justification is based on a moral duty to use police power to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable in society. It is argued that a duty to protect people is a longstanding element of legitimating narratives but that the emphasis placed on protecting the most vulnerable is relatively new. It will be shown that chief police officers’ interpretations of vulnerability appeared to change during the research (2016–2021), from predominantly siloed or strand-based understandings (located in the threat posed by types of offenders and offences, and to specific groupings of potential victims who were categorised due to characteristics that were deemed to make them particularly vulnerable) to stances that are more neutral about the nature of the threat posed and which tend to accept the universality of vulnerability, by recognising that we are all susceptible to harm; with the extent of an individual’s vulnerability (or risk of harm and extent of harm) depending on many factors, including personal characteristics and resilience, social environment and the specific circumstances people find themselves in, including the © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_4

81

82 

I. Shannon

various and changing threats they face. This development in conceptualisation can also be found in the writings of researchers examining how the concept of vulnerability is, or can be, applied in the criminal justice sectors in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA (Asquith et al., 2017). The argument presented here builds on the previous chapter’s evaluation of the backgrounds and motivations of chief police officers, which found that contemporary chief officers tend to express liberal views. Interviewees’ espousal of the priority that police should give to protecting the most vulnerable in society can be interpreted as further evidence of these apparently liberal and humanitarian tendencies, as a vulnerability discourse has the potential to push police towards a focus on equity and equality of service, by raising the priority afforded to people who have tended to be either over or under policed (Bartkowiak-Theron & Asquith, 2017, p. 276). Conversely, it will be suggested that the ambiguity of the concept of vulnerability gives it utility as a legitimating narrative that can disguise coercion and control as care (Phoenix, 2002). The haziness of the concept can also be used by those in positions of authority, including chief police officers, to set priorities for the use of police power and resources in ways that are difficult to challenge, particularly when ‘folk devil[s]’ (Wells, 2016, p.  278), such as sex offenders, are called on in attempts to legitimate such agendas. Attention will also be drawn to the use of the concept of vulnerability as a prioritisation or rationing mechanism, which helps justify the choices that are made by police, both day-­ to-­day operational decisions about where to apply or withhold resources and power, and high-level decisions about police forces’ priorities. It will also be shown that the role of vulnerability in prioritisation becomes increasingly prominent when budgets are tightened. It will be argued that the ambiguity and elements of confusion found in many of the accounts provided by interviewees about vulnerability— which may be understandable given the complexity of the concept and the difficulties in distinguishing differing forms of and causes of vulnerability (Asquith et al., 2017, p. 13)—are a feature of all three broad categories of legitimating narrative. Ambiguity was also present in interviewees’ often hazy reports about policing by consent, the second category of legitimating narrative, which is discussed in Chap. 5. A similar theme arises in Chap. 6, when the third category of legitimation is

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

83

examined through interviewees’ claims about the importance of the formal oversight and political direction (or governance) of police, where there is a tension between their assertion of the importance of governance for legitimacy and their distaste for the methods and means of contemporary police governance. It is proposed that underlying interviewees’ accounts of protecting people, particularly the most vulnerable, are their worries about managing competing demands and concerns about police legitimacy. These issues are also identified in the later analysis of their accounts of consensual policing and police governance. Tensions are also identified between legitimating accounts based on protecting the most vulnerable and those founded on policing by consent, as the application of the concept of vulnerability may lead to issues that are of concern to many people being neglected, which could undermine consent to the use of police power. The concept of vulnerability matters because it has become prevalent as a reference for policing. This concept is increasingly used to prioritise or ration police activity and the language of vulnerability is arguably deployed in legitimating narratives that seek to render coercion palatable, by claiming its use is necessary to protect very vulnerable people (Aliverti, 2020, p.  1120). Interviewees’ views about vulnerability are assessed because, it is contended, their opinions are important and will be reflected in how chief officers choose to influence more junior officers’ decisions about how they exercise their considerable discretion in interpreting vulnerability, and in deciding what to do about it (Dehaghani, 2019, pp. 136–138). And how vulnerability is interpreted has consequences for which people, or groups of people, receive enhanced police services, or alternatively are neglected or over-policed (Asquith & Bartkowiak-­ Theron, 2017). This chapter is structured as follows. First, variations between the methodology used in this chapter and in the rest of the book are highlighted. Second, interviewees’ legitimating accounts about protecting people, particularly the most vulnerable, are put in the context of earlier legitimating narratives related to the protection of the public, and key moments in the development and articulation of a vulnerability discourse are considered. This includes assessing changes to how the concept of vulnerability was being used in police rhetoric and policy in the period

84 

I. Shannon

during which this research was conducted, between 2016 and 2021. Third, interviewees’ accounts about defining, identifying and responding to vulnerability are scrutinised. This includes (1) consideration of politically privileged forms of vulnerability; (2) accounts which see a vulnerability discourse as a response to police failures; (3) divergent police responses to protecting vulnerable people; (4) examination of how vulnerability was related to policing purpose; (5) the implications of the ambiguity of vulnerability; (6) the role that vulnerability plays in prioritisation and in legitimating chief officers’ choices in the face of competing interests and restricted resources; and (7) problems associated with assessments used to identify vulnerability and guide the police response to it. During these discussions, tensions between a legitimating vulnerability discourse and narratives of policing by consent are explored. And assertions that this apparently recent focus on protecting the most vulnerable may reflect new facets of policing are considered. The chapter concludes by considering the key issues and the implications that they may have for police legitimacy.

Methodology Data from semi-structured qualitative interviews is used as the basis for this analysis and is supported by reference to relevant literature and official documents. The methodology used for this research was described in Chap. 1. However, attention is drawn to the variation in approach adopted in this chapter. The rest of this book largely draws on the 16 interviews that were conducted in 2016 with four assistant chief constables or commanders (ACCs or individually ACC), three deputy chief constables or deputy assistant commissioners (DCCs or individually DCC) and nine chief constables (CCs or individually CC). These interviews are also used for the analysis that is set out in this chapter. However, this chapter additionally makes substantial use of six interviews that were conducted in 2020 with three chief constables and three very senior leaders (SLs or individually SL) from three institutions in the wider national policing landscape. As set out when discussing the ethical issues relating to this research in Chap. 1, to help ensure anonymity the chief officers

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

85

interviewed in 2016 are coded as ‘CO’, then a unique identifying number, followed by ‘A’ to indicate the 2016 tranche of interviews (CO1A, CO2A etc.). The three chief officers interviewed in 2020 are coded ‘CO’, then a unique identifying number, then ‘B’ to signify the 2020 tranche of interviews (CO17B, CO18B, CO19B). The three senior leaders from institutions in the national policing landscape are coded ‘SL’, then a unique identifying number, then ‘B’ to indicate the 2020 tranche of interviews (SL20B, SL21B, SL22B). The chief officers interviewed in 2016 were selected to broadly reflect the demographic composition of chief police officers in England and Wales, although chief constables are overrepresented. However, the criteria for selecting interviewees in 2020 were different. The research in 2020 focused on the issue of vulnerability and its application to police policy and practice and its relevance to police legitimacy. Therefore the 2020 interviewees (chief officers and senior leaders from other institutions in the national policing landscape) were selected based on their apparent involvement in issues of policy and practice, or oversight of policy and practice, relating to vulnerability. None of the participants in 2016 was interviewed in 2020 and different interview schedules were used in 2016 and 2020. Changes were identified between how interviewees in 2016 and 2020 understood vulnerability, but these were different individuals and most of the 2016 interviewees would not have been as deeply immersed in discussions of the policing of vulnerability as was the case with the chief officers and senior leaders interviewed in 2020. This, as was discussed in Chap. 1, places some limitations on how the research can be interpreted; this is in addition to the caution that must be taken when drawing conclusions about how most chief officers think or act based on the sample selected. Having provided this clarification concerning the methodology, the focus of this chapter returns to examination of the first category of legitimating narratives, based on a duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable. This discussion starts with an assessment of the development of this discourse.

86 

I. Shannon

Vulnerability, a Developing Discourse A duty to protect the most vulnerable can be construed as a subcategory of persistent legitimating narratives based on a normative obligation to protect people, such as the ‘principal object’ of police set out by the first Commissioners of the London Metropolitan Police, ‘the prevention of crime’, ‘security of person and property’, and ‘public tranquility’ (Metropolitan Police, 1985, p. 10; Emsley, 2014, p. 12; original source The Times, 25 September 1829). Similar responsibilities are found in the attestation for constables (Police Reform Act, 2002, section 83). A duty to protect people featured in the accounts provided by interviewees, but they claimed to be using power particularly to protect the most vulnerable people in society. Traditional duties of preventing crime, protecting property and keeping the peace1 were not emphasised by interviewees, although they featured marginally in understandings of policing by consent, which are discussed in the next chapter. Therefore, interviewees’ accounts of a duty to protect were narrower than the ‘principal object’ set out in 1829 (Metropolitan Police, 1985, p. 10), due to the marginalisation of duties to protect property and keep the peace, and because of the new focus on the most vulnerable. Explanations of policing purposes that relied on the concept of vulnerability had not been identified by previous research into chief officers conducted by Reiner (1991), Wall (1998), Savage et al. (2000), Caless (2011) or Roycroft (2016). Although, interviewees’ accounts of a duty to protect the vulnerable arguably resemble nineteenth-century legitimating narratives of police as ‘the guardians of the weak against the strong’ (Bowling et al., 2019, p. 72). The development of a discourse of vulnerability is not limited to policing and the analysis in this chapter is informed by wider discussions, academic thinking and policy developments.

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

87

Vulnerability, a Complex Concept The contemporary focus on vulnerability is not confined to policing. Brown (2017, p. 668) observed that the notion of vulnerability permeates a range of public policy issues, and she dates the start of this development from the ‘mid-2000s’. Pratt (2017) identified that the concept of vulnerability has recently and increasingly being applied by states to limit the risks they accept responsibility for, including aspects of public protection and criminal justice, and this can be seen as a mechanism for legitimating rationing and restriction of state resources. He argued that this may undermine legitimacy if issues and people are not categorised as vulnerable by the state (hence being a lower priority) when these omissions remain important concerns for many people. The concept of vulnerability does not provide easy answers to policing or wider public policy issues, partly because the ‘most vulnerable’ frequently have and cause problems or, in a criminal justice context, are often victims and offenders. Consequently, initiatives, which seemingly support marginalised people, may disguise control of groups and individuals who are labelled as problematic (Foucault, 1971; Young, 1999). Examples include New Labour’s anti-social behaviour initiatives, which involved elements of carrot, but greater use of stick (Burney, 2005); and the Coalition Government’s Troubled Families programme that aimed to tackle the ‘wicked problem’ posed by families that have and cause difficulties (Hayden & Jenkins, 2014). These initiatives were partly dressed in supportive language, which can lead to coercion concealed as care (Phoenix, 2002). The concept is also difficult to translate into policy and practice, partly because being categorised as vulnerable may be resisted by those being labelled (Wiles, 2011), and it can be stigmatising and reinforce an apparent lack of agency and power (Brown, 2015). In her study of young people in police custody, Dehaghani (2019, p.  40) identified that the ‘disempowering nature of vulnerability can be particularly problematic where the individual does not self-identify as vulnerable’. Being labelled as vulnerable can also lead to power being exerted over the vulnerable subject without their consent (Fineman, 2013, p. 16). Examples include

88 

I. Shannon

the apparently mentally ill, who may find section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 being used by police to remove them from public places (sometimes with little chance of this leading to meaningful treatment), or rough sleepers being moved on, or arrested, on the premise or pretext of protecting them (Kinsella, 2011). Hence, the use of police power may be presented as protection, whilst the primary purpose is arguably ‘social control’ (Bowling et  al., 2019, p.  4). More optimistically, attention to vulnerability can be interpreted as supporting groups who have often not been well served by state institutions, such as marginalised people who have frequently been treated as ‘police property’ (Lee, 1981, pp. 53–54). Consequently, applying the concept of vulnerability to policing can be compassionate or coercive (Dehaghani, 2019, p. 46). Complexity extends into understanding what vulnerability means. Brown (2017, p. 668) identified that the ‘usually vague meaning’ of vulnerability is problematic and Dehaghani (2019, p.  41) recognised the ‘subjective and constructed nature of vulnerability’. Whilst Ganteau (2015, pp. 2–3) commented on the ‘ubiquity’ and ambiguity of vulnerability internationally and on its growth across areas of policy, practice and academic interest over the previous 20  years. Butler (2004) also observed that what vulnerability means is unclear, partly because vulnerability is inherent to the human condition, a point also made by Fineman (2008); although vulnerability is a continuum and people have different levels of resilience and resources, which can mitigate or exacerbate their vulnerability (Dehaghani, 2019). The complexity and ambiguity of the concept are reflected in the evolution of a discourse of vulnerability in policing and in its interpretation in police policy and practice.

 he Development of a Police Discourse T of Vulnerability and Associated Policy There are arguably key moments in the emergence and articulation of a vulnerability discourse in policing in England and Wales, which can be aligned to events and changes in policy and guidance. A starting point is to examine official reports and guidance to identify when discussion of

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

89

vulnerability emerged. The Review of Policing (Flannagan, 2008) had been commissioned by the Home Secretary and was led by a former Chief Inspector of Constabulary, who had previously been Chief Constable in Northern Ireland. This report said little about vulnerability. But the threat, harm and risk assessment process it advocated, to prioritise and guide police action, has been appropriated and expanded on for the identification of vulnerability, notably in the adoption by forces across England and Wales of the THRIVE (threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability and engagement) model (HMIC, 2015). Five years later the Independent Police Commission (2013) still did not identify protecting the vulnerable as a key purpose for policing. However, shortly after this vulnerability starts emerging strongly in discussions of policing, notably in inspection reports such as Everyone’s Business: Improving the Police Response to Domestic Abuse (HMIC, 2014), and the following year in the PEEL: Police Effectiveness (Vulnerability) Inspection (HMIC, 2015). Although HMIC (2015) initially interpreted vulnerability narrowly, by confining the inspection to examining the police response to domestic abuse, missing and absent children and child sexual exploitation (CSE). These concerns were partly prompted by perceived police failures to protect people who seemed particularly vulnerable to these threats. Such failures include the faults exposed by the Jay (2014) inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and by longstanding institutional failures to protect victims of domestic abuse (Walklate et al., 2018). In 2016 the Policing Vision 2025 (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ [APCC] and National Police Chiefs’ Council [NPCC], 2016, p.  4) asserted that ‘reducing crime and protecting the vulnerable are core priorities for the police service’. The College of Policing (2016) also started to focus on vulnerability at the same time. Although when the concept was applied to operational policing it tended to be poorly defined and identified (HMIC, 2015, p. 10). The Policing Vision 2025 and the College of Policing’s (2016) guidance were published after the 2016 interviews. However, interviewees’ accounts of vulnerability in 2016 have similarities with the guidance in these documents. Since 2016 vulnerability has remained a prevalent theme in policing discourse in England and Wales (Police Foundation, 2020), but the breadth of issues and people that are referred to in terms of vulnerability or being vulnerable has grown. In

90 

I. Shannon

2016 vulnerability tended to be constructed in terms of categories of offenders, offences and victims. The College of Policing (2016) outlined victims of child abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, genital mutilation, slavery and prostitution as vulnerable. But the College added a catch-all clause, which could be interpreted as an early step towards a broadening of who could or should be considered as vulnerable and hence be the subject of enhanced police protection. This included some people who are on the receiving end of police power: [the vulnerable include] those with whom police come into contact in a wider context, for example ensuring that care and welfare of those detained in custody and dealing with individuals who suffer from mental ill-health. (College of Policing, 2016)

By 2019 the College had further broadened the scope of who could be considered vulnerable, whilst mental-health and sexual and violent offenders were specifically mentioned, the categorisation of vulnerability was, rather ambiguously, expanded. Although strands, or silos, of vulnerability continued to be highlighted in the full guidance (College of Policing, 2019): this category is primarily concerned with the protection of vulnerable and at-risk individuals, who have become (or are at risk of becoming) victims of crime. This also encompasses the care and welfare of those detained in custody, dealing with individuals who suffer from mental-ill health and the management of sexual and violent offenders. (College of Policing, 2019)

The latest relevant policy and recommended practice is the National Vulnerability Action Plan (NVAP) Revised 2020–2022 v.2 (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021), which is informed by the NPCC’s Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme. This programme aims to improve police practice in protecting vulnerable people and it is supported by the Government’s Police Transformation Fund (UK Parliament, 2018). The National Vulnerability Action Plan (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021) defines vulnerability in terms that combine personal and situational factors, and it encompasses a wide range of police activities and

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

91

responsibilities and eschews categories of threat or crime. This definition is close to scholarly interpretations that accept the universality of vulnerability (Brown, 2017; Fineman, 2008), but the definition does not explicitly recognise that we are all, to a greater or lesser extent, vulnerable: a person is vulnerable if, as a result of their situation or circumstances, they are unable to take care or protect themselves or others from harm or exploitation. (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021)

The National Vulnerability Action Plan (ibid.) recognises that assessments of vulnerability can be subjective and arguably its definition of vulnerability, and earlier policy iterations, is too loose to be helpful when making decisions about police priorities and action. Their breadth also leaves scope for interpretation and discretion in how they are used to determine police priorities and action, thus enhancing the power of those who define vulnerability. And chief police officers and other senior leaders in institutions in the national policing landscape play an important part in defining vulnerability in a policing context. They can also direct or guide how more junior police officers and staff identify and respond to vulnerability, which includes decisions about how and when police power and resources are applied or withheld. Alternatively, and more benignly, broad policy definitions of vulnerability may allow for flexible and individualised responses to complex needs (Brown, 2015). But Lumsden and Black (2018) identified that many police officers and staff responsible for making these decisions are insufficiently skilled to do so. This skills gap is recognised in the National Vulnerability Action Plan (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021) and attempts are being made to fill it by developing skills and ‘professional curiosity’ (ibid.). Professional curiosity fits rhetorically with an aspiration for police officers to have professional status. But, given the police service’s record in identifying and responding to vulnerability (HMICFRS, 2017) and professionalising its staff (Holdaway, 2017) even at senior levels (HMICFRS, 2019), the recruitment, training and development challenge involved is likely to be substantial. Therefore, the direction and guidance provided by chief police officers, it is contended, are particularly important due to the influence they have over

92 

I. Shannon

how police officers use their discretion to identify vulnerability and act to protect people. To summarise this section, a legitimation of police power based on a moral duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, can be seen as a sub-category of broader longstanding legitimating narratives founded on a police responsibility to protect people and property and to keep the peace. Prior to 2014 a duty to protect the most vulnerable was rarely mentioned in literature about chief police officers or in police policy documents, although the influential Flannagan report (2008) raised the profile of the concepts of threat, harm and risk and associated assessments, which have subsequently been adopted and adapted to help identify vulnerability and guide the police response to it. From 2014 vulnerability became increasingly prominent in police policy and oversight documents (HMIC, 2014, 2015; College of Policing, 2016, 2019; APCC and NPCC, 2016; NPCC and College of Policing, 2021). A potential, if partial, explanation for this development may be in its utility as a police policy response to failures to protect vulnerable victims, such as victims of child sexual exploitation (Jay, 2014). And it may also have developed as a mechanism for prioritising and rationing and as a narrative that legitimates these decisions. A police discourse of vulnerability has also, it is contended, developed because the complexity and ambiguity of the concept can be used by chief police officers, and by others with the power to exert significant influence over police priorities, to legitimate their choices. The documents examined indicate that a conceptualisation of vulnerability by police, and by other institutions in the national policing landscape, has evolved from a focus on specific offences, offenders and victims (HMIC, 2014, 2015; College of Policing, 2016), to a broader interpretation of vulnerability, which adopts an almost agnostic stance about the type of threat posed (closer to conceptualisations that accept the universality of vulnerability). And the latest policy guidance asserts that it is assessments of the severity of the potential harm and likelihood of it happening that should influence the priority given to the police response, not the type of threat (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021). It has also been argued that chief police officers and senior leaders from other institutions in the national policing landscape are important

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

93

actors in interpreting and directing or guiding the police response to vulnerability. This chapter now moves to consider how interviewees conceptualised and responded to vulnerability and how they used a purported moral duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, to legitimate the use of police power. This discussion is dealt with thematically. First, it deals with how political agendas appear to influence the police response to vulnerability. Second, consideration is given to the use of the concept of vulnerability as a response to police failures. Third, divergent police responses to vulnerability are discussed. Fourth, how interviewees related vulnerability to policing purpose is assessed. Fifth, the ambiguity that emerged from the interviews about what vulnerability means is explored. Sixth, the use of vulnerability as a prioritisation or rationing mechanism and the impetus this may have been given by reductions in the funding of police and public services after 2010 are considered. And seventh, the use of assessments to identify and guide the police response to vulnerability is considered.

Politically Privileged Threats The responses from the interviews in 2020 reflected the National Vulnerability Action Plan’s (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021) definition of vulnerability and the implication that everyone can be vulnerable, as illustrated by a senior leader in a national institution in the policing landscape: vulnerability is about people’s safety and the more vulnerable you are the less safe you are … you may be vulnerable because of a particular characteristic or personality trait, or you may be vulnerable because of the circumstances in which you find yourself at a particular time. (SL22B)

However, whilst interviewees in 2020 accepted that we are all vulnerable (which was not the case in 2016, and this will be addressed later) they also identified that some threats, victims and offenders continue to attract an enhanced policing and policy response, which did not

94 

I. Shannon

necessarily relate to the level of harm that could be caused or to the likelihood of the harm happening. Interviewees reported that these privileged priorities change. Sometimes these alterations might be partly explained by evolving threats and risks, but they were also influenced by fluctuating subjective political preferences and changes in political leadership. Interviewees reported that police prioritisation in relation to vulnerability was heavily influenced by prevalent political imperatives. An example was the political and policing priority given to tackling modern slavery under Theresa May’s tenure as home secretary and prime minister, which interviewees reported reduced following her resignation as prime minister. Whilst the emphasis on ‘County Lines’ drug dealing has, it was claimed, grown under Boris Johnson’s premiership. In the first comment (below) a chief constable (CO19B) illustrates the intention to move to an agnostic position in relation to the type of threat, but CO19B’s second observation shows how this can be frustrated by fluctuating political priorities, sometimes induced by changes in political leadership: We have to start looking at it [vulnerability] through a threat neutral lens and the Tackling Organised Exploitation Project [a Home Office–funded NPCC initiative] has been established to do exactly that. (CO19B) Under Theresa May’s leadership of [the] Home Office, then as Prime Minister, the vulnerability of the month became modern day slavery and now, under the Prime Minister’s [Boris Johnson’s] drive, the vulnerability of the month is County Lines. (CO19B)

The priority being given to vulnerability might be interpreted as a policing policy response to political and public concerns, as part of a continuing quest for legitimacy in changing conditions, which takes different forms at different times (Reiner, 2010). More sceptically it might be business as usual rebadged as more support for the weakest in society, or a manifestation of institutional and individual back covering, to mitigate the consequences of policing and public policy failures (Dehaghani, 2019, p. 150). In 2020 interviewees claimed that vulnerability had also emerged as a policing priority as a reaction to police failings.

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

95

 rotecting the Vulnerable as a Response P to Police Failures In 2020 interviewees were asked why vulnerability had emerged as a reference point for police policy and practice. A senior leader (SL20B) suggested (below) that the failure of police and other public institutions to tackle child sexual exploitation played an important part in the move to prioritising protecting the most vulnerable. The timing of the catalyst that SL20B references, the publication of the Jay (2014) inquiry into sexual abuse in Rotherham, shortly pre-dates the emergence of police policy and oversight documents (HMIC, 2014, 2015; College of Policing, 2016) that appear to have accelerated the development of a discourse of vulnerability in policing. SL20B refers to this as a ‘turning of the tide’, and the police response to these failures and to the accompanying public and political pressures can be framed as a ‘vulnerability turn’ for police in England and Wales: the Rotherham historical abuse inquiry [Jay, 2014] and I think at the time of Rotherham, you know, you had a whole variety of those types of offences … that is what was the, the turning of the tide in terms of policing. Not seeing people who go absent from care or missing from home as being a nuisance … vulnerability was born out of child sexual exploitation. (SL20B)

Interviewees also suggested that domestic abuse may also have driven the focus on vulnerability, due to the persistent failure of police and other state bodies to address entrenched societal and institutional failings (Walklate et al., 2018). Tackling domestic abuse, like CSE, has been a ‘poor relation’ to other police activities (HMIC, 2014), and the vulnerability turn might have been intended to enhance police effectiveness and legitimacy in these areas. Whilst the drivers of the vulnerability turn may be similar for police across England and Wales there has been divergent development of responses to vulnerability across forces and institutions in the policing landscape.

96 

I. Shannon

Divergent Police Responses to Vulnerability In 2020 a senior leader (SL21B) claimed that the emergence of a police vulnerability discourse was a response to failures to protect vulnerable people, but this leader noted that there had been inconsistent definitions and understandings of vulnerability across police forces in England and Wales: There is no consistent understanding of what they meant by vulnerability … forces had lots of different kind of definitions … Some of it was to do with particular cases where something terrible had happened to someone who was vulnerable. (SL21B)

This assessment by SL21B in 2020 is supported by assessment of the responses from the 16 chief officers who were interviewed in 2016, who provided explanations of vulnerability that were markedly less consistent than those proffered by the 2020 interviewees, although the officers interviewed in 2016 were, in the main, not as immersed in discussions of the policing of vulnerability as those interviewed in 2020: In 2020 another senior leader identified that the vulnerability turn was a response to police failings but added that it also emerged because of increased localism and the abolition of national targets, which gave chief police officers and PCCs greater freedom to adjust their priorities: Vulnerability started to emerge as part of the policing lexicon … because two things happened; one was when national targets were dismantled and there was a real push towards localism. (SL22B)

This explanation from SL22B may partially explain the divergent practices that developed. But it also hints at the additional power to impose and legitimate their agendas that a combination of the ambiguity of vulnerability and increased localism might offer to chief police officers, PCCs and elected mayors with responsibility for policing. These comments about a tension between national and local priorities indicate how complex the influences are on the discourse of vulnerability. The next chapter identifies that many chief police officers contended that

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

97

national targets and performance regimes could undermine police legitimacy, but it has also been argued that divergent approaches and operational responses to policing priorities, including vulnerability, can be delegitimating (HMICFRS, 2020a). However, the consistency of definition and description of vulnerability by the chief officers and senior leaders who were interviewed in 2020 suggests that a more coherent and cohesive articulation of, and operational response to, vulnerability is emerging. The extent to which this has been driven by chief police officers and senior leaders in institutions in the wider policing landscape or by the UK government is difficult to judge. But the leading role played by the NPCC in developing the National Vulnerability Action Plan (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021) suggests that collectively chief officers are re-exerting their influence over this agenda. And the vulnerability discourse, particularly when more clearly and consistently articulated, arguably provides chief officers with a mechanism for resisting reimposition of a nationally directed performance regime and of de facto national targets. This may be timely, as a national performance regime appears to be developing, as indicated by the introduction of a Home Office–led Crime and Policing Performance Board and national outcome measures (Patel, 2020). Performance regimes and police activity should be linked to the purposes of police, and how chief police officers connected policing purpose and vulnerability is considered next.

Policing Purpose and Vulnerability All the chief officers and leaders from other institutions in the national policing landscape who were interviewed explicitly or implicitly linked the purported policing purpose of protecting the most vulnerable to the right to exercise power. The following responses from two CCs in 2016 were typical: Policing is—it is as simple as protecting vulnerable people and bringing to justice those people that cause the harm that make people vulnerable. (CO5A)

98 

I. Shannon

I am, I hope, crystal clear on the mission or purpose of policing, which is to protect people—to keep them safe from harm. And especially, the most vulnerable. (CO4A)

Leaders sometimes distil complex issues into simple messages for rhetorical effect but CO5A’s claim that policing purpose is ‘simple’ could be questioned, as could CO4A’s assertion that it is ‘crystal clear’, as there are alternative interpretations of what the police are for (Bowling et al., 2019, pp. 3–7). Chief officers’ accounts in 2016 and 2020 also differ from their predecessors, who did not suggest that protection of the most vulnerable was a privileged element of the policing mission (Reiner, 1991; Savage et al., 2000; Caless, 2011; Roycroft, 2016). In 2020 the prominence of protecting the most vulnerable as a key element of policing purpose and activity remained. A CC (CO17B) asserted that the increased priority given to the purpose of protecting the vulnerable was linked to increasing numbers of vulnerable people and associated pressures on police: every police force in the country has got a priority now of supporting and protecting the most vulnerable … supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is actually nearly 90 per cent of what we are now doing … there is a large and increasingly growing population of people that are vulnerable. (CO17B, 2020)

CO17B was not alone, most of the interviewees in 2016 and 2020 voiced similar views. Bartkowiak-Theron and Asquith et al. (2017) also argue that police have increasingly had to deal with complex issues of multiple vulnerabilities, and they note the opportunity and challenge that this presents police with, in moving from crisis intervention to prevention. However, there have always been vulnerable people, and the types of vulnerability are not obviously new, although demands for police to protect certain categories of vulnerable people may have increased. Nor is it clear that there is widespread support from the publics police serve for police to shift to upstream prevention and treatment, which many people may feel is beyond the remit and expertise of police (Police Foundation, 2020).

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

99

In 2016 DCC CO12A, implicitly adopting a Utilitarian appeal to the greater good (Mill, 1962 [1861]), linked policing purpose and action to protecting the vulnerable: We are dealing with some of the most vulnerable, in some of the most difficult circumstances, we have huge, huge potential to intervene for good. (CO12A)

And a CC (CO7A) associated the use of police power to protect the vulnerable with the duty and power of the state to protect the populace: We exercise power that is given to us by the state on behalf of the public … to protect those who are most vulnerable … I would like to see us as agents of, kind of, social justice really … the powerful can look—are more able to look after themselves and if we don’t protect the vulnerable, there isn’t anyone else there for them is there? (CO7A)

CO7A’s comments implicitly reflect Hobbes’ (1968 [1651]) and Weber’s (1948 [1921]) legitimations of state power but the claim that ‘the powerful can look … after themselves’ runs counter to conceptualisations of vulnerability that accept that we are all vulnerable (Fineman, 2008). The suggestion that police should act as agents of ‘social justice’ echoes Reiner’s (2016) argument that formal accountability mechanisms are an insufficient restraint on police power and need to be underpinned by a police commitment to social justice. Some chief officers suggested that considerable impetus for recognising protecting the vulnerable as a policing purpose that should be prioritised came from other national institutions’ activities, including from National Crime Agency (NCA) assessments, HMICFRS inspections and College of Policing guidance. With the Home Office influencing all three bodies, by controlling their funding and commissioning work, and through the Strategic Policing Requirement (Jones & Lister, 2019). In 2016 CC CO2A suggested that this creates tension between local and national priorities and consequent conflicts between claims to legitimacy founded on consent and those based on protecting the most vulnerable:

100 

I. Shannon

There are further disclosures coming from the National Crime Agency— internationally for example for CSE … the potential we face is putting more resources into those areas … Those resources are only going to come from somewhere and they are likely to be local policing services and front-­ line policing and then that—marrying up that public expectation around physical presence and focusing on things they want us to focus on, as against to actually responding to vulnerability … us not responding to what they [local publics] think are priority and therefore, perhaps taking a different view on whether we are actually policing with their support— consent. (CO2A)

CO2A’s remarks reflect chief officers’ concerns about managing competing interests and the consequences for legitimacy of failing to meet their publics’ expectations. These worries may be amplified by indistinct understandings of vulnerability and by the sometimes-concealed nature of threats to the vulnerable.

Ambiguous and Hidden Vulnerability What interviewees meant by ‘vulnerable’ was often unclear, particularly so in the case of the 2016 interviews. A more consistent view had developed by 2020 but complexity and ambiguity remained. This haziness is perhaps understandable given the opacity and intricacy of the concept, as illustrated by Butler’s (2016) elaborate analysis of vulnerability. Butler (2016) argues that vulnerability needs to be conceptualised in the context of the entangled network of relationships that we live amongst, that not only sustain us but also render us vulnerable. And we are not only vulnerable to each other, vulnerability emerges from the relationships and dependence between the environment, social relationships and support networks, as well as our bodily frailty. Additionally, we can deliberately make ourselves vulnerable, and sometimes this is a form of resistance, such as when protesters place themselves at risk from those who they believe to be subjugating them (ibid.). Despite this complexity, interviewees did provide examples of perceived vulnerability; these were illustrative not exhaustive lists. It is contended that these examples provide an

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

101

insight into the aspects of vulnerability interviewees were most concerned about and were prioritising, and about areas that were receiving less attention. In 2016, nine of the 16 interviewees discussed vulnerability in terms of child and adult sexual exploitation, eight in the context of mental health issues, including substance abuse, and six cited cyber-criminals preying on the vulnerable. Five discussed vulnerability in relation to domestic abuse. Terrorism was raised by six interviewees, but who was particularly vulnerable to this threat was not identified. Yet anyone who frequents a crowded place is arguably vulnerable to terrorism and it is not a new threat. Indeed, the categories of vulnerability that were identified by chief officers, except for cyber-crime, are not new challenges for police. Police have always dealt with disadvantaged people who are at risk of becoming, or are, victims and/or offenders, and it is not only obviously disadvantaged or marginalised people that are vulnerable (Brown, 2015). In 2020 a CC (CO17B) claimed that almost all police activity involves dealing with vulnerable people; this observation comes close to recognising vulnerability as a universal human condition (Fineman, 2008), whilst the second sentence resonates with Ganteau’s (2015, pp. 2–3) description of the complexity and breadth of the concept. Over 90 per cent of the people that we interact with have got some sort of vulnerability. And even the other 10 per cent, if you delved in deep enough, there would be some sort of vulnerability there as well. (CO17B)

This comment arguably raises a question about how useful the concept of vulnerability is for policing. If almost all police action can be categorised as protecting the vulnerable then the concept might be seen as descriptive, but not as a useful reference point for what the purpose of policing is, or as a guide as to how police should act operationally. An answer might be to see a police purpose as positioning as many people as possible at the less vulnerable end of a continuum of vulnerability, which might push police towards a greater attention to prevention. This would reflect Fineman and Grear’s (2013, pp. 2–3) call for a ‘responsive state’ that allocates support to those who are least resilient. CO17B’s claim that, in effect, every police encounter involves some form of vulnerability

102 

I. Shannon

is also made by Bartkowiak-Theron and Asquith (2017, p.  282) who argue that this requires a policing model that recognises this and that does not seek to identify and respond to vulnerability using a ‘maladapted application of socio-demographic factors’, or a silo or strand-based approach. Rather police should assume that every encounter is with a vulnerable person who is at high risk of harm and that a medical model should be adopted that recognises that any intervention may lead to harm, and this needs to be balanced against the potentially positive effects of police actions. Consequently, there should not be a predisposition to action and use of power. However, this is arguably difficult to operationalise, as the defining feature of policing is the exercise of legitimate power, including the use of violence (Bittner, 1974; Brodeur, 2010) and it is an approach that may run counter to police cultural predilections to action and the use of authority (Holdaway, 1983). In 2020 interviewees tended to talk about vulnerability in broader terms than chief officers had in 2016, but child sexual exploitation and mental health were repeatedly raised as issues where an enhanced police response was required. Threats to the vulnerable were identified in 2020 that had not been discussed in 2016; these were County Lines drugs dealing, modern slavery and fraud. Although the ministerial priority—and it was contended consequent police priority—given to modern slavery was perceived to have declined after Theresa May resigned as prime minister. Interviewees in 2020 also suggested that the police response to fraud was often inadequate. Some categories of vulnerable subject were not raised by interviewees in 2016 or 2020, despite being issues which police and governments had previously prioritised. These included victims of acquisitive crimes like burglary, robbery and vehicle crime. In 2016 none of the interviewees included road safety within discussions of the policing of vulnerability, although vulnerable road users can be protected by police action (World Health Organisation, 2013) and HMICFRS (2020b) found that most police forces are not doing enough to protect vulnerable road users. But in 2020 four of the six interviewees acknowledged that there was a case for recognising and responding to the vulnerability of road users, but they noted that road safety was not in the mainstream of the vulnerability discourse; although two of the three chief constables contended that in

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

103

their own forces the response to roads policing and road safety was proportionate and effective. There was a shift between the predominantly strand-based conceptualisations of vulnerability voiced in 2016 and responses that tended to accept the universality of vulnerability in 2020. However, interviewees in 2020 suggested that there are still privileged forms of vulnerability that receive an enhanced police response and that there are other forms of vulnerability which are not prioritised, despite the severity and likelihood of harm they pose. This dilemma was illustrated by a CC in 2020 (CO18B): when people talk about vulnerable, vulnerable victims, they immediately go into crime when actually … the role of policing and therefore the role of the kind of broader state is about keeping people safe in all the different ways … road traffic is a classic example … because if you look at the number of people that are killed and seriously injured on the roads it will significantly outstrip a lot of other issues. (CO18B)

On balance the accounts in 2016 and 2020 support Pratt’s (2017, p. 1322) contention that there has been a shift from traditional police and criminal justice concerns across ‘advanced liberal democracies’ and that the state has distanced itself from broad duties to protect the public. Although the interviews in 2020 indicate that some chief officers and senior leaders in institutions in the policing landscape are adopting, or reclaiming, a broader interpretation of a duty to protect people, albeit still clothed in the lexicon of vulnerability. Pratt (2017) argues that potential consequences of a retreat from a broad responsibility to protect people include increased harm from risks that the state pays little attention to and expanding policing and penal powers in response to retained risks, as public protection is prioritised over individual liberty. A CC’s (CO5A) comment in 2016 (below) advocating greater expenditure on armed police and on public protection (which, as in most forces, was interpreted in terms of narrow categories of vulnerability) and cyber-­ crime can be construed as an example of the prioritisation of protection over liberty. And it perhaps points to chief officers’ perceptions of altered threats that may have influenced this shift. It also indicates that the

104 

I. Shannon

threats that are being prioritised are often hidden from the public gaze, with the vulnerabilities addressed by public protection units (such as domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual exploitation) being crimes that are mainly committed in private spaces, and cyber-crime harms also reach into peoples’ homes: If I can raise [X] million pounds … I would spend it on more guns, more public protection and more digital. (CO5A)

In 2020 interviewees identified vulnerable groups who were not prioritised and consequently were not receiving the service they needed. A CC (CO18B) cited the disabled and elderly, and groups, like sex workers, who might be perceived as undeserving: disabled groups … have been left out… [and] sometimes the elderly … and I guess sex workers are the best example for me where, where people are in a space that is, I suppose both morally and legally ambiguous. (CO18B)

In 2020 a senior leader (SL20B) also noted that those perceived as the deserving vulnerable were prioritised, whilst those perceived as undeserving (by political leaders and officials in the Home Office, who are possibly reflecting aspects of wider societal views), such as offenders, were often denied support: in my conversations with the Home Office through the years, the interest in safeguarding for vulnerable offenders is just not there … there is a very strong rhetoric from certainly the last Home Secretaries that vulnerability is very important, but I think it is quite narrow in terms of domestic abuse and child protection and certainly for Theresa May, modern slavery … but it’s the … acceptable end of vulnerability. (SL20B)

In 2020 another senior leader (SL22B) asserted that there were groups, including some ethnic minorities, which should be treated as vulnerable, but they were not prioritised, because they tended to be considered as undeserving, by police but also more widely. SL22B suggested racism

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

105

might play a part in this. In the second comment SL22B observed that some crimes, like fraud, where great harm is being done to vulnerable people, were also not prioritised by police: there are particular groups within race … like gypsy Romany travellers … they are often painted as offenders … but nevertheless there is also a vulnerability there regarding maybe they being the last bastion of acceptable racism. (SL22B) fraud is badly dealt with … there are people who are vulnerable to it … the police response to it is deeply problematic. (SL22B)

A significant proportion of fraud is now perpetrated through the medium of the internet, the category of crime is old, but the means is relatively new. And cyber-crime, which encompasses fraud but also many other offences, was raised by interviewees in 2016 and 2020 as an aspect of vulnerability that was increasing, and which police needed to address. In 2016 DCC CO9A identified the difficulty of convincing many people that these concealed cyber threats should be prioritised by police: we need to police the dark streets of the internet because that is where some of the threats are, not in the dark streets of [CO9A’s Force area]—they are relatively safe. That’s a difficult thing to sell. (CO9A)

The partially hidden harms that have been prioritised by the discourse of vulnerability, such as domestic and sexual abuse, cyber-crime, modern slavery and mental illness, may make many people question whether these are issues that police should assume primary responsibility for. It is not always clear that the police are the best equipped or qualified institution to tackle these entrenched problems. The harms caused by these problems are often hidden from view and the partnership and preventative work that is needed to address them does not fit a crime fighting narrative that many people, including police officers, subscribe to (Bowling et al., 2019, p. 108). Tackling these harms, particularly as other public institutions reduce the services they provide, has probably increased the police emphasis on prevention. Prevention has always been an aspect

106 

I. Shannon

of the police mission (Emsley, 2014). But these developments can also be interpreted as police overreaching into areas where they do not have expertise, or indeed a remit. Arguably other institutions should be leading on some of these issues, with police mainly dealing with points of crisis, where their ability to use legitimate force and to intervene in social conflict is most relevant (Bittner, 1974; Brodeur, 2010). The vulnerability turn has arguably happened with insufficient informed political and public discussion (Police Foundation, 2020). This may endanger legitimacy if many people do not recognise the purported severity of these often-concealed vulnerability harms and if they believe the attention given to them is leading to their concerns being neglected. The risks to legitimacy may be exacerbated if police activity to address vulnerability does not fit many people’s perceptions of what the police should do (ibid.). In 2020 two senior leaders (SL20B and SL22B) drew attention to the need to identify what role the police should play in tackling vulnerabilities and advocated discussions with the public about what the police are doing, or should do: It absolutely causes the questions that say, “how is this policing job and not social services?” … prevention is so intertwined with vulnerability, and I think it’s that bit of describing the narrative that we haven’t completed, hasn’t been really exposed to the public. (SL20B) A lot of the public they will question why the police service is having to do what it is having to do and therefore there is a risk that we will be perceived to be overreaching our legitimacy … we have to explain to the public why we are doing what we are doing. (SL22B)

In 2020 a CC suggested that police had already moved into areas that were not their responsibility and where they lacked competence, ‘we have to push back … our cops are not sociologists, psychologists, doctors’ (CO18B). Whilst in 2016 a CC (CO3A) illustrated how the focus on vulnerability contrasted with previous national policing priorities. CO3A’s rhetorical question highlights a change in focus for chief officers and for those holding them to account. And CO3A’s comment about

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

107

‘national scandals’ suggests that the focus on vulnerabilities is related to the delegitimating effects of past failures to address them. Some of those things that were ignored before … have become national scandals. You know, child sexual exploitation … did you ever go to Police Authority and talk about that? (CO3A)

The discussions in this section indicate a tension between a discourse of vulnerability and the concept of policing by consent. The latter requires police to act on views held by broad swathes of the populace (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, p. 67) and failing to respond to their needs and wants jeopardises legitimacy (Beetham, 1991). The partly concealed nature of some of these mooted new, or altered, vulnerability challenges may make it difficult to obtain many people’s agreement to prioritise the use of police resources and power to address them; as they may not see these issues as their priorities, as arguably their effect on many people’s day-to-­ day lives is minimal. Despite this, the emotional pull of protecting the most vulnerable (such as children who have been sexually exploited) may make it useful as a legitimating narrative that helps justify the choices being made by chief officers. Conversely, Wells (2016, p. 278) suggests the absence of the emotional heft of a ‘convenient folk devil’ partially explains the decline of roads policing. Despite this, locally pressing and visible quality of life issues, such as disorderly behaviour and inconsiderate use of motor vehicles, may still have greater immediacy and priority for many people when it comes to the allocation of police resources and use of police power (Wells, 2018, p.  104). This could lead to friction between demands from ‘democratic audiences’ (the wider public) and ‘legal audiences’ (the law, Home Secretary and police authorities—now PCCs) proposed by Jefferson and Grimshaw (1984). In 2016 an ACC (CO8A) suggested that vulnerability was being used by chief officers to make their choices about priorities acceptable to most people, particularly when resources were decreasing, and difficult decisions needed to be made. But CO8A was concerned that the ambiguity of vulnerability risked undermining this:

108 

I. Shannon

[there is] a risk that we use the term [vulnerability] as a sort of collective noun to describe a problem that we have got in resourcing. (CO8A)

A similar point was made by a CC (CO13A) in 2016, who inferred that the concepts of vulnerability and harm are too broad and subjective, and this CC also highlighted the difficulty of servicing competing demands and noted the emotional content of demands to deal with vulnerability: everybody is—seems to be vulnerable. So, as society now wants somebody always to be able to step in and look after somebody and also to be responsible and accountable … Are more people more vulnerable now than they were 30 years ago? Or are we just more aware, more risk averse? … that emotional thing of what people view as harm is quite hard and very, very subjective. (CO13A)

The difficulties of servicing competing demands and of justifying the choices made are also exacerbated if the priorities pursued under a vulnerability agenda fluctuate. In 2020 a senior leader (SL21B) highlighted this risk and identified the need for national institutions in the policing landscape to avoid making the situation worse: everyone is running around following the ball. So, we have tried to compensate for this [to] avoid basically identifying a vulnerable group of the month. (SL21B)

But complex and changing notions of vulnerability may help chief officers to claim a level of expertise which helps legitimate their decisions about priorities. In 2016 an ACC (CO15A) inferred that police officers use the concept of vulnerability to claim a privileged and expert position from which to make decisions about who to protect and how to protect them: the community don’t know all the issues around the counter-terrorism threat at the moment so how can they make decisions through dialogue with us when it’s our role to do that and they may not, perhaps, agree with us but somebody’s got to make a call here to protect them. (CO15A)

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

109

CO15A’s claim augments the argument put forward by Day and Klein (1987), that the increased complexity of public services, coupled with a tendency to professionalise senior management, makes challenging public servants and holding them to account difficult, due to the expertise that is assumed to be required. CO15A also alludes to the concept of dialogic legitimacy (Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012) but then effectively dismisses its utility in the context of discussions about terrorism because a reified ‘community’ apparently does not understand the threats. There are parallels with Jefferson and Grimshaw’s (1984, p. 68) critique, which argued that ‘most “democratic” demands are reduced by chief officers to “special” or “sectional” pleading’, allowing such demands to be rejected when they do not match their priorities. The contemporary version does not necessarily dismiss democratic demands as partisan but rather portrays them as parochial and less important than meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. This, again, highlights tensions between a vulnerability discourse and policing by consent. Arguably there is not only a crime narrative around policing, as espoused by Theresa May (2010), there is now a competing discourse which frames vulnerability to fit the priorities of chief officers and of those giving them political direction. This narrative has excluded some forms of harm, including acquisitive crimes, that had traditionally been prioritised by police (Pratt, 2017). Another aspect of the narrative is a tendency to reduce decisions about policing choices to a simplistic, apolitical and inaccurate tale of ‘protecting goodies’ from ‘baddies’, a story that minimises the extent to which choices about how police power is used are inevitably political and involve competing interests (Turner, 2014, p.  17). The degree to which narratives about the priority being given to protecting the vulnerable are reflected in what police do was not fully tested by this research. However, chief police officers are being influenced by a vulnerability discourse and it is present in their accounts about the purpose of policing. It is also deployed to legitimate their decisions about the use of resources and power. Chief officers have always had to make choices but the dilemmas they face may have been heightened by austerity. The use of the concept of vulnerability in making and justifying decisions about police priorities is now examined further.

110 

I. Shannon

Vulnerability and Prioritisation Some chief officers identified tensions between prioritising protecting the vulnerable and issues raised by many people as matters that they want police to address. In 2016 a CC (CO2A) illustrated this strain: notwithstanding his [the PCC’s] attempts to convey to the public forums that he held that we necessarily had to think about risk and vulnerability … he got a number of pressures that were related to dog fouling and parking on footways … there is a disconnect between what they [the police’s publics] regard as important, certainly in local areas, to what we are actually focused on doing. (CO2A)

As was discussed earlier many of the interviewees’ responses implied that prioritisation is inappropriately skewed by a focus on vulnerabilities that reflects government priorities, such as those in the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR), namely terrorism, serious and organised crime and child sexual exploitation (Home Office, 2015, p. 7). The SPR priorities relating to public order and civil emergencies were not mentioned in 2016, although they were touched on by interviewees in 2020 when discussing the influence of the Coronavirus pandemic on the policing of vulnerability. In 2020 a CC (CO18B) observed that political imperatives inevitably influence policing priorities: What is politically strong at the time starts to have a real impact on where policing focusses its attention inevitably and where money and resource go. (CO18B)

And in 2016 a CC (CO5A) noted, in relation to online sex offences, the potential for this focus on government priorities, reinforced by interventions from institutions in the national policing landscape, to lead to disproportionate policing: I don’t want my resources tied up investigating, prosecuting, whatever because somebody clicked on an image by accident … it’s not about fines

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

111

and punishment, it’s about changing behaviour … Those kind of discussions with people like HMI don’t go down well. (CO5A)

Although in 2020 CC CO18B noted that when deciding how to respond to vulnerability, the prioritisation process was influenced not only by national political demands but also by locally influential individuals and bodies. CO18B was concerned that the introduction of PCCs might have reduced how much people who are marginalised, and sometimes labelled as vulnerable, are listened to: the reality is they [PCCs] are probably even more prone to being, working towards the powerful and the noisier voices. (CO18B)

Changes in political and public concerns arguably should influence choices made by police (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, p. 64). By focusing on vulnerability interviewees did appear to be listening to the concerns of ‘statutory authorities’ (op. cit.), particularly the Home Office and HMICFRS. But this was potentially to the detriment of locally expressed priorities. This was implied in 2016 by CC CO13A, who contrasted the emphasis on vulnerability with the Policing Pledge, which was set by the last Labour Government and focused on response times and meeting local policing needs (HMIC, 2009). Although CO13A suggested the new emphasis also mirrored changed operational demands on police. And CO13A identified that the concept of vulnerability is being used as a rationing process that has been developed to manage austerity, a claim that was echoed by most interviewees: You remember the Pledge but it’s if you’re really, really upset, we’ll—you know, it’s all very subjective. So, I do think we’ve ended up probably down that end [focusing on vulnerability] more because of the growing number of those people in those categories and shrinking resource we have had available to do with it. (CO13A)

Central government funding of police fell by 20 per cent between 2011 and 2015 (HMIC, 2015) and numbers of officers fell to their lowest since 1985  in 2017 (Weinfass, 2017), although the Police Uplift

112 

I. Shannon

Programme has started to increase officer numbers (Home Office, 2020). In 2020 a senior leader (SL20B) was representative of most interviewees in 2016 and 2020, in asserting that austerity was driving police to prioritise protecting vulnerable people who had previously been supported by other public bodies: Austerity means that the other services that might have picked up the support for those vulnerable people have been cut back and as a result policing has stepped in to fill that void. (SL20B)

In 2020, using mental health as an example, CC CO17B highlighted the difficulties police face as they move into areas which might be better managed by other public bodies and where police officers may make problems worse, which reflects the need for caution in police encounters with vulnerability urged by Bartkowiak-Theron and Asquith et al. (2017): some with mental health [problems] saying that the police were the only organisation that were there to come in and assist me … But on the flip side … we might have added to some people’s crisis by having a police officer turn up. They are in uniform, taser, baton … there is a balance there to be struck. (CO17B)

More junior police officers who directly deliver police services have also recognised that their role appears to be changing. Charman (2017) identified that the most junior officers in England were increasingly viewing safeguarding vulnerable people as a central function for police. This may, as Charman (2017) suggests, partly reflect a change in what police do, as they plug gaps left by other services as funding falls. Arguably police have always filled lacunae left by other agencies, particularly when there is a need to ‘do something now!’ (Bittner, 1974, p. 30). However, reductions in funding across the public sector since 2010 may have increased the number of things that police need to do urgently and altered the activities undertaken by police; as was argued by Vitale (2017), who focused on the USA but noted similar, if less drastic, effects in the UK. Charman’s (2017) cohort of constables were not clear about who the most vulnerable are or how these judgements should be reached and the

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

113

same can be said of the chief officers interviewed in 2016 for this book. The debate about vulnerability and relevant police policy and practice had developed by the time of the interviews in 2020, but areas of ambiguity and tension remained. Whether the change in the views of officers Charman (2017) identified was influenced by the altered rhetoric of chief officers is not clear. It is also possible that the changed emphasis of chief officers reflects fresh challenges confronting junior officers. Operational police responses that are apparently partly driven by police moving to meet urgent needs arising from gaps left by other public services, and the use of vulnerability as a rationing rationale, arguably support Dehaghani’s (2019, p. 41) claim that ‘vulnerability has been hijacked within neo-liberal discourses to justify the restriction of resources to some’. These prioritisation decisions are often justified using analysis and assessments, although their effectiveness is contested, as is discussed next.

 hreat, Harm and Risk: Identifying T and Responding to Vulnerability Variations of threat, harm and risk assessments were employed in policing before 2008 but their use had been limited, mainly to conflict management, non-operational safety procedures and to some civil contingencies planning. And links between these assessments and a vulnerability discourse were not apparent. The Review of Policing, Final Report (Flannagan, 2008) called for a flexible and considered response to protect the public, utilising the concepts of threat, harm and risk, but it said little about vulnerability. There appears to have been a marked change between 2008 and 2016. Most interviewees in 2016 and 2020 associated threat, harm and risk assessments with making decisions about how to identify and respond to vulnerability. Influential assessments include national and regional analytical documents, such as those produced by the National Crime Agency, using the Management of Risk in Law Enforcement (MoRiLE) process (Tackling Organised Exploitation Project Team, 2020). These assessments tend to be significantly influenced by the concerns of national government. But local assessments are

114 

I. Shannon

also important and are influenced by priorities expressed locally, notably by police and crime commissioners. CC CO5A’s explanation was representative of accounts from nine of the 16 chief officers in 2016: I have the Police and Crime Commissioner who sets the Police and Crime Plan to which I must have due regard … underpinning that, I have an operational delivery plan that belongs to me and says to the Force these are what our priorities are … it is also informed by national bits of work [assessments] saying this is what we think is important for XXXX [Police Force] but also local threat assessments with us as well. (CO5A)

Threat, harm and risk assessments are not only relevant to strategic decision making. Assessments utilising the National Decision Model (College of Policing, 2014) or the THRIVE model (threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability, engagement) and its variants (HMIC, 2015) are used daily when dealing with incidents, as an ACC (CO15A) noted in 2016, ‘if you’re in an operational role, then your decision making is based on threat and risk’. Also in 2016, whilst advocating the benefits of these assessments for strategic planning purposes and operational decision making, another ACC (CO10A) recognised, they could be subjective, ‘even chiefs’ views of what a threat is are very, very different’. However, again in 2016, CC CO4A claimed such assessments could improve police decisions and linked this to legitimacy, and CO4A noted that professional judgement, which is arguably subjective, influences these assessments. If we get our staff to be very focused on, and very aware of, risk, threat, harm, and vulnerability and ask them to do the right thing … [and if ] they can exercise some discretion and some professional judgement; I think they will more and more act with legitimacy. (CO4A)

The views of CO4A were reflected by CC CO2A who said that professional judgement influenced his/her assessments and consequent decisions:

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

115

[I use] a fair degree of professional judgement based on what I know to be emerging pressures and where I think that the greatest risks are. (CO2A)

To what extent such reliance on professional judgement enables chief officers to subjectively tailor assessments to rationalise their own choices about police priorities and actions, potentially in ways which align with their ‘moral dispositions and orientations’ (Aliverti, 2020, p.  1124), is not clear. However, it is contended that assessments of threat, harm and risk and associated decisions about who is vulnerable and should be protected and consequently concerning where police activity should be prioritised have consequences for how, and over whom, police power is exercised. This reinforces the argument put by Asquith and Bartkowiak-­ Theron (2017) that how vulnerability is interpreted has implications for which people, or which groups of people, receive enhanced police services, or alternatively are neglected or over-policed. These assessments are widely used by police (HMICFRS, 2017), but there is no convincing published evidence that demonstrates they effectively help protect vulnerable people. HMICFRS (2017) identified that, when dealing with domestic abuse, police forces were inconsistently identifying and responding to risk. Some forces were particularly poor, despite using threat, harm and risk assessments. These assessments were also being used to artificially reduce demand, by downgrading the severity of assessments to justify slower response times and to reduce referrals to multi-agency panels (ibid.). Concerns about the consistency of understanding of threat, harm, risk, vulnerability and associated assessment tools were also identified in an evaluation of police demand management in 2019 (Walley & Adams, 2019), which cast doubt on the competence and training of staff making these decisions. In 2019 the College of Policing (Sims, 2019) identified that ‘failure to successfully identify and protect individuals at risk of harm’ was a ‘perennial problem’ for policing and was evident in the ‘wide variation in identification, recording and response to vulnerability’. And in 2021 the NPCC’s Protecting Vulnerable Persons Conference (16/03/2021) included presentations which indicated that these problems have not been resolved, although they seem to be recognised (NPCC, 2021).

116 

I. Shannon

Police officers are, and can feel, vulnerable (Dehaghani & Newman, 2017; Asquith et  al., 2017:4). Some interviewees suggested that these assessments related to the risk and vulnerability of police organisations and decision makers, as well as their publics, and this was leading to damaging risk aversion. This was reflected by CC CO13A’s comment in 2016: you have contact with somebody who has got mental illness and then they turn up dead—so organisationally, we are much more risk averse … some of the threat, risk, and harm agenda … is certainly driven by accountability fears. Risk—threat—to you as an individual. (CO13A)

In 2016 CC CO1A suggested that chief officers, and those holding them to account, were complicit in the development of inappropriate risk aversion. And the reference to media, political and inspectorate support, or lack of support, might be viewed as an indicator of the pressures that are driving the vulnerability agenda and as a warning about the potentially unintended consequences that could flow from it: [threat, harm and risk assessments] have driven a culture, haven’t we, of risk aversion. … until we get media and political and inspectorate support to do things differently, we will continue to get the things we have always got. (CO1A)

These comments illustrate some of the anxieties that appear to beset chief officers, and their perceptions of precariousness are returned to in Chap. 6 when discussing the implications for legitimacy of police governance. In 2016 CC CO7A noted that the threat, harm and risk model was being applied to protect police organisations from repeating past failures and to deal with growing operational demands arising from vulnerable people: we use the language [threat, harm, risk, vulnerability] a lot more now, partly because we have identified how much of our workload it is generating. Also, the organisational risks from all the occasions when we have got it wrong. (CO7A)

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

117

In 2016, seven of the 16 interviewees claimed that the current threat, harm and risk mantra could cause perverse outcomes and was potentially divisive and ambiguous. And they suggested it fuelled unhealthy risk aversion. CC CO14A noted the risk of unintended outcomes flowing from the approach: Threat, harm, and risk … are guiding principles … there is a real danger, I think, of those perversely being used to dismiss other things that don’t fit … that’s very dangerous to use those as an absolute template. (CO14A)

Whilst DCC CO12A cast doubt on how meaningful threat, harm and risk assessments were in the absence of shared understandings of the concepts and their application when making decisions about prioritisation: I don’t think it [threat, harm and risk] means anything really … there is no accepted understanding … things are either categorised in relation to threat, harm and risk, or they are not important. And either you have got to have a really shared understanding of what you mean by threat and risk or it’s a divisive and unhelpful tool. (CO12A)

In 2016 CC CO5A was also sceptical about how helpful and meaningful the application of the concepts of threat, harm and risk is. We tried very hard not to talk about threat, risk and harm … we’re not quite sure what it means … it doesn’t work with the public. I try to talk about ‘need’. (CO5A)

CO5A’s comment on the difficulties of communicating to the police’s publics using the lexicon associated with these concepts, in conjunction with chief officers’ apparent shift to accept the universality of vulnerability, arguably points to a need for a discussion about the use of vocabulary relating to vulnerability in policing and to the framing of police purposes. The language used has the potential to exclude the needs of many who do not appear to fit privileged categories of vulnerability. It might, it is contended, be more effective, and inclusive, to communicate with the police’s various publics, and with police officers and police staff, if there was a

118 

I. Shannon

return to arguably simpler and traditional exhortations to protect people and property and to keep the peace. In 2020 a senior leader (SL22B) worried that threat, harm and risk might be used to conveniently justify chief officers’ decisions. This is another indication that the complexity and ambiguity of the concept of vulnerability may strengthen the position of chief officers in imposing their policing priorities and preferences. And this reflects a wider concern about the convenience for chief officers of the three categories of legitimating accounts that are considered in this book, as these narratives can all, it will be argued, be used by chief officers to assert a privileged position from which they can push their priorities for the police: Threat, harm, and risk was rolling off the tongue of nearly every chief officer team I went and spoke to. And I was really concerned, as I say, that people were just using it too conveniently. (SL22B)

Overall, most interviewees suggested that threat, harm and risk assessments are important in identifying and responding to vulnerabilities, but they had reservations about their efficacy and potentially unintended outcomes.

Conclusion Before starting the concluding discussion, attention is drawn to the limitations of this research that were detailed in Chap. 1 and earlier in this chapter. Caution is adopted in generalising findings about all chief officers from analysis of interviewees accounts. Similar care is exercised in identifying trends over time, as the interviews in 2016 and 2020 are not directly comparable. Previous research into chief police officers indicates that they have persistently seen protecting people as a key element of the policing mission. The chief officers who were interviewed for this book drew on a duty to protect people to justify the right of police to exercise power, but they emphasised an obligation to protect the most vulnerable. However, the accounts provided in 2016 about the nature of vulnerability and the

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

119

mechanisms for making decisions about who to protect and how to do so were inconsistent, which is perhaps understandable given the ambiguity and complexity of the concept. There was greater consistency amongst those interviewed in 2020, although ambiguities and tensions remained. Some interviewees in 2016 and 2020 highlighted adverse consequences for legitimacy associated with the vulnerability agenda, notably by identifying issues that were important to many people, but which were no longer apparently treated as priorities by police, as they did not fit into privileged categories in the prevailing vulnerability discourse. Interviewees also worried that the discourse was partly driven by a desire to reduce the vulnerability of police organisations and decision makers and was contributing to an unhealthy risk aversion; although this might also be interpreted as an overdue response to persistent police failures to protect marginalised and vulnerable people, such as victims of child sexual exploitation and domestic abuse. But the vulnerability discourse can also be used to conceal coercion and control under a cloak of care (Phoenix, 2002) and many who are labelled as vulnerable may resist and resent this categorisation (Butler, 2016). So, a discourse of vulnerability can be used as a mechanism for care, or it can legitimate coercion (Dehaghani, 2019, p. 46). Therefore, the personal preferences and moral standpoints of chief police officers, who are influential actors, are important. And, as was discussed in Chap. 2, some reassurance may be drawn (for the liberal-­ minded) from the consistently liberal and humanitarian views expressed by the chief officers who were interviewed, although how these opinions translate into police practice was not thoroughly tested by this research. Some interviewees were concerned about the efficacy of threat, harm and risk assessments used to identify vulnerability and to guide the police response to it, and there is little evidence to suggest these mechanisms are effective. It has also been argued that the subjectivity involved in these assessments, combined with the ambiguity of the concept of vulnerability, can be used by chief officers to claim a privileged perspective, which provides them with additional power to pursue their policing priorities and preferences. The focus on protecting the most vulnerable is a recent development, which was barely present in the influential Review of Policing (Flannagan, 2008), nor was it identified by research into chief officers before 2016.

120 

I. Shannon

This new legitimating narrative appears to reflect a wider societal discourse about vulnerability. It is also a response to a perceived need for a revised prioritisation system, to reflect changes in demands on police, which are arguably exacerbated by austerity. But this prioritisation process can also be deployed by chief police officers to advance and legitimate their policing agendas. Chief police officers’ understandings of what vulnerability is and how to respond to vulnerability have evolved. In 2016, the accounts provided by chief officers revealed a narrow interpretation of vulnerability, which tended to focus on specific categories of offences, offenders and victims. The chief officers and senior leaders in national institutions in the policing landscape who were interviewed in 2020 had a broader view of vulnerability, which tended to accept that we are all vulnerable, but claimed that our degree of vulnerability is contingent on personal characteristics and the circumstances that we find ourselves in. Interviewees’ views on vulnerability in 2016 and 2020 broadly reflected national policy and guidance at the time of the interviews but the extent to which this was driven by chief officers, or alternatively was the product of external influences, notably from central government and other institutions in the national policing landscape, was not clear. Although, the greater coherence of view that was apparent in 2020 and the shift away from strand-­ based approaches to vulnerability can be interpreted as chief officers reasserting their influence. As the strand, or silo-based approach, had tended to reflect privileged vulnerabilities derived from fluctuating government priorities. And a shift towards an acceptance of the universality of vulnerability and threat-neutral prioritisation potentially provides chief police officers with a mechanism for resisting the imposition of national priorities relating to specific categories of crime, victims or offenders and associated de facto targets and national performance regimes. The evolution of the discourse of vulnerability in policing may not have rendered its translation into operational policing any easier or alleviated the difficulty in communicating its intention and benefits to the police’s various public. The strand-based approach was arguably simpler to understand for operational officers and their publics, as if an individual fits into one or more of several categories they would probably be

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

121

classified as vulnerable and consequently receive an enhanced police response. Possibly whether they wish to receive this response or not, as it may involve coercion or unwanted care. The strand-based approach also had utility in prioritising the needs of some groups who had previously been neglected or over-policed. And it could be translated into a simple, but inaccurate, legitimating narrative of goodies and baddies (Turner, 2014), or of deserving and undeserving victims and offenders. This narrative arguably pays too little attention to the complexity of individuals and groups who are simultaneously vulnerable and offenders. The strand-­ based approach has other delegitimating consequences; it marginalises the concerns of people whose demands of police do not fit into privileged categories of vulnerability, which risks withdrawal of consent to the use of power (Beetham, 1991). And the prioritisation does not necessarily reflect the likelihood and severity of harm that could be caused, otherwise one might arguably have expected some issues, which have traditionally been police priorities, to be addressed in the vulnerability discourse, such as protecting vulnerable road users (World Health Organization, 2013; HMICFRS, 2020b). Politically privileged vulnerabilities are also subject to fluctuations, which can be difficult to justify. But the shift to a discourse that tends to accept the universality of vulnerability is arguably more difficult to explain to the populace and to police officers and police staff who must implement the consequent policies. The intention to develop the ‘professional curiosity’ of police to enable them to identify vulnerabilities and to respond appropriately to protect vulnerable people (NPCC and College of Policing, 2021) can be seen as worthy. But attempts to professionalise the police have a mixed history (Holdaway, 2017) and ‘the intricacies of unpacking various forms of vulnerability are staggering’ (Asquith et al., 2017:13). And the complicated task of identifying different vulnerabilities and responding effectively, or to judge when not to intervene to prevent exacerbating harm, requires effective recruitment and promotion processes and well-developed training and career development, and these are issues which the police service struggles with (HMICFRS, 2019). The apparent shift to accepting the universality of vulnerability may be an opportunity to reconsider the use of the lexicon of vulnerability and to consider simpler messages about the policing mission. Possibly, with a

122 

I. Shannon

return to traditional accounts about protecting people (we are all vulnerable) and property and keeping the peace. With prioritisation within these broad tasks being conducted through open conversations between individuals and bodies responsible for the oversight and political direction of police, both nationally and locally, and the police and their various publics. But this should be accompanied by informed political and public debate, and the Police Foundation’s Strategic Review (2020) may serve as a starting point for such discussions. And, it is contended, the benefits that the vulnerability discourse agenda may have brought in raising the priority of groups and individuals that have often been poorly served by police should not be abandoned. The concept of vulnerability also arguably continues to have utility as a lens with which to look at the broader task of protection, as it provides an impetus for problem solving that emphasises prevention and partnerships. Anxieties held by chief officers about police legitimacy, at the heart of which lies the right to use power, and the dilemmas of managing competing demands, seem to underlie many of the accounts provided by interviewees about using power to protect the vulnerable. But most worryingly the ambiguity of the concept of vulnerability, confusion about what it means, and its emotional content, may be convenient when constructing legitimating narratives. Consequently, a discourse of vulnerability can be deployed to legitimate the choices chief officers make about what to prioritise and how to use power. This discourse may also be used in the same way by individuals and bodies that hold the police to account and give them political direction. Therefore, it is contended, the use of legitimating narratives that draw on a purported duty to protect the vulnerable should not be taken for granted; they should be critically examined and appropriately challenged. Tensions and conflicts between understandings based on a duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable and justifications for the use of police power rooted in the concept of policing by consent, were apparent and raised by some interviewees. However, most directly or indirectly made links between protecting the public and understandings of the right to exercise power based on policing by consent. It is the latter understandings that are addressed in the next chapter.

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

123

Note 1. Principle 1 of the Peelian principles (Home Office, 2012; Roycroft, 2016, p. 205). These principles appear to be a mid-twentieth-century invention (Lentz & Chaires, 2007; Emsley, 2014, p. 13).

References Aliverti, A. (2020). Benevolent policing? Vulnerability and the moral pains of border controls. British Journal of Criminology, 60(5), 1117–1135. Asquith, N. L., & Bartkowiak-Theron, I. (2017). Police as public health interventionists. In N. L. Asquith, I. Bartkowiak-Theron, & K. A. Roberts (Eds.), Policing encounters with vulnerability (pp. 145–174). Palgrave Macmillan. Asquith, N. L., Bartkowiak-Theron, I., & Roberts, K. A. (2017). Vulnerability as a contemporary challenge for policing. In N. L. Asquith, I. Bartkowiak-­ Theron, & K.  A. Roberts (Eds.), Policing encounters with vulnerability (pp. 1–26). Palgrave Macmillan. Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). (2016). Policing Vision 2025. Retrieved October 28 2021 from https://www.npcc.police.uk/documents/Policing%20 Vision.pdf Bartkowiak-Theron, I., & Asquith, N. L. (2017). Conceptual divides and practice synergies in law enforcement and public health: Some lessons from policing vulnerability in Australia. Policing and Society, 27(3), 276–288. Beetham, D. (1991). The legitimation of power. Macmillan. Bittner, E. (1974). Florence nightingale in pursuit of Willie Sutton: A theory of the police. In H. Jacob (Ed.), The potential for reform of criminal justice. Sage. Bottoms, A., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: A dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102(1), 119–170. Bowling, B., Riener, R., & Sheptycki, J. (2019). The politics of the police (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. Brodeur, J. P. (2010). The policing web. Oxford University Press. Brown, K. (2015). Vulnerability and young people: Care and social control in policy and practice. The Policy Press.

124 

I. Shannon

Brown, K. (2017). The governance of vulnerability: Regulation, support and social divisions in action. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 37, 667–682. Burney, E. (2005). Making people behave: Anti-social behaviour, politics and policy. Willan. Butler, J. (2004). Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence. Verso. Butler, J. (2016). Rethinking vulnerability and resistance. In J.  Butler, Z.  Gambetti, & L.  Sabsay (Eds.), Vulnerability in resistance (pp.  12–27). Duke University Press. Caless, B. (2011). Policing at the top: The roles, values and attitudes of chief police officers. The Policy Press. Charman, S. (2017). Police socialisation, identity and culture: Becoming blue. Palgrave Macmillan. College of Policing. (2014). Code of Ethics: A Code of Practice for the Principles and Standards of Behaviour for the Policing Profession (which includes the National Decision Making Model as an appendix). Retrieved October 28 2021 from https://assets.college.police.uk/s3fs-public/2021-02/code_of_ethics.pdf College of Policing. (2016). Protecting vulnerable people. Retrieved November 7, 2016, from https://www.college.police.uk/What-­we-­do/Learning/ Curriculum/Pages/Protecting-­Vulnerable-­People.aspx College of Policing. (2019). Protecting vulnerable people. Retrieved November 17, 2019, from https://www.college.police.uk/What-­we-­do/Learning/ Curriculum/Pages/Protecting-­Vulnerable-­People.aspx Day, P., & Klein, R. (1987). Accountabilities five public services. Tavistock Publications. Dehaghani, R. (2019). Vulnerability in police custody: Police decision making and the appropriate adult safeguard. Routledge. Dehaghani, R., & Newman, D. (2017). “We’re vulnerable too”: An (alternative) analysis of vulnerability within criminal legal aid and police custody. Onati Socio-Legal Series, 7(6), 1199–1228. Emsley, C. (2014). Peel’s principles, police principles. In J.  Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 11–22). Routledge. Fineman, M.  A. (2008). The vulnerable subject: Anchoring equality in the human condition. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, 20(1), 1–23. Fineman, M. A. (2013). Equality, autonomy and the vulnerable subject in law and politics. In M. A. Fineman & A. Grear (Eds.), Vulnerability: Reflections on a new ethical Foundation for law and Politics (pp. 13–29). Ashgate.

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

125

Fineman, M. A., & Grear, A. (Eds.). (2013). Vulnerability: Reflections on a new ethical Foundation for law and Politics. Ashgate. Flannagan, R. (2008). The review of policing, final report. Retrieved March 1, 2020 from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20080901215130/; http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/police-­r eform/Review_ of_policing_final_report/ Foucault, M. (1971). Orders of discourse. Social Sciences Information, 10(2), 7–30. Ganteau, J.-M. (2015). The ethics and aesthetics of vulnerability. Routledge. Hayden, C., & Jenkins, C. (2014). “Troubled families” programme in England “wicked problem” and policy based evidence. Policy Studies, 35(6), 631–649. HMIC. (2009). Responsive policing delivery, the policing pledge, strategic overview. Retrieved March 7, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/ hmic/media/policing-­pledge-­national-­overview-­20090929.pdf HMIC. (2014). Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/ hmicfrs/wp-­content/uploads/2014/04/improving-­the-­police-­response-­to-­ domestic-­abuse.pdf HMIC. (2015). PEEL: Police effectiveness (vulnerability). Retrieved March 1, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-­content/uploads/ police-­effectiveness-­vulnerability-­2015.pdf HMICFRS. (2017). A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/ hmicfrs/wp-­content/uploads/progress-­report-­on-­the-­police-­response-­to-­ domestic-­abuse.pdf HMICFRS. (2019). Leading lights: An inspection of the police service’s arrangements for the selection and development of chief officers. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­content/ uploads/leading-­l ights-­i nspection-­p olice-­a rrangements-­s election-­ development-­chief-­officers.pdf HMICFRS. (2020a). PEEL spotlight report: Diverging under pressure. An overview of 2018/19 PEEL inspections. Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https:// www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­c ontent/uploads/peel-­ spotlight-­report-­diverging-­under-­pressure-­2018-­19-­overview.pdf HMICFRS. (2020b). Roads policing: Not optional. An inspection of roads policing in England and Wales. Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/not-­o ptional-­a n-­i nspection-­ of-­roads-­policing-­in-­england-­and-­wales/

126 

I. Shannon

Hobbes, T. (1968 [1651]). Leviathan, or the matter, forme & power of a Commonwealth ecclesiasticall and Civil. Pelican Books. Holdaway, S. (1983). Inside the British police: A force at work. Basil Blackwell. Holdaway, S. (2017). The re-professionalization of the police in England and Wales. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17(5), 588–604. Home Office. (2012). Definition of policing by consent. Retrieved April 8, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/policing-­by-­consent Home Office. (2015). The strategic policing requirement. Retrieved March 2, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategic-­policing­requirement Home Office. (2020). Police officer Uplift, England and Wales, quarterly update to 30 September 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/ government/statistics/police-­o fficer-­u plift-­q uarterly-­u pdate-­t o-­ september-­2020/police-­officer-­uplift-­england-­and-­wales-­quarterly-­update-­ to-­30-­september-­2020#:~:text=Uplift%3A%20The%20term%20used%20 to,police%20force%20has%20been%20exceeded Independent Police Commission. (2013). Policing for a better Britain: Report of the independent police commission. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https:// www.researchgate.net/publication/303873773_Policing_for_a_Better_ B r i t a i n _ R e p o r t _ o f _ t h e _ I n d e p e n d e n t _ Po l i c e _ C o m m i s s i o n / link/5759888d08ae9a9c954f06d1/download Jay, A. (2014). Independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham (1997–2013). Retrieved February 4, 2021, from https://www.rotherham. gov.uk/downloads/file/279/independent-­i nquiry-­i nto-­c hild-­s exual­exploitation-­in-­rotherham Jefferson, T., & Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the constable. Frederick Muller Limited. Jones, T., & Lister, S. (2019). Localism and governance in England and Wales: Exploring continuity and change. European Journal of Criminology, 16(5), 552–572. Kinsella, C. (2011). Welfare, exclusion and rough sleeping in Liverpool. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 31(5), 240–252. Lee, J. A. (1981). Some structural aspects of police deviance in relations with minority groups. In C.  Shearing (Ed.), Organizational Police Deviance. Butterworth. Lentz, S.  A., & Chaires, R.  H. (2007). The invention of Peel’s principles: A study of policing “textbook” history. Journal of Criminal Justice, 35, 69–79.

4  Protecting People, Particularly the Most Vulnerable 

127

Lumsden, K., & Black, A. (2018). Austerity policing, emotional labour and the boundaries of police work: An ethnography of a police force control room in England. British Journal of Criminology, 58(3), 606–623. May, T. (2010). Speech to the ACPO conference 29/06/2010. Retrieved March 18, 2020, from https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/police-­reform-­ theresa-­mays-­speech-­to-­the-­national-­policing-­conference Metropolitan Police. (1985). The principles of policing and guidance for professional behaviour. Metropolitan Police. Mill, J.  S. (1962 [1861]). Utilitarianism. In M.  Warnock (Ed.), Utilitarianism. Glasgow. National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing. (2021). National Vulnerability Action Plan (NVAP) Revised 2020–2022 v.2. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://www.npcc.police.uk/Crime%20Ops%20Committee/ NVAP.pdf Patel, P. (2020). Speech at association of police and crime commissioners and national police chiefs’ partnership summit 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2020, from https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/home-­secretary-­at-­the-apccand-­npcc-­partnership-­summit Phoenix, J. (2002). In the name of protection: Youth prostitution policy reforms in England and Wales. Critical Social Policy, 22(2), 353–375. Police Foundation. (2020). Public safety and security in the 21st century: The first report of the strategic review of policing in England and Wales. Retrieved September 8, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/ phase_1_report_final-­1.pdf Pratt, J. (2017). Risk control, rights and legitimacy in the limited liability state. British Journal of Criminology., 57(6), 1322–1399. Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Reiner, R. (2010). The politics of the police (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. Reiner, R. (2016). Power to the people? A social democratic critique of the coalition Government’s police reforms. In S.  Lister & M.  Rowe (Eds.), Accountability of policing (pp. 132–149). Routledge. Roycroft, M. (2016). Police chiefs in the UK: Politicians, HR managers or cops? Palgrave Macmillan. Savage, S., Charman, S., & Cope, S. (2000). Policing and the powers of persuasion. Blackstone Press. Sims, G. (2019). Perennial problems: The need for capability improvement in policing. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from http://www.excellenceinpolicing.org. uk/wp-­content/uploads/2019/09/1-­5_Perennial-­Problems_Updated.pdf

128 

I. Shannon

Tackling Organised Exploitation Project Team. (2020, November). TOEX stakeholder briefing. Unpublished. Turner, L. (2014). PCCs, neo-liberal hegemony and democratic policing. Safer Communities, 13(1), 13–21. UK Parliament. (2018). Vulnerability knowledge and practice programme. Retrieved May 16, 2021, from https://questions-­statements.parliament.uk/ written-­questions/detail/2018-­10-­30/185651 Vitale, A. S. (2017). The end of policing. Verso. Walklate, S., Fitz-Gibbon, K., & McCulloch, J. (2018). Is more law the answer? Justice for victims of intimate partner violence through the reform of legal categories. British Journal of Criminology, 18(1), 115–131. Wall, D.  S. (1998). The chief constables of England and Wales: The socio-legal history of a criminal justice elite. Ashgate. Walley, P., & Adams, M. (2019). An evaluation of police demand management. Retrieved March 23, 2021, from https://www.open.ac.uk/centres/policing/ sites/www.open.ac.uk.centres.policing/files/files/News/An%20Evaluation% 20of%20Demand-­Management-­Practices-­in-­UK-­Final-­report.pdf Weber, M. (1948 [1921]). Politics as a vocation. In H. H. Gerth & C. Wright Mills (Eds.), From max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 77–127). Routledge and Kegan Paul. Weinfass, I. (2017, July 20). Officer numbers at lowest level since 2015. Police Oracle. Retrieved July 30, 2017, August 2, 2017, from https://www.policeoracle.com/news/police_performance/2017/Jul/20/officer-­numbers-­at-­lowest-­ level-­since-­1985_95342.html Wells, H. (2016). PCCs, roads policing and the dilemmas of increased democratic accountability. British Journal of Criminology, 56(2), 274–292. Wells, H. (2018). The angered versus the endangered: PCCs, roads policing and the challenges of assessing and representing public opinion. British Journal of Criminology, 58(2), 95–113. Wiles, J. (2011). Reflections on being a recipient of care: Vexing the concept of vulnerability. Social and Cultural Geography, 12(6), 573–588. World Health Organization. (2013). Global status report on road safety 2013: Supporting a decade of action. WHO. Young, J. (1999). The exclusive society: Social exclusion, crime and difference in late modernity. Sage.

5 Policing by Consent

This chapter adds to the argument in this book by critically considering interviewees’ claims about their belief in the importance of consensual policing. It identifies how policing by consent contributes to interviewees’ understandings of the right of police to exercise power and it assesses their accounts about building consent, establishing its extent and recognising its loss. Policing by consent was the second of three broad categories of legitimating accounts provided by interviewees. Tensions are identified between these narratives of consensual policing and the first category of legitimating accounts scrutinised in the previous chapter, which were founded on a personal and normative duty (rather than a legal requirement) to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable in society, as the recent priority placed on vulnerability may be resented by many people who feel their concerns are no longer receiving the attention they deserve. This risks consent being withdrawn. Similarities in both categories of legitimating narratives are found, in the degree of confusion and ambiguity that was apparent when chief officers talked about ‘vulnerability’ and ‘consent’. And a concern is raised that both forms of legitimation may conveniently obscure and gloss over the inevitable use of coercion by police. Links are also made to the next chapter, which © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_5

129

130 

I. Shannon

examines the third category of justification of the use of police power, founded on the law and the oversight and political direction (or governance), of police, where the narrative is also arguably confused and convenient, with chief officers asserting that law and governance are essential for legitimacy, whilst also resenting the manner and methods of oversight. The inter-relationship between the three categories of legitimating narratives is highlighted, as they were all used by interviewees, and none was claimed as a sufficient stand-alone justification of the right to exercise power. The concept of policing by consent is important, as it is an enduring theme in historical legitimating narratives about British police, and its ongoing significance can be seen in assertions made by the Home Office (2012) and HMICFRS (2021). This chapter will suggest that policing by consent is a concept that is too often taken for granted, and that it is based on myths about British police, which take insufficient account of the ability of police to resort to coercion in the absence of consent (Reiner, 2010). It will also be argued that policing by consent is based on dubious assumptions about a broadly consensual society (Emsley, 2014). Consequently, claims to legitimacy founded on consent should be rigorously examined (Murray & Harkin, 2017). And scrutinising chief police officers’ claims to legitimacy based on consensual policing is the central function of this chapter. To achieve the aims set out above, this chapter is structured in the following way. First, to frame this discussion, the meaning and endurance of a discourse of policing by consent are explored. Second, interviewees’ accounts of what they mean by policing by consent are examined to identify how they conceptualise consent and its component parts, and consent’s symbolic and practical significance for chief officers is assessed. Third, to establish if these accounts are evidence-based and to assess if the methods described include listening to people who tend to be more policed than protected, interviewees’ explanations of engagement with their publics to construct consent and to gauge if consent is more than ‘dull compulsion’ (Carrabine, 2004, p. 180) are scrutinised. Fourth, the influence of procedural justice theory within interviewees’ constructions of consent is examined to see how this prevalent theory influences their understandings about the construction of consent and legitimacy. Fifth,

5  Policing by Consent 

131

further insights into chief officers’ conceptualisations of policing by consent are obtained by examining their examples of withdrawn consent; this identifies their ostensible construction of a more coercive ‘then’ and a relatively consensual ‘now’. These insights matter as they illuminate (and can be used to challenge) legitimating narratives that tend to emphasise the importance of consent, which is a concept that was ambiguously and broadly set out by the interviewees. And it will be argued that these narratives under-state the coercive nature of police activity. An additional aspect of interviewees’ accounts was the role that they saw law and formal governance mechanisms playing in ensuring that consent endures; these features, it is contended, are sufficiently distinctive to be considered as a third category of understanding of the right of police to exercise power, and they are addressed in the next chapter.

 he Endurance and Meaning of ‘Policing T by Consent’ The use of policing by consent as a legitimating narrative can arguably be traced back to the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Service in 1829 (Bowling et al., 2019, p. 78; Emsley, 2014; Reiner, 2010). Indeed, this was directly claimed by the Home Office (2012) and linked to ‘Robert Peel’s 9 Principles of Policing’, which the Home Office asserted were included in the first General Instructions to the Metropolitan Police. However, the principles appear to be a rhetorical myth invented in the mid-twentieth century, which were based on the work of the police historian Charles Reith (1956) (Emsley, 2014; Lentz & Chaires, 2007). An argument that not only Peelian principles but also policing by consent are legitimating constructs, which understate the use of coercive police power, is supported by the everyday and inevitable resort to coercion by police in the absence of consent, as a key police function is to intervene in social conflict, which inevitably often requires recourse to coercion, including violence (Bittner, 1974; Brodeur, 2007; Reiner, 2010). But policing by consent is an enduring legitimating narrative and it was a key element of the majority ‘broad view’ of policing amongst chief constables

132 

I. Shannon

interviewed by Reiner (1991, p. 110). These chief constables were influenced by the Scarman Inquiry (1981), which identified the need for police to moderate enforcement and to support social cohesion, to secure consent to the use of police power. The Inquiry advocated the development of community policing to support this endeavour. Savage et  al. (2000) found that consensual policing continued as a legitimating narrative invoked by chief officers. And Loader and Mulcahy (2001a) interpreted the development of a more considered and coherent chief officer voice as, partly, a demonstration of how policing by consent continued to play a role in how chief police officers understood legitimacy and acted to sustain it. Caless (2011) reported that chief officers still emphasised policing by consent but they, the Home Office and HMIC, were concerned about an apparently growing gap between public expectations and police delivery that threatened public confidence and consent (HMIC, 2005). Anxieties about this lacuna led to the introduction of neighbourhood policing (Home Office, 2008) arguably a more prescriptive version of earlier iterations of community policing. The Independent Police Commission (2013) developed the narrative of consent with a proposal for New Peelian Principles. And Roycroft (2016) reported the continued use of a discourse of consent by chief officers. Consent remains embedded within policing rhetoric in England and Wales, as illustrated by the emphasis placed on it by HMICFRS (2021, p. 35) and by the Policing Vision 2025 (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ [APCC] and National Police Chiefs’ Council [NPCC], 2016, p. 4). Emsley (2014, p. 17) observed that the concept of policing by consent is problematic, as it is founded on dubious assumptions about societal consensus in Britain. Narratives of consent are also difficult to categorise, as they are part of the police’s continuing quest for legitimacy, which takes different forms at different times (Reiner, 2010). Arguably accounts of consent, and the actions required to construct consent, need to adapt to accommodate a more questioning society (Giddens, 1994), declining trust in more diverse societies (Cook, 2001), recurring policing scandals, austerity, new governance mechanisms and altered demands (Police Foundation, 2020). Bowling et al. (2019, p. 78) argue that policing is inevitably coercive and is done not only for people but to people, consequently consent

5  Policing by Consent 

133

cannot mean complete support for the police across the population, rather, ‘those at the sharp end of police practices do not extend resentment of specific actions into a withdrawal of legitimacy from the institution of policing per se’. They also identify the elements of the construction of consent as the bureaucratic and disciplined nature of the police, the rule of law, minimal force, non-partisanship, accountability, the service role and preventative policing (ibid., pp. 77–81). Earlier influential chief officers (Mark, 1977; Alderson, 1984; Oliver, 1987) also did not envisage consent as the explicit agreement of people to specific powers being exercised over them. Rather they perceived a normative police duty to take account of the many views held by people, coupled with a commitment to use coercion sparingly, with a reified public responding by mostly accepting the exercise of police power. They also emphasised the importance of the rule of law and accountability mechanisms in maintaining consent. Reiner (1991, p. 108) found that some chief constables had expanded the concept of consent to include securing public mandates, and sometimes active support, for specific police activities and objectives. Manning (2014, p.  31) highlights the difficulty of police negotiating a mandate from ‘the several publics they serve not a reified “public” … The mandate in a democracy is fraught with contradictions because of the various expectations of police’. Earlier, Jefferson and Grimshaw (1984, pp. 67–68) identified that police had started using public relations to ‘construct a broad, non-partisan “consensual” public constituency’, although they were concerned that the views of ‘the policed’ were often dismissed by chief constables as partisan. Yet, they did not dismiss policing by consent as a ‘mere myth’ and noted that it had practical consequences and helped explain the attachment of chief officers to minimal use of force. Policing by consent has not only been a legitimating narrative used by police. As Home Secretary Theresa May stressed the importance of policing by consent and Peelian principles (Home Office, 2012) and HMICFRS (2021) also drew directly on Peelian principles in providing its interpretation of policing by consent. The key issues arising from this section are that policing by consent can reasonably be described as a legitimating myth, but the myth encompasses a wide range of features and lacks clarity. Further, policing by

134 

I. Shannon

consent ‘does not mean the consent of an individual’ (Home Office, 2012), rather it refers to the assumed broad acceptance by a reified public of the right of police to use power. But its status as a myth does not mean that it is not important, as policing by consent continues to shape chief police officers’ understandings of the right of police to exercise power, which, it is contended, should influence how they use power and consequently how power is used by more junior officers, and how police act is a key determinant of legitimacy (Loader, 2020). The chief police officers who were interviewed for this book in 2016 all called on the foundation stories of modern policing in England and Wales, with five of the 16 directly referencing Peelian principles when explaining the right of police to use power. And interviewees’ accounts about consent are examined next.

 hief Police Officers’ Accounts of Policing C by Consent All the accounts assessed in this chapter are from the chief officers interviewed in 2016, as the 2020 interviews focused on protecting vulnerable people, not consent. Policing by consent was invoked by all the 2016 interviewees to explain the right of police to use power. The responses indicate that these chief officers associated policing by consent with minimising coercion, operating within a set of values broadly shared with their publics, and the importance of symbolism and trust in constructing consent. They also saw the law and police governance as being crucial for consent, but this aspect was sufficiently distinctive to be assessed separately, which is achieved in the next chapter. Minimising coercion was a key point of consensus amongst interviewees, as shown by Chief Constable (CC) CO14A who also stressed links to a reified ‘community’, which highlights a difficulty for the concept of consent in a diverse society. [policing by consent] means that the … public understand why they [the police] are there and accept their authority … the police are part of the community, not an occupation army. (CO14A)

5  Policing by Consent 

135

Another CC (CO6A) implicitly related consent to low levels of coercion and contended that police could not exercise effective control through coercion, as widespread resistance was likely as ‘if society decided it didn’t want to be policed, it wouldn’t be policed’. These views were, in various ways, voiced by all interviewees and appeared to be based on more than instrumental choices about the benefits of consent over coercion. This reflects the liberal leanings that were consistently expressed by interviewees, which, as was discussed in Chap. 3, were probably influenced by their social and educational backgrounds and career socialisation processes. Although how these seemingly normative opinions translate into operational policing is not tested by this research. A wish to minimise coercion is not necessarily incompatible with the role that police play in maintaining order (Reiner, 2010, pp. 141–173), but there is a tension, given the role that coercion, including the use or threat of force, inevitably plays in maintaining order (Bittner, 1974; Brodeur, 2007). Van Dijk et  al. (2015) argued that there is a false dichotomy of two competing paradigms of policing, of ‘consent’ and ‘control’ and that the consent paradigm is threatened by the practice of policing, which inevitably involves control. Similarly, there is a tension between the models of ‘force’ and ‘service’, which featured heavily in the cultural change programme instituted by Commissioner Sir Peter (later Lord) Imbert in the Metropolitan Police in the late 1980s, which sought to shift the emphasis and image of the police organisation from that of being a ‘force’ to a more benevolent ‘service’ (Wolff Olins, 1988). This theme continues in discussions of policing, and the service role of police has played a function in legitimating narratives since the nineteenth century (Bowling et  al., 2019, p. 80). Although the service and force models may also be viewed as a false dichotomy, as Reiner (2010, pp. 141–173) argues force is necessarily part of the service. Five of the 16 interviewees identified a conflict between coercion and consent, when using arguments that are reminiscent of Hobbes (1968 [1651]) in maintaining that the police have the right to exercise power to maintain order and protect people, irrespective of an absence of consent, at least from some of those over whom power is being directly exercised and potentially from wider groups empathising with them. This also illustrates the inter-relationship between the categories of understanding

136 

I. Shannon

of the right to exercise power based on protecting people and those founded on consensual policing. As represented by one CC (CO1A) who asserted that ‘without some element of force and control, then you end up with anarchy’. Similarly CC CO14A focused on the police’s order maintenance role to explain the right to exercise power: [when] something terrible has happened and the police usually come into that chaos, and they bring order out of chaos. (CO14A)

These comments recognised the coercive facets of police power. However, most accounts emphasised more benign and ambiguous notions of protecting the vulnerable and consensual policing. As represented by an Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) (CO15A), who inferred that policing by consent is connected to using power within the law, the first of Beetham’s (1991, pp. 15–16) three dimensions of legitimacy. This ACC’s implicit reference to the supposed seventh Peelian principle (Home Office, 2012) also reflects Beetham’s (1991, pp. 15–16) second dimension of legitimacy, a link between the dominant and the subordinate, strengthened by their shared experiences and values: We are absolutely impartial, absolutely here to enforce the law and I love that saying that we often rely on around ‘the public are the police, and the police are the public’. (CO15A)

A CC (CO14A) contended that police must act within the law, but within parameters widely accepted by people and the reference to the police as professional citizens again alludes to the importance of shared experiences and values in building consent: I am very much a believer of the professional citizen … but it is based on rule of law and based on consent … the power comes from the public and their consent. (CO14A)

A Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) (CO16A) discussed consent in terms of behaviours that indicated its presence, and these observations reflect the third of Beetham’s (1991, pp.  15–16) dimensions of legitimacy,

5  Policing by Consent 

137

evidence of the consent of the subordinate to the exercise of power. These comments show the importance placed by interviewees on tradition and trust and on the symbolic role of police in demonstrating the state’s commitment to protecting people (Manning, 2014, p. 26). This DCC was also anxious about the fragility of consent: If I cordon off some of these chairs, when you go in the room, nobody would go in … you trust that it’s got ‘Police’ on it, we are making the decision to do something for your best interest … and therefore you allow something to happen to you as a result … and I think the trust is very hard won over lots of years and also rooted in tradition and it is very easily lost. (CO16A)

Similarly, HMICFRS (2021) raised concerns about the fragility of trust and consent in their inspection of the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard. Another CC (CO13A) also emphasised the importance of trust in building consent and recognised the necessarily coercive role of the police and, like CC CO16A and HMICFRS (2021), was concerned that consent could crumble: you have to be worthy of the trust of communities because if you are not, that’s where it all starts to unravel. Because they are trusting us to have coercive powers and invasive powers … they are doing that because generally they think we are doing it to look after them. (CO13A)

Another CC (CO3A) also sought evidence of consent in people’s interaction with and trust in police, seemingly reflecting interviewees’ awareness of procedural justice theory (Sunshine & Tyler, 2003), which is returned to later. Additionally, CO3A related consent and legitimacy to law, a democratic mandate and accountability structures. This comment again highlights the symbolic importance for chief officers of Peelian legitimating narratives: Do they [the public] trust us? Will they call for help when they need us? … does legitimacy come from what we do or how we do it? And in my opinion, it is the latter. Legitimacy comes from our relationship with the public … We act on their behalf, and we are accountable to them … a

138 

I. Shannon

Parliament that passes legislation … the tripartite structure … of the Home Office, the PCC and the Chief Constable … they are all mechanisms for dealing with the public will … that’s the principle of modern policing that is laid out by Peel. (CO3A)

These accounts of policing by consent have common features particularly, minimal coercion, values shared with wider society, trust and the symbolic role of police, appeals to Peelian myths and the importance of the rule of law and of police accountability and governance. However, there are complexities, ambiguities and differences, which are examined next.

Hazy Consent Peelian principles were widely referenced by interviewees, and they all used policing by consent to justify the right to exercise power, but they were less clear about what they meant by Peelian principles or consensual policing, beyond broad observations about minimal coercion, acting within the law, shared values and trust. Two CCs observed that identifying what consent is, what is being consented to, who is consenting and measuring it is problematic. CC CO3A commented that consent is ‘really difficult to measure and describe’ and CC C02A noted the difficulty in ‘the determination of what is consent … what are they consenting to?’ Another CC’s (CO7A) comments (below) chime with the previous two observations and can be read as a recognition that policing by consent is difficult to describe and is an ambiguous concept. CO7A reflects other interviewees in picking up themes of minimal coercion and trust. Whilst CO7A’s inference that there is something particular to England and Wales in the notion of policing by consent has echoes of the rose-­ tinted and nationalistic interpretation of British Police history presented by Reith (1943, 1956) that Emsley (2014) argues played a significant role in developing a Peelian myth about policing by consent. CO7A also recognises that reliance on the symbolism of unarmed police might become tenuous as police in England and Wales appear more militarised, a tendency that Brewer et al. (1996) identified as developing during the 1980s:

5  Policing by Consent 

139

We talk about it [policing by consent] a lot … What we really mean—we are probably pretty hazy about that … in part I would link it to being a largely unarmed police service … since you and I joined, our officers are equipped with much more … [but they] still spend the vast majority of their time going around their business without having to use force … policing by consent is more than that—it means that when something bad happens people do ring us or contact us … they do trust us to act, I suppose, in the public interest. They do trust us to protect—it sounds quite grandiose, but I guess there are police services in the world where you don’t call them if you can possibly avoid it. (CO7A)

Another CC (CO4A) was more explicit in describing consensual policing in a way which resonates with Reith’s (1943, 1956) version, although CO4A did not offer evidence to support this assertion about the quality of British policing: I would just go back to your Peelian Principles … I think these principles were as sound today as they were then. You hear a number of people say this, that the British Police service is the best in the world. I absolutely think it is. (CO4A)

Peelian principles and policing by consent were symbolically important to interviewees but the meaning behind the myth was unclear; however, this does not mean that their views do not have practical consequences. They were asked to expand on how they developed consensual policing and these accounts are examined next.

Communicating, Conversations and Accountability Interviewees commonly emphasised the importance of accountability and of communicating with people, to understand what they want of police, to build trust and bolster consent. Formal accountability structures and the oversight and political direction, or governance, of police are returned to in more detail in the next chapter, as the accounts are

140 

I. Shannon

sufficiently distinctive to be considered as a third category of explanation of the right to exercise power. But accountability that does not depend on formal oversight structures and political direction is dealt with in this chapter. Communicating encompassed chief officers holding effective conversations with their various publics, in which police listened as well as talked, whether this was in person or by other means. The difficulties encountered in this engagement and its efficacy will be turned to but first the claims are set out. CC CO7A’s comments are representative of the emphasis put on accountability and explanation: [the public] deserve to know the police are on their side … How do you do that? Well, you have got to have accountability, transparency—you’ve, kind of, got to get to know each other again. (C07A)

And CC CO5A stressed the importance of being open, particularly when things had gone wrong: retaining the reassurance of the public, sometimes referred to as the ‘consent’ behind policing. And to me in that, transparency is absolutely key. And it is not transparency around the things that we do well, it’s about the things that we do badly. (CO5A)

An ACC (CO15A) underlined the need to hold conversations with a range of people to provide parameters within which police should use power and this ACC contended that a more representative police work force might improve these conversations: We will always have difference and difference in how we apply the law … the only way we can ask about those things is by inviting the community into policing much more and for having a diverse—diverse representation in policing … the right to exercise power, is that we have to constantly walk a fine line between when that’s the right thing to do and when our community feels it’s over-powering or when there’s a perception that it is targeting a certain community … If we haven’t done the right thing, that we have a dialogue and are transparent and that we consider our practices and the impact that it has. (CO15A)

5  Policing by Consent 

141

And CC CO14A’s account (below) has echoes of Jefferson and Grimshaw’s (1984, p. 64) notion of police chiefs listening to ‘democratic audiences’ (the policed), the ‘statutory’ audience of the law, Home Office and police authorities (now PCCs) but also to an audience of police ‘occupational opinion’. I will go to local councils and deal with any question or scrutiny from them. So that they can reflect from their different areas, issues back to me. But I will also visit police stations and go walkabout and get a feel myself. (CO14A)

Along with accountability and transparency interviewees claimed that dialogue was crucial in building public consent to the exercise of power, reflecting Bottoms and Tankebe’s (2012) account of dialogic legitimacy. And these chief officers, as is discussed next, viewed local policing as a crucial component in this dialogue.

Neighbourhood/Community Policing When describing how dialogue with their publics was developed 14 of the 16 interviewees emphasised the role of community or neighbourhood policing. CC CO14A’s view was typical: It’s more about that embedding of neighbourhood policing into those areas so that—so that, actually, we can understand the community and then reflect those concerns … I mean there are different communities, whether they are geographical, linguistic … our PCs and PCSOs in those communities—you get a feel from them. (CO14A)

CC CO4A stressed the importance for consent of Peelian principles and of the role that neighbourhood policing plays in communicating with local people. Although, in common with other interviewees’ accounts, how Peelian principles guided police actions was not made clear:

142 

I. Shannon

it [policing by consent] goes back to Peelian principles … neighbourhood policing is the jewel in the crown … It is about connectivity. (CO4A)

Interviewees asserted that neighbourhood officers play an important practical and symbolic role and interviewees’ emphasis on the importance of local officers engaging with their publics to construct consent chimes with findings from the Independent Police Commission (2013). Yet, neighbourhood policing was being eroded whilst these interviews were being conducted, and HMIC (2017) warned that the number of officers and staff dedicated to neighbourhood policing was falling. This decline related not only to the number of officers and staff allocated to neighbourhoods but also to what they did (ibid.). Higgins (2018) found that there had been a shift from a focus on locality, engagement and problem solving, towards response policing and managing individuals. In part these changes can be seen as a response to the reductions in police funding introduced by the coalition government in 2010 following the financial crash in 2008. However, where these reductions fall within a police force and which aspects of police activity are given high or low priority are decisions for chief constables and PCCs, and both are likely to be influenced by the priorities of the UK government, and in Wales also by the Welsh government (although policing is not a devolved matter in Wales). Therefore, different choices could have been made by chief officers and PCCs and these choices could have been influenced by the UK government and to a lesser extent by the Welsh government. In practice neighbourhood policing appeared to have been given a lower priority than had been the case before 2010. This contrasts with the greater priority and increased resources that were being allocated to protecting vulnerable people, who as victims and/or offenders would often be those being ‘managed’ or policed (as was discussed in the previous chapter). And some of this management of vulnerable people (who it is contended could alternatively be framed as problem people) was being undertaken by the remaining neighbourhood officers and staff, at the expense of their previous focus on locality and public engagement (Higgins, 2018). Therefore, it is argued, the weakening of neighbourhood policing was a choice made by chief officers, PCCs and the Home Secretary. Arguably this poses a challenge to the rhetoric and practice of policing by consent,

5  Policing by Consent 

143

because, as was argued in the previous chapter, the semi-visible and ambiguous task of protecting the most vulnerable seems to be increasingly prioritised over some traditional and visible policing activities, such as local policing, road policing and dealing with acquisitive crime. These functions are symbolically important in dramatising the commitment of the state to maintaining order (Walker, 1996, p. 68; Wells, 2016) and hence to the construction of consent. This again illustrates a tension between justifications of the right to exercise police power based on a duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, and explanations rooted in consensual policing. But consent is not only measured and constructed by neighbourhood police, and the next section outlines and assesses interviewees’ accounts about other methods that they said they used to establish levels of consent, communicate with their publics and build consent.

Gauging and Building Consent All interviewees maintained that effective communication and consultation with their publics was a broad process that was not confined to local officers. There was a broad recognition that judgements about levels of consent and people’s requirements of police were often subjective. As DCC CO12A observed: the only real way you get a sense of that [people’s wants of police and levels of consent] is through your engagement. Both your personal engagement … [and] the quality of engagement that happens through your bit of business … It’s a very imperfect way of doing it because it is … a subjective judgement. (CO12A)

An ACC (CO10A) emphasised the use of mediated indicators of people’s concerns when making judgements about whether consent was being given: [consent to] the use of power … you’re testing the water, listening constantly to the mood music, you read the papers every day, listen to the

144 

I. Shannon

radio … The key bit at the moment is, are you actually tackling the issues they want you to tackle. (CO10A)

Another ACC (CO8A) stressed the importance of independent scrutiny, in conjunction with engagement, to construct consent and measure consent to the use of power: we’ve got an ethics committee that independently scrutinise our stop-­ searches …we’ve got a ride-along scheme [which was seldom used, checked by examining an HMIC report] … all that is about seeking to build our relationship with the public, so they are confident about what they do and trust that we can do it on their behalf. (CO8A)

Two interviewees suggested that independent advisory groups (IAGs) helped gauge consent and judge whether the use of police power was proportionate and legitimate. DCC CO9A highlighted the IAG’s role in reviewing police use of force by repeating a remark reportedly made by the chair of the IAG: You are the State and I need to ensure that you exercise all these vast range of powers that you have in a fair and proportionate way. (CO9A, quoting the IAG chair in the chief officer’s force)

Similarly, an ACC (CO11A) and a DCC (CO16A) reported that ‘Gold’ groups supporting the management of major events, involving senior police officers but also often representatives of partner agencies and sometimes other advisers, were used to check on the acceptability, not just legality, of the use of police power. Sometimes public panels could play a role in such scrutiny, and PCCs could facilitate this: We ask outsiders, as it were, to Gold meetings and to some of our planning meetings around public order events. We get that sense around what is acceptable. (CO11A) some of the fracking demonstrations that we’ve had recently … then XXX [the PCC] has brought in a public panel for us to explain that to—to scrutinise our plans. (CO16A)

5  Policing by Consent 

145

Inevitably the quality of this advice will be influenced by who is asked to provide it and by the objectivity and expertise of the adviser. However, a CC (CO6A) suggested that some objectivity can be achieved in gauging consent and understanding people’s requirements of police if systematic methods are used. This CC described how the force was trying to communicate more clearly with its publics, supported by a university, which helped design the approach and analyse the data: We are trialing … different styles of communication, so we use [name of software] to understand the demographic of our area … we are trialing, sort of, Facebook, Twitter, right down to low-tech post … I have the analysis of what’s the best way of finding out what is important to people and then telling them what’s been done and what has been the impact. (CO6A)

As CO6A indicates social media and digital methods seem to be playing an increasing role in the conversations that chief officers hope help build consent. And an ACC (CO10A) claimed: we are more able … to communicate with a wider public than we were ever able to do and that’s around the social media piece. (CO10A)

How much digital channels facilitate meaningful dialogue is unclear, although the same can arguably be said of more traditional consultative mechanisms. The extent to which the growth of digital conversations is motivated by effectiveness, rather than convenience and cost, was not clarified by this research. Increasing use of social media and digital communication may also, as Lee and McGovern (2014) argue, not simply be a benign attempt to engage with many people, it could represent an attempt to bypass the scrutiny of journalists to present a glossed and unmediated image of policing. Several interviewees sought to demonstrate the advantages of social media engagement by reference to the number of digital interactions. And quantitative attempts to gauge consent were not confined to analysis of social media. Surveys of public attitudes and other information about police/public interactions, which might provide partial and proxy

146 

I. Shannon

measures of consent, were also used. Some limitations of these approaches were recognised by a DCC (CO12A) and a CC (CO3A): Public attitude surveys—all this sort of stuff around public confidence. There’s satisfaction, which is not about consent but there are things which you can use as proxy measures … sometimes they become over weighted— the number of times you see people talking about complaints numbers as an indicator of confidence in police. Frankly, complaints numbers—the whole complaints process is so unsatisfactory, for the public as well as for us, that—how would you ever use that as a measure? (CO12A) there are all sorts of scientific ways with service users to determine [consent]—they do surveys, they do ‘you said—we did’ … they only capture well… where we have had a customer-supplier relationship with them—so a transactional type thing, not the general public. (CO3A)

Overall interviewees recognised that there are limits to the reliance that can be placed on the measures of consent they referenced, but most underplayed the difficulties in interpreting such data. Including problems associated with the relevance and reliability of surveys, most of which were victim surveys—which can be problematic and open to challenge, partly due to potential bias related to sampling, non-response, the respondent and the coder (Schwartz, 2000; Lyn & Elliot, 2000, p. 8). And general confidence data was largely gathered from people who may have had little, if any, recent contact with police. And where data was gathered from those who had contact with the police, as with the complaints data referenced by DCC CO12A, this is largely limited to people with the confidence to engage with the system. At best, it is contended, these metrics are problematic, partial and proxy measures of consent. These problems persist, it is suggested, if the concept of consent is stretched to include garnering mandates for specific police actions and uses of power, a development that Reiner (1991, p.  108) identified as starting to happen in the 1980s. This quest for specific mandates appears to have continued, as described by a DCC (CO12A) in relation to gaining consent for the increased use of stop and search powers:

5  Policing by Consent 

147

the only way we really get into issues of consent and the use of police powers is by actively engaging with, and listening to, the people it affects … if you take a broad view across the country, you’ll probably find stop and search is pretty well accepted … You go into some parts of any city, certainly, and you talk to some communities and their experience of stop and search is very different … We talked about ‘we are going to increase the use of stop and search’ … [but local police commanders] must gain a community mandate to do so. So, … we are actively seeking the consent of the community most affected, both in terms of the suspect population and the victim population, for our increased use of the tactic. (CO12A)

The public mandate that could be argued to underpin consent was sometimes linked with an appeal for the affected population to support the use of police power to protect people, coupled with assurances that such powers would be used ethically, as CC CO4A argued: Legitimacy is really about that mandate that you are given by those who you serve to do what you need to do to keep them safe … It is about attitudes and behaviours; it is about culture; it is about understanding that we have to be very professional in the way that we conduct ourselves. (CO4A)

Interviewees presented an array of options for gauging and developing consent to the exercise of police power. However, despite their overwhelming use of consensual policing as a justification for the use of police power, the impression was of subjective and ad hoc approaches to gauging and constructing consent, which may be increasingly inadequate if policing by consent extends to encompass a quest for explicit mandates for the use of power. It is arguably hard to see how, using the methods described by interviewees, meaningful assessments are made about whether supposed consent amounts to an informed mandate for uses of police power, or even to judge whether consent amounts to more than an absence of active and obvious resistance to the use of police power. Some interviewees were conscious of the difficulty of distinguishing informed consent from coerced compliance, and this problem is discussed next.

148 

I. Shannon

Informed Consent or Coerced Compliance? Four of the 16 interviewees considered that compliance born of habit, disinterest or fear of the potentially damaging consequences of active resistance risked being misinterpreted as active and informed consent. These accounts of compliance are like the ‘dull compulsion’ described by Carrabine (2004). These interviewees highlighted the potential for complacency amongst chief officers, induced by interpreting silence as consent, as ACC CO8A contended: you could argue that the absence of complaint and crisis is by implication a consent—it’s not is it because it doesn’t go far enough, does it? (CO8A)

Although another ACC (CO11A) appeared less concerned and seemed to be interpreting an absence of resistance and complaint as consent: you work on the basis that you probably won’t get a lot of feedback if it is okay because people don’t tend to. (CO11A)

DCC CO12A’s comments about how intimidating police can be and concerning the dynamics involved in stop and search suggest that dull compulsion or coerced compliance might be common: you have a murder somewhere and there is a community impact assessment and so often you see the thing says ‘yeah, no community issues—no community concerns.’ And you, kind of, go and say: ‘Okay, really, how do you know that?’ … ‘No-one has rung up and told me they are worried about it.’ Or ‘I’ve had a meeting with the great and the good across here and I’ve said this has happened and they say: “Okay, thanks for telling us”’… often we assume that we feel accessible because we are very happy to talk to anyone—anyone can pick up the phone and talk to us, which doesn’t necessarily recognise how impenetrable we are, often, how intimidating we can be … stop and search is difficult here because it is always … I don’t mean active resistance, but it is always unwelcome …That tells you something about the level of consent, even if it is amongst a relatively distinct part of the population—i.e., youth, usually—often minority youth. (CO12A)

5  Policing by Consent 

149

A CC (CO7A) suggested that compliance could result from fear; this may augment an argument to reinterpret a story of silent consent as partly one of coerced compliance: the test [of consent] then is if those people who don’t see us as legitimate, or we are concerned about their level of consent, so part of it is: do they ring 999 or 111; do they give physical resistance when we do need to arrest them? And actually, those rates are pretty low, even for people who have, probably, good personal reasons for not—not trusting us. And I guess some of that might be fear. (CO7A)

CC CO13A’s comment that people ‘just probably grow up here and accept it’ can be framed as compliance arising from habit, apathy or coercion—a prosaic version of Blake’s (1977) vision of ‘mind forg’d manacles’. The invocation of Peel and of the benevolent fictional police officer Dixon of Dock Green,1 who was rooted in his local community, alludes to the myth making involved with narratives of consent, which the CC wryly juxtaposed with the frequently disappointing experience of police/ public contact: I want to say, you know, it’s society that gives us the right to do that [use power] because they have signed up to—but then I think that’s probably far too active because most people just probably grow up here and accept it … you are brought up with the Dixon of Dock Green image of we are— Peel’s Principles … most people think we’re great, until they have a contact with us. (CO13A)

It was not clear how interviewees distinguished consent from dull compulsion or coerced compliance. In seeking to do so, debatably, the police should try hardest to understand those that they have the most adversarial contacts with, and it is how this is, or is not, achieved that is turned to next.

150 

I. Shannon

Listening to People with Little Power Several interviewees expressed significant concerns about the quality and extent of police engagement with people over whom power is frequently exercised, who might fall into the category of ‘police property’ (Lee, 1981, pp. 53–54), including marginalised people who may not attract much sympathy or support from wider groups within society; indeed, many people may approve of this exercise in control. Examples of those subject to these uses of police power include disadvantaged young men and minorities who are disproportionately arrested or stopped on the streets, who tend to be policed more than they are protected (Loader, 1996). CC CO14A said that the consent of people in these categories was not assessed: I am not sure we really test that consent [of those over whom power is frequently exercised] … there is some more way to go. (CO14A)

CC CO2A’s views were similar, and the CC noted that the PCC’s consultation did not fill this gap. CO2A’s observations suggest that chief officers and PCCs predominantly listen to the voices of the ‘great and the good’ and ‘deserving’ victims, or ‘us’ in terms of the dichotomy suggested by Girling et  al. (2000), whilst those whom police power is commonly directed at, ‘them’, are largely unheard: I think we’re very poor at that. I don’t think, as an organisation, we tend to seek to consult with the groups that you are referring to [those over whom power is more frequently exercised] and I don’t think [the PCC’s] consultation tends to get near that either, because very few of those people will turn up to the forums that he’s—he’s conducting … I can’t think of how we do that in any form of meaningful way … we tend to consult with the great and the good and those … that come into contact with us largely as victims. (CO2A)

Most interviewees suggested that engaging in these conversations was hard and some felt that it could be fruitless, as CC CO3A remarked:

5  Policing by Consent 

151

there are some sections of the public in a city like this—you are never going to get their consent. They are very challenging communities. So, none of it is simple. (CO3A)

Whilst most interviewees recognised that there was more to do in listening to those over whom power tends to be exercised, four of the 16 suggested that the police service had been on a journey, and more was being done to hear the voice of ‘them’. However, the examples provided mainly appeared to be improvised activities which would benefit from being part of a coherent and evidence-based approach. The initiatives also arguably fail to address Habermas’ (1976) critique of legitimating discourses where there is an inequality of arms in the conversation between people with power and their subordinates, which at best results in a false and fragile legitimacy. The following comments illustrate the type of initiatives raised. The example of listening to ‘them’ cited by ACC CO8A seemed to be a by-product of a one-off instrumental crime reduction initiative. CC CO6A’s example of a survey of detained people alludes to the resistance, within and without policing, to listening to ‘them’ but also hints at a legitimating narrative that distinguishes policing ‘now’ from policing ‘then’. I think we do do some stuff about young people … going back about two or three years … the PCC held a seminar of the public with young people. (CO8A). there’s been uproar about an exit survey in custody suites and sort of, what was the experience like for you? I joined an organisation that couldn’t—in the 1980s—that couldn’t care what that experience was like for you. (CO6A)

Most interviewees recognised that many conversations police hold, ostensibly to gauge or build consent, are shallow and that it is arguable whether widespread active consent can be identified. More focused and informed activities, such as those ‘based on principles of deliberative democracy and citizen participation’ (Virta & Branders, 2016, p. 1146), and a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques that are informed by credible research, might provide a better foundation for building consent to the

152 

I. Shannon

right of police to exercise power. But, other than CC CO6A (who provided an example of his force working with a local university to try to understand what people wanted from local police), no other examples of such approaches were mentioned by interviewees.2 It is contended that the work being done with a university in CO6A’s force, and similar initiatives, would benefit from being part of a wider evidence-based approach to gauging the extent to which there is consent to the use of police power, particularly amongst people who may consider themselves more often policed than protected. The chief officers who were interviewed also identified that fair processes were important in promoting consent to the use of police power, and these accounts are examined next.

Procedural Justice Procedural justice theory (Sunshine & Tyler, 2003; Hough & Maffei, 2013) was drawn on by half of the 16 interviewees, largely implicitly, as a process for building consent to the use of police power. CC CO7A emphasised the importance of consensual policing of police acting fairly and respectfully: being treated with respect at some level, treated fairly … even people who have ended up in the prison service, can recognise police officers as being ‘good’ people in a sense, in terms of the stuff that we would now talk about, in terms of procedural justice. (CO7A)

CC CO2A’s comment about the need for two-way communication with those over whom police power is exercised was also typical of the influence that procedural justice appeared to be having on interviewees’ understandings of the right to exercise power: [in the context of trying to reduce dangerous motorcycling] It was just about, we’re here to enforce the law and it was not about: let’s have a conversation with these people and understand what their motivations are, whether they want us to be doing this and how and also, how they feel

5  Policing by Consent 

153

about some of their colleagues [other motor cyclists] who are clearly giving them a bad name. (CO2A)

Seven of the 16 interviewees made a clear connection between fair use of power within police forces and how power is exercised over their publics, which is reminiscent of Greenberg’s (1987) discussion of organisational justice. And three interviewees referred approvingly to a study of organisational justice and its effects in Durham Constabulary (Bradford et al., 2014). CC CO5A emphasised the need to treat his staff fairly, not only as a good itself but also to encourage officers to act fairly and respectfully: I cannot expect my staff to behave differently with the public to how they are treated by the organisation. So, if they feel downtrodden, unfair, bullied that is the way that they will treat the public … behaviour breeds behaviour. (CO5A)

Procedural justice research alone does not provide a template for securing legitimacy and a right to exercise power and it can be challenged, as it may not work in low-trust environments where security is a significant concern for many people (Goldsmith, 2005). It can also be counterproductive when working with minority groups, who may see it as insincere (Murphy & Cherney, 2012). However, the influence of procedural justice research on chief officers’ understandings of the right of police to exercise power might be viewed as benign and has the virtue of having an evidence base, although the concerns of Goldsmith (2005) and Murphy and Cherney (2012) need to be weighed in the balance, as do the reservations expressed about the limitations of the survey data supporting the research (Sindall et al., 2012) and concerning causality (Jackson et al., 2012). And Vitale (2017) argues that procedural justice approaches can be pointless, if it amounts to politicians telling the police to be friendly, whilst the political direction given to the police leads to them inappropriately coercing their publics. Yet, interviewees voiced support for the key principles of procedural justice, emphasising respect, fair treatment, conversations and trust. So far, this chapter has considered what consensual policing means to chief officers, how they gauge consent and listen to the voices of their

154 

I. Shannon

publics and how they treat people to construct consent. This research also sought to gain insights into chief officers’ understandings of the right of police to exercise power by examining their accounts of withdrawn consent, and these are turned to next.

Withdrawn Consent All interviewees provided accounts of withdrawn consent and most considered that consent is a precious but precarious asset. Most interviewees emphasised delegitimating issues that had arisen early in their careers before they had risen to senior rank and a few examples predated them joining the police. But some chief officers also expressed anxieties about aspects of contemporary policing that might undermine consent. Three of the 16 interviewees raised current concerns about the consequences for consent of how police have maintained order and protected companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas (fracking). This could be construed as police supporting the economic priorities of some powerful companies and the government, at the expense of the environmental concerns of many people with less power. These concerns arguably reflect a misalignment of values and priorities between people with power and their subordinates, which Beetham (1991) contends undermines legitimacy. The policing of fracking protests can also be argued to challenge interviewees’ assertions that police are prioritising the protection of the vulnerable, as using significant resources to, in effect, protect companies involved in fracking (although the stated aim might be to maintain order) does not readily fit this narrative. ACC CO8A was concerned about the potentially delegitimating consequences of the policing of fracking protests: I do have some underlying concerns about policing protests and—and, you know, if—the stuff that we are doing nationally around fracking … Because … I’m pretty confident you would get a high return to say it’s bad for the environment. Yet, we are seen as central to enabling it to happen. (CO8A)

5  Policing by Consent 

155

CC CO7A was anxious about the quasi-military impression given by some officers. CC CO13A was also concerned about the protective equipment now routinely carried by police, which could also be viewed as offensive, and the implications this has for consent. These comments have echoes of Sir Robert Mark’s (1977) stress on the symbolic importance of a largely unarmed police force and on minimising coercion when building consent: when you see a photograph of six black lads being searched by ten white cops, it just looks like an army of occupation. (CO7A) the whole use of force thing and the arming, and their Taser and … more of us are wearing guns … people don’t feel comfortable with it. (CO13A)

CC CO14A was anxious about the consequences of some features of contemporary policing and argued that in constructing consent there were lessons to be learned from earlier examples of withdrawn consent, particularly when dealing with competing interests and the associated delegitimating consequences of some sectors of the population feeling that they are not being served by the police: in more recent times, wind farm developments in XXXX—how that still might play out in terms of what is our role in doing this and then, of course, we have issues, generally in other areas, in industrial disputes and employer relations. And we only have to cast our minds back to things like the miners’ strike … the whole policing by consent thing can break down if … there is a distinct feeling there that the police were not their police. (CO14A)

The impact of withdrawn consent resulting from the 1984 to 1985 miners’ strike also worried other interviewees. CC CO1A and DCC CO12A spoke about the miners’ strike and CO12A also commented on the delegitimating consequences of another 1980s industrial dispute, during which, CO12A contended, police were inappropriately used by the government, although CO12A considered the police were complicit in the coercion (details of the dispute are withheld to protect anonymity):

156 

I. Shannon

I had no concept of the damage we were doing to communities during that miners’ strike. I was solely focused on the fact that my salary, which was £300 a month was going up to £800 … nobody ever talked to me about social policy, social interaction … with very little consideration by sergeants, inspectors or even more senior, about the social impact. (CO1A) Miners’ strike—that’s hugely symbolic for me—I was a PC then. I think it was shameful … did a couple of tours … hated it. … XXXX [industrial dispute], I was a Sergeant then … the way we were used in that, I didn’t like. … but we were willingly used. (CO12A)

The miners’ strike was only one example of interviewees’ anxieties about withdrawn consent and the potential for the past to haunt the present. The policing of disorder and industrial disputes was a recurring theme. The examples below highlight interviewees’ concerns about managing competing interests and maintaining legitimacy. They were particularly anxious about police as agents of state power in conflict with the interests of local people. However, they tended to distance policing now from earlier crises of consent. Some continuing controversies were positioned as products of the past, as DCC CO9A did in relation to abuses of power involving undercover policing, to failures to investigate child abuse and to protect victims of such abuse. CC CO4A and CC CO2A emphasised examples of withdrawn consent from the 1980s—which they contended involved police being used illegitimately as an instrument of coercive state power—rather than providing more recent examples. We are, as a service, having to deal with a lot of legacy issues: undercover policing, child abuse enquiries. (CO9A) One of the few times in my career—1981 and 1985 [disorders]—when I felt like we had not got things right and actually I did feel like we were a bit of a ‘tool of the state’ … we were in a very unsavoury conflict sort of relationship with the communities. (CO4A) In the miners’ strike or some of the [industrial dispute] protests … the notion of having consent for what we were doing, was long out of the window in my view and we were there to suppress people. (CO2A)

5  Policing by Consent 

157

Public order policing, including the policing of industrial disputes, was a common concern. However, five of the 16 interviewees suggested that there had been improvements in public order policing, in part based on greater engagement with the public through neighbourhood policing but also in improved planning and tactics. This reflects Waddington’s (2017) finding that relatively new approaches, such as use of police liaison teams, have improved public order policing. The comments from CC CO7A and CC CO4A are representative of the interviewees claiming improvements in approaches to policing disorder and to building bridges with some disengaged and distrusting publics through local policing: we went through an era where we saw public order policing as successfully dealing with mass outbreaks of disorder, rather than planning, negotiating so that we didn’t have any mass disorder … there has been a mind-shift and some people have left, which has enabled change. (CO7A) the riots [1981 and 1985] and the miners’ dispute … we were moving away from what a service would want to have by having a relationship with these communities which is based on consent, which does engender trust and confidence and I just felt it was so confrontational … it was going to take a long time for those wounds to heal … it took, I think, the introduction of neighbourhood policing, round about 2005-6-7, to really begin to build those bridges again. (CO4A)

The 2011 disorders were not identified by any interviewees as withdrawals of consent, indeed CC CO3A suggested that the policing of these disorders could be seen as evidence of many people’s consent to and support for the use of police power: when the riots broke out in 2011, the public at XXXX mobilised in our support. They came out and tried to mediate with youths, they took to the streets alongside us, they fed and watered our staff. (CO3A)

There were also elements of what might be considered routine local policing where interviewees identified a break down in consent to the use of police power, but again these were distanced in time, as illustrated by CC CO7A:

158 

I. Shannon

years ago, in XXXX, I had had a couple of days off and had come back to find them [more junior police officers] planning this, kind of, major operation to basically, kind of, harass and then evict some travellers from a site— which was basically because local residents had rung up and said that they didn’t like them there because they are all thieves. I don’t think we had had any crime reported but you looked at it and I went ‘Whoa’ because that was racially motivated use of police powers in my view. (CO7A)

CO7A’s example from ‘years ago’ fits what appears to be a broadly shared construction of the past and present amongst interviewees. ‘Then’ was generally framed as an era where there was less consent and more coercion, and these examples predate the periods when interviewees held senior rank. ‘Now’ was portrayed more benignly, with police tending to act with greater consent and legitimacy. Three of the 16 interviewees mentioned the influence of roads policing enforcement on consent, perhaps surprisingly few given that it is an exercise of power that affects many people and frequently involves adversarial contacts with people who might otherwise be categorised as members of a generally law-abiding ‘us’ (Corbett, 2008). DCC CO9A seemed bemused by the intensity of the negative reaction to an enforcement approach that seemed to save lives, again illustrating tensions between narratives of consent and protection: the force’s reputation was damaged by some of that about whether that [roads policing enforcement] was proportionate. I look back and when I was [earlier rank] XX–XX people died on roads in [Force area]. It is now XX—it is a lot less … We did change behaviour out there but there was a lot of damage. (CO9A)

Withdrawn consent can relate to the failure to use power effectively, as well as to contested use of power, although this issue was only directly raised by DCC CO12A, who used the failed investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 as an example. CO12A’s comments also point to the part that incompetence, corruption and racism can play in undermining police legitimacy:

5  Policing by Consent 

159

an utterly failure of investigation that let [it] down—so it was the non-­ exercise of power, wasn’t it? There is still a debate around what role corruption played in that—absolutely glossed over in the Lawrence Inquiry … it was so focused on racism; I don’t think they wanted to get distracted anywhere else. (CO12A)

A quarter of the interviewees described the relatively recent delegitimating behaviours of some former chief officers, which along with examples about the policing of fracking and windfarms, did not fit the pattern of painting a positive picture of ‘now’. The comments from CC CO6A and DCC CO12A are representative. I can think of a chief that is no longer working … who blurred the lines between probably what wasn’t acceptable in your private life anyway with—and they forget that we are in a very privileged position in society and that comes with constraints on—on you [referring to the author’s former position as a chief officer], me and our families. And because you are in the public spotlight, to think that you can act in a way—an inappropriate way, then you are just naïve in extreme. (CO6A) The feeling of invulnerability that grew up—the feeling that ‘because of who I am, or what I am—and/or what I am, I can do this and who is going to question me?’ Whether that’s ‘I choose to go there’ with ‘whatever arrangements are made for payment’, ‘I choose to accept this’, ‘I make this decision’, ‘I listen to these people’, ‘I don’t listen to these people’ … clearly was not sustainable. … That, kind of, living in a bubble thing and becoming out of touch with the rest of the world really—the rest of the organisation. (CO12A)

CO12’s comments on a sense of invulnerability and entitlement echo the concerns that Young (1958) raised in his vision of a riven society resulting from the dominance of arrogant meritocrats (meritocracy was a term coined by Young, which was intended to be pejorative), who not only had power but felt that they were entitled to their positions and privileges due to their success in passing exams and jumping through hoops to reach the top. Consequently, they resented and rejected challenge, leading to conflict and dystopian consequences. A similar argument has been

160 

I. Shannon

made much more recently by Wooldridge (2021), who proposes that contemporary meritocracy is effectively an illusion, with parental influence and resources and consequent educational and career opportunities, being more important determinants of success than any worth based on talent, intellect or hard work; yet those who are successful tend to feel they are deserving and entitled. And their powerful positions are entrenched by a tendency to mix with and marry people of similar social backgrounds. Caless (2011) describes the many obstacles that chief officers negotiate to reach the top. And, as shown in Chap. 3, contemporary chief officers tend to be academic high achievers from socially advantaged backgrounds. But the risks of meritocratic arrogance may have been mitigated by many chief officers recognising the delegitimating consequences of the unacceptable behaviour of some of their peers, including the mistaken feelings of invulnerability that DCC CO12 described. This, alongside a wider history of withdrawn consent, may have contributed to interviewees being increasingly careful about the use of power. This could partly explain the possible re-emergence of a more measured approach amongst chief officers, like the transition from outspoken chief officers in the 1980s to more cautious chief officers in the 1990s, as described by Loader and Mulcahy (2001a, 2001b). Scandals involving chief officers may also have fuelled interviewees’ anxieties about their legitimacy and personal precariousness, which are returned to in the next chapter. Interviewees’ accounts of withdrawn consent tended to emphasise examples that were distanced by time and there was a pattern of constructing a more coercive ‘then’ and a more consensual ‘now’. Strong themes related to the delegitimating consequences of the policing of disorder and industrial disputes. However, some more recent anxieties about legitimacy were raised, including concerns about the policing of fracking, and more strongly about the poor behaviour of some officers, including chief officers. Interviewees also expressed concerns about chief officers’ involvement in aspects of performance management, which arguably led to the use of power that undermined consent, and these accounts are examined next.

5  Policing by Consent 

161

Police Performance Management and Consent Interviewees were asked about the relationship between police performance management and consent; this led to 13 of the 16 providing more reports of withdrawn consent. There are similarities between these accounts and those that Caless (2011) uncovered, which revealed damaged relationships between chief officers, the Home Office and HMIC, which were associated with New Public Management. New Public Management was introduced to the public sector, including the police, in the 1980s to improve organisations’ performance by using techniques more widely employed in the private sector, including an emphasis on performance as measured against centrally imposed quantitative targets (Stallion & Wall, 1999). As with Caless’ (2011) interviewees, some of those interviewed for this book saw central government as being at least as culpable as chief officers in failing to control the negative consequences of this form of management, as CC CO3A noted: it all came from Government. You know, the Centre tells you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, now we’re going to measure you, now we’re going to put you in a league table: ‘Ooh look, you’re bottom—now we’re going to kick you’. That’s the way the system worked. And that had a direct impact on the public. (CO3A)

Another CC (CO14A) suggested that the aim of the government-led performance approach was to benefit the public, but the consequences were to distance the police from their publics, an observation also made by Cooper (2021): the intention behind the numbers was right, the use of them, I think, was not right and took the police officers—police service away from the public. (CO14A)

An example provided by some interviewees was New Labour Government’s Street Crime Initiative, launched in 2002, which aimed to reduce street robbery in areas with the highest levels of these crimes. Machin and Olivier (2011) found that robbery did fall in street crime initiative sites,

162 

I. Shannon

compared with similar places that did not attract the additional funding and focus. However, three interviewees suggested that this initiative partly undermined policing by consent. CC CO13A associated it with disproportionate use of police powers: The Street Crime [Initiative] example is a really good example where there was immense and incredible pressure around one particular crime type, which definitely drove a certain approach and certain types of behaviour … how driven that was through Government and Section 60 [a contentious stop and search power provided by the Public Order Act 1986] usage and things. So, very indiscriminate, invasive use of policing powers and the kind of pressure being applied that clearly impacted significantly on the XXXX community [a minority group] … we ended up with … significant disorder because of that. (CO13A)

Interviewees did not confine their comments about quantitative and target-­based performance management approaches to specific initiatives. CC CO6A noted the potential delegitimating effects: in the pursuit of raw numbers, you can end up completely distancing yourself from the population that you are there to police. (CO6A)

Another CC (CO5A) identified the potentially perverse influence of these performance regimes on police management styles, and consequently on the exercise of police discretion and on how police power is used: We have been through the Dennis O’Connor [former HMCIC and CC] years of the reds and greens and where are our targets and what are our percentages and are we hitting the target or not. And I think what is now universally accepted is it leads to some really perverse behaviours, such as we’ll put a filter cordon across the High Street on a Friday night until we have got ten cannabis hits and then we don’t have to do it for the rest of the month because we have hit our quota. That’s not healthy, that’s not good, that’s not discretion. We have seen bullying performance management of—and a phraseology, certainly in this force before my time was ‘blood on

5  Policing by Consent 

the carpet’—type growth. (CO5A)

language,

around

‘driving’

performance

163

and

Despite the tendency to distance in time most of the examples of lost consent, some interviewees did recognise that they had contributed to these types of performance regime. CC CO2A reflected on his/her career and on the damage that he/she thought his/her earlier forceful performance management style had inflicted: at different points in my tenure as Deputy Chief Constable, [I was] very, very robust at managing performance, in a way that was not, on occasion, constructive … I left—left some casualties behind. (CO2A)

Some interviewees claimed this approach that had largely gone, as DCC CO9A noted: ten years ago, we were in a very different regime where behaviours were impacted adversely by the targets. (CO9A)

The predominant view was that performance management has evolved positively and that many of the negative aspects and perverse behaviours have been mitigated. This may indicate a potential change in the approach of chief officers to the exercise of power and a recognition that more cautious and considered styles are needed to build consent. However, it can also be interpreted as contributing to a narrative of better ‘now’ than ‘then’. But some interviewees were concerned that the negative features of blunt quantitative approaches performance management could return, particularly due to the influence of the Crime and Police Monitoring Group at the Home Office (now, in effect, replaced by the scrutiny applied by the Home Secretary and HMICFRS through the National Policing Board), and the associated process of engagement with the Home Office and HMIC, including the ladder of interventions used to put pressure on chief officers and PCCs, in forces that were perceived— by the Home Office and HMIC—to be in danger of failing. As CC CO6A warned:

164 

I. Shannon

A few colleagues, sort of, said: ‘We’re not going to look at performance.’ But HMIC were and the Home Office were, and they ended up on the naughty step and the ladder of interventions. (CO6A)

Developments since the interviews were conducted suggested that a similarly potentially damaging form of centralised performance management and measures is re-emerging, which will lead to police forces being ranked (Higgins, 2021). This might lead to illiberal and coercive policing activity, in pursuit of the Home Secretary’s agenda of a ‘relentless focus on cutting crime’, which includes tracking progress against a basket of government set performance measures (Hamilton & Dathan, 2021). But it may also be naïve to think that there might have been earlier periods of sophisticated and enlightened performance management prior to the emergence of New Public Management, as CC CO1A recalled: when I joined, my sergeant expected me to have a dozen bookings a day. … So, I used to stand on XXXX in XXXX and book everyone that came out of the no left turn. They were people like me and you who had made a mistake. I booked them all. My sergeant got his 12 bookings. And I became quite ruthless. Is that what we want from our police? (CO1A)

This example pre-dated New public Management, so it is reasonable to ask to what extent this is a persistent adverse aspect of police management culture or cultures, although this is a question left for future research. However, not all interviewees were overly critical of quantitative and target-based performance management. Half talked in some detail about a journey, from a blunt quantitative style, which had benefits as well as problems, to a more sophisticated approach, which uses qualitative methods in conjunction with carefully considered quantitative indicators, rather than targets. As DCC CO12A asserted, ‘it was a journey we needed to make’. CC CO1A was typical of these interviewees, noting that despite the problems some benefits had come from a heavily quantitative approach, although the claim linking crime reduction with New Public Management is not tested here:

5  Policing by Consent 

165

In the 1990s, we moved to New Public Management, which was league tables, targets, numbers … We got completely driven by a numbers game, not all bad because actually, crime did come down. (CO1A)

The extent to which the apparent evolution in managing performance from a quantitative to more qualitative approach was the result of the Home Office setting an agenda3 that chief officers followed, as opposed to the Home Office facilitating changes that chief officers wished to make, is not clear. And the role played by police authorities or PCCs in this process is also indistinct and was rarely mentioned in the interviews. CC CO2A linked these changes to the claimed new emphasis on vulnerability: In terms of performance reviews that we do, therefore there is more focus around vulnerability and risk and what—what the areas are doing to, for example, support the focus around child sexual exploitation. (CO2A)

Performance management approaches associated with New Public Management were identified, by most interviewees, as contributing to withdrawals of consent to the use of police power. Recent reported changes to styles of performance management may indicate that chief officers are adopting a more cautious approach to the use of power both within and outside the police organisation. But it could also be part of a construction of a largely consensual ‘now’, in contrast to a less legitimate ‘then’. The main elements of all these accounts of how consent is won and withheld are now drawn together to illuminate how chief police officers understand the right of police to exercise power.

Conclusion Interviewees used the arguably amorphous concept of policing by consent to justify the right of police to exercise power. In explaining consent, they stressed the importance of minimal coercion, the rule of law and values police share with wider society. Most of their accounts of consensual policing also encompassed a symbolic commitment to protect

166 

I. Shannon

people. This was evident in the Peelian myths they called on, which are partly based on questionable assumptions about societal consensus, and this reflects a broader challenge for consensual policing (Emsley, 2014, p. 17). These legitimating narratives conveniently minimise the inevitably controlling and coercive functions of the police (Bittner, 1974; Brodeur, 2007). Broad themes were set out but, overall, interviewees’ explanations of consensual policing and of how it contributed to or explained the right of police to exercise power appeared unclear. This was partly due to the range of issues that they covered when talking about policing by consent, which may reflect the wide and indistinct scope of the concept. But it was also because they struggled to explain how they identified if consent was present and how this differed from coerced compliance. Some chief officers recognised the challenges posed to narratives of consent by the increased display of defensive equipment by police, by anxieties about managing competing demands and recurring crises of legitimacy, notably those provoked by the behaviour of police officers, including chief officers. Interviewees agreed that dialogue with their publics was crucial to continued consent and that neighbourhood officers played an important role in this; yet, as the research was being conducted, the number of these officers reduced and concerns were being expressed about the future of neighbourhood policing (HMIC, 2017; Higgins, 2018). Dialogue with the publics the police serve is not confined to neighbourhood officers. But when interviewees were asked how these conversations were conducted and how consent was gauged and built, the approaches described largely seemed ad hoc and inadequate, notably when the notion of consensual policing was expanded to include seeking mandates for specific exercises of police power. Some interviewees recognised that there was a risk of an absence of obvious resistance being interpreted as consent. Yet it was not clear how these chief officers distinguished active consent from coerced compliance, or ‘dull compulsion’ rooted in habit, apathy or fear (Carrabine, 2004, p. 180). And most interviewees recognised that processes used to listen to the voices of ‘them’ (marginalised people over whom police power is frequently exercised) were inadequate and that the voices of ‘them’ tended to be drowned out by the clamour of ‘us’, or of ‘deserving victims’ and the ‘great and the good’.

5  Policing by Consent 

167

Issues relating to the fair use of power, respect and constructive conversations were raised when interviewees deployed, sometimes explicitly, the main tenets of procedural justice theory to explain how consent could be won. Procedural justice seems to have influenced chief officers’ understandings of the right to exercise, and its emphasis on fairness, respect and dialogue may resonate with their generally liberal tendencies, which were discussed in Chap. 3. Accounts of withdrawn consent were provided by interviewees and the mishandled policing of disorder and industrial disputes were common themes. Underlying such accounts were anxieties about misalignment of values and priorities between the police and the public. Ideological concerns about police being used as coercive tools of the state were also voiced, though this tension may be inevitable, as police embody the power of the state to protect and control. In accounts of the policing of contentious recent issues, such as fracking and windfarms, the threat posed to consent by competing interests was in the foreground. The emergence of a narrative of protecting the most vulnerable as a justification for the right to use power might also pose a challenge to consensual policing, as many people may have alternative priorities for the use of police power. Another strand of accounts of withdrawn consent related to the adverse effects on legitimacy of quantitative performance management approaches associated with New Public Management. Most interviewees contended that perverse outcomes often flowed from this style of management and consequently consent was diminished. However, many interviewees claimed that performance management was now, generally, more sophisticated and that this contributed to a more considered approach to the use of power, inside and outside the police organisation. But concerns were expressed about the potential for the re-emergence of blunt quantitative performance regimes, which could encourage excessively coercive police conduct, potentially leading to widespread withdrawals of consent. Recent developments in Home Office–led police performance management arguably reinforce these concerns (Hamilton & Dathan, 2021; Higgins, 2021). The discussions of withdrawn consent, including performance management, seemed to reveal a construction, by most interviewees, of a relatively benign consensual and cohesive ‘now’ contrasting with a more coercive ‘then’, when these chief police officers

168 

I. Shannon

would not have held the command positions that they occupied when interviewed. It can be argued that policing by consent is a manufactured legitimating myth but that does not mean that it has no consequences for how chief police officers, and other police ranks and grades, think and behave, which in turn affects wider society (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, pp. 67–68). Policing by consent clearly influenced the understandings of the right to exercise power held by interviewees. However, the concept is challenged by the difficulty of achieving consensus on policing issues. Demands on the use of police power compete and chief officers are unable to escape the role of police in representing the power of the state, particularly its coercive capacity. Recurring concerns about legitimacy also bring into question the extent of public consent, and it is contended that chief officers should do more to gauge and increase the levels of consent to the use of police power, particularly amongst people who may be more policed than protected. However, policing by consent should not be viewed in isolation. And interviewees deployed policing by consent as a justification for the use of power alongside arguments about protecting people, particularly the most vulnerable, as was shown in the last chapter. They also emphasised the importance of law and of the formal oversight and political direction of police in bolstering legitimacy, and these accounts are addressed in the next chapter.

Notes 1. Dixon of Dock Green was a BBC police procedural TV series that ran from 1955 to 1976. 2. Although, since the interviews the N8 Policing Research Partnership, involving eight universities in collaboration with police forces and PCCs across the North of England, has started exploring innovative options, including deliberative democracy and Citizen Jury events under the Public Engagement Strand of the partnership, led by Dr. Liz Turner at the University of Liverpool, https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/sociology-­social-­ policy-­and-­criminology/research/research-­projects/policing/ Accessed 19/04/2021.

5  Policing by Consent 

169

3. After the 2010 election, the incoming coalition government removed the remaining quantitative targets for police set by the outgoing New Labour Government; although quantitative measures, which in effect create police force league tables, have now been reintroduced (Higgins, 2021).

References Alderson, J. (1984). Law and disorder. Hamish Hamilton. Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs’ Council. (2016). Policing Vision 2025. Retrieved April 8, 2021, from http:// www.npcc.police.uk/documents/Policing%20Vision.pdf Beetham, D. (1991). The legitimation of power. Macmillan. Bittner, E. (1974). Florence nightingale in pursuit of Willie Sutton: A theory of the police. In H. Jacob (Ed.), The potential for reform of criminal justice. Sage. Blake, W. (1977). Songs of experience: London. In K. Ostriker (Ed.), William Blake: The complete poems (p. 143). Penguin Classics. Bottoms, A. E., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: A dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102(1), 119–170. Bowling, B., Reiner, R., & Sheptycki, J. (2019). The politics of the police (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. Bradford, B., Jackson, J., & Hough, M. (2014). Police futures and legitimacy: Redefining good policing. In J.  Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 79–100). Routledge. Brewer, J. D., Wilford, R., Hume, I., & Moxon-Browne, E. (1996). The police, public order and the state: Policing in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, the USA, Israel, South Africa and China. Palgrave Macmillan. Brodeur, J.-P. (2007). An encounter with Egon Bittner. Crime, Law and Social Change, 48(1), 105–132. Caless, B. (2011). Policing at the top: The roles, values and attitudes of chief police officers. The Policy Press. Carrabine, E. (2004). Power, resistance and discourse: A genealogy of the Strangeways prison riot. Ashgate. Cook, K. (2001). Trust in Society. In K. Cook (Ed.), Trust in society (pp. xi– xxviii). Russell Sage.

170 

I. Shannon

Cooper, S. (2021). Police and crime commissioners: A dislocated expectation? Policing: A Journal of Police and Practice. On line first, Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://academic.oup.com/policing/advance-­article/doi/10.1093/ police/paab012/6253137?searchresult=1 Corbett, C. (2008). Roads policing: Current context and imminent dangers. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 2(1), 131–142. Emsley, C. (2014). Peel’s principles, police principles. In J.  Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 11–22). Routledge. Giddens, A. (1994). Beyond left and right—The future of radical politics. Polity Press. Girling, E., Loader, I., & Sparks, R. (2000). Crime and social change in middle England. Routledge. Goldsmith, A. (2005). Police reform and the problem of trust. Theoretical Criminology, 9(4), 443–468. Greenberg, J. (1987). A taxonomy of organizational justice theories. Academy of Management Review, 12, 9–22. Habermas, J. (1976). Legitimation crisis. Heinemann Educational Books. Hamilton, F., and Dathan, M. (2021, April 22). Priti Patel plans police league tables as serious crime crackdown starts. The Times. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-­league-­tables-­planned-­as-­ serious-­crime-­crackdown-­starts-­3t587397k Higgins, A. (2018). The future of neighbourhood Policing. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from http://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2017/wp-­content/uploads/2010/ 10/TPFJ6112-­Neighbourhood-­Policing-­Report-­WEB.pdf Higgins, A. (2021). Crime targets are back, what’s the plan Bob? Retrieved June 17, 2021, from http://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2021/04/crime-­targets-areback-­whats-­the-­plan-­bob/?mc_cid=04bf2ee30b&mc_eid=132f5259fe HMIC. (2005). Closing the Gap: A review of the ‘fitness for purpose’ of the current structure of policing in England and Wales. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/media/closing-­t he-­ gap-­20050911.pdf HMIC. (2017). State of Policing—The annual assessment of Policing in England and Wales 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­c ontent/uploads/state-­o f-­p olicing-­2 016-­ double-­page.pdf HMICFRS. (2021). The Sarah Everard Vigil—An inspection of the metropolitan Police Service’s policing of a vigil held in commemoration of Sarah Everard on Clapham common on Saturday 13 March 2021. Retrieved April 10, 2021,

5  Policing by Consent 

171

from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publication-­html/ inspection-­metropolitan-­police-­services-­policing-­of-­vigil-­commemorating-­ sarah-­everard-­clapham-­common/ Hobbes, T. (1968 [1651]). Leviathan, or the matter, forme & power of a Commonwealth ecclesiasticall and Civil. Pelican Books. Home Office. (2008). From the neighbourhood to the national: Policing our communities together. Cm. 7448. Retrieved April 8, 2021, from https://assets. publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_ data/file/229019/7448.pdf Home Office. (2012). Definition of policing by consent. Retrieved April 8, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/policing-­by-­consent Hough, M., & Maffei, S. (2013). Trust in Justice: Thinking about legitimacy. Criminology in Europe: The Newsletter of the European Society of Criminology, 2, 4–10. Independent Police Commission. (2013). Policing for a Better Britain: Report of the Independent Police Commission. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https:// www.researchgate.net/publication/303873773_Policing_for_a_Better_ B r i t a i n _ R e p o r t _ o f _ t h e _ I n d e p e n d e n t _ Po l i c e _ C o m m i s s i o n / link/5759888d08ae9a9c954f06d1/download Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Hough, M., Myhill, A., Quinton, P., & Tyler, T. R. (2012). Why do people comply with the law? Legitimacy and the influence of legal institutions. British Journal of Criminology, 52(6), 1051–1071. Jefferson, T., & Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the constable. Frederick Muller Limited. Lee, J. A. (1981). Some structural aspects of police deviance in relations with minority groups. In C.  Shearing (Ed.), Organizational Police Deviance. Butterworth. Lee, M., & McGovern, A. (2014). Policing and media: Public relations, simulations and communications. Routledge. Lentz, S.  A., & Chaires, R.  H. (2007). The invention of Peel’s principles: A study of policing “textbook” history. Journal of Criminal Justice, 35(1), 69–79. Loader, I. (1996). Youth, policing and democracy. Macmillan. Loader, I. (2020). Revisiting the Police mission. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/insight_paper_2.pdf Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001a). The power of legitimate naming: Part 1. British Journal of Criminology, 41(1), 41–55. Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001b). The power of legitimate naming: Part II. British Journal of Criminology, 41(2), 252–265.

172 

I. Shannon

Lyn, P., & Elliot, D. (2000). The British Crime Survey: A review of methodology. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov. uk/20110218141901/http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/bcs-­ methodology-­review-­2000.pdf Machin, S., & Olivier, M. (2011). Crime and police resources: The street crime initiative. Journal of the European Economic Association, 9(4), 678–701. Manning, P. K. (2014). Policing: Privatizing and changes in the policing web. In J. M. Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 23–39). Routledge. Mark, R. (1977). Policing a perplexed society. George Allen & Unwin. Murphy, K., & Cherney, A. (2012). Understanding cooperation in a diverse society. British Journal of Criminology, 52(1), 181–201. Murray, K., & Harkin, D. (2017). Policing in cool and hot climates: Legitimacy, power and the rise and fall of mass stop and search in Scotland. British Journal of Criminology, 57(4), 885–905. Oliver, I. (1987). Police government and accountability. The Macmillan Press. Police Foundation. (2020). Public safety and security in the 21st century: The first report of the strategic review of Policing in England and Wales. Retrieved September 8, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/ phase_1_report_final-­1.pdf Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Reiner, R. (2010). The politics of the police (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. Reith, C. (1943). British police and the democratic ideal. Oxford University Press. Reith, C. (1956). A new study of police history. Oliver and Boyd. Roycroft, M. (2016). Police chiefs in the UK: Politicians, HR managers or cops? Palgrave Macmillan. Savage, S., Charman, S., & Cope, S. (2000). Policing and the powers of persuasion. Blackstone Press. Scarman, L.  G. (1981). The Brixton disorders 10th–12th April. A report of an inquiry by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Scarman OBE. Cmnd 8427. HMSO. Schwartz, M.  D. (2000). Methodological issues in the use of survey data for measuring and characterising violence against women. Violence Against Women, 6(8), 815–838. Sindall, K., Sturgis, P., & Jennings, W. (2012). Public confidence in the police: A time-series analysis. British Journal of Criminology, 52(4), 744–764. Stallion, S., & Wall, D. (1999). The British police: Police forces and chief officers 1829–2000. Police History Society. Sunshine, J., & Tyler, T. R. (2003). The role of procedural justice and legitimacy in shaping public support for policing. Law and Society Review, 37(3), 513–576.

5  Policing by Consent 

173

Van Dijk, K.  A., Hoogenwoning, F., & Punch, M. (2015). What matters in policing. Polity Press. Virta, S., & Branders, M. (2016). Legitimate security. British Journal of Criminology, 56(6), 1146–1164. Vitale, A. S. (2017). The end of policing. Verso. Waddington, D. (2017). Police liaison approaches to managing political protest: A critical analysis of a prominent UK example. In S.  Bayerl, R.  Karlovic, B. Akhgar, & G. Makarian (Eds.), Community policing a European perspective: Strategies, best practices and guidelines (pp. 83–98). Springer. Walker, N. (1996). Defining Core police tasks: The neglect of the symbolic dimension? Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, 6(1), 53–71. Wells, H. (2016). PCCs, roads policing and the dilemmas of increased democratic accountability. British Journal of Criminology, 56(2), 274–292. Wolff Olins. (1988). A force for change: A report on the corporate identity of the metropolitan police. Wolff Olins. Wooldridge, A. (2021). The aristocracy of talent: How meritocracy made the modern world. Allen Lane. Young, M. (1958). The rise of the meritocracy. Transaction Publishers.

6 Law and Governance

This chapter contributes to the arguments presented in this book, and to wider debates about police legitimacy, by using interviewees’ accounts of the effects of the law and the structures and processes of governance on them to examine the implications this has for police legitimacy. Specifically, attention is paid to the influence of reformed police governance on their attitudes and experiences. This is achieved by interrogating interviewees’ explanations of the purported right of police to exercise power founded in law and on the formal oversight and political direction (or governance) of police. This is the third broad category of understanding of the purported right of police to exercise power that was voiced by the chief officers who were interviewed in 2016; the interviews in 2020 did not explore this class of explanation. As discussed in Chap. 5, law was commonly cited by interviewees as an element of policing by consent. However, the emphasis put on law and governance was such that it requires specific consideration. This chapter argues that the mechanism and manner of police governance is important because it influences what chief officers do, and how they do it. In turn, it is contended, chief officers affect what more junior officers do and how they do it, and what

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_6

175

176 

I. Shannon

police officers do and how they do it largely determine police effectiveness and legitimacy (Loader, 2020). It will be argued that these accounts suggest that governance changes introduced by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSRA), particularly the advent of police and crime commissioners (PCCs), increased chief police officers’ anxieties, due to the threats they perceived the reforms posed to their job security, career progression and operational autonomy. These anxieties may undermine their confidence and make them hesitant to challenge priorities set for them that encroach on civil liberties, or that fail to take account of widely held expectations of police, or that result in less effective policing. These concerns may also cause chief officers to feel fettered in exercising power to protect marginalised people. Together, this endangers police legitimacy. This chapter starts by examining justifications of the right to use police power that specifically relate to the law. This examination uses accounts provided by interviewees and highlights connections between this category of explanation and the two other broad categories of legitimating narrative provided by interviewees, relating to protecting people (particularly the most vulnerable) and policing by consent. First, it will be shown that interviewees identified legality and legitimacy as distinct but connected concepts and that they saw the law as a necessary component in the construction of legitimacy. Second, contemporary police governance is examined and the challenges it poses for chief officers and legitimacy are outlined, focusing on the power that PCCs hold over chief constables, but the scrutiny of chief officers applied by other institutions in the national policing landscape is also considered. Third, interviewees’ narratives about how they are governed are explored and their concerns identified; this includes discussion of the concept of operational independence and its utility and of interviewees’ anxieties about their career security and progression. Finally, the implications of governance reforms for legitimacy are discussed and suggestions made concerning governance and legitimacy for consideration by policy makers, practitioners and researchers. This study was conducted in England and Wales, but it is contended that the findings have implications for governance and legitimacy in other countries. Aspects of the research and its findings that are dealt with in this chapter, which relate to police governance, were also

6  Law and Governance 

177

considered in a paper for Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice (Shannon, 2021).

A Right to Exercise Power Based on Law Interviewees asserted that law supports the right of police to exercise power. This was probably predictable, as the law and other formal controls on the use of power by the state and its institutions play a central role in theoretical understandings of legitimacy, notably (as discussed in Chap. 2) in Weber’s (1948 [1922–23]) arguments about legal authority and the legitimating benefits of bureaucracy. Law also features as Beetham’s (1991, pp. 15–16) first dimension of legitimacy, conformity to established rules. Addressing policing directly, and critically, Jefferson and Grimshaw (1984) argued that without robust legal accountability claims to legitimacy were questionable. Jefferson and Grimshaw (1984, p.  64) also categorise the law alongside other formal controls on the power of police and describe them as the ‘statutory’ audiences that a chief constable should listen to and be accountable to. Interviewees did not cite these authors, but their arguments partly echo their theories. More radical critiques that challenge dominant conceptualisations of legitimacy, broadly by arguing that they are constructed to perpetuate prevailing power relationships (Gramsci, 1992; Foucault, 1971, 1982; Habermas, 1976), were, perhaps unsurprisingly, not reflected in the accounts provided by interviewees. Claims to legitimacy founded on law were also deployed by earlier chief officers. Sir Robert Mark (1977, p. 56) claimed that due to being: answerable to the law, that we act on behalf of the community and not under the mantle of Government, makes us the least powerful, the most accountable and therefore the most acceptable police in the world.

Whilst interviewees shared Mark’s view that law provides a foundation for the right to exercise power, they saw it as only one element and considered it was insufficient in isolation. They did not share Mark’s apparently narrow view of police accountability and constabulary independence

178 

I. Shannon

(hereafter operational independence), which will be discussed in greater detail later. Interviewees’ accounts of a right to exercise power based on law are now directly addressed and attention is also drawn to the connections between this constitutional justification and their broader legitimating narratives. Chief Constable (CC) CO14A was typical of interviewees in asserting that law provides the foundation for the right to exercise power and CO14A also represented the view of other interviewees in linking this to the structure the law provides for holding the police to account and to consensual policing: Well, first of all it is the rule of law … the rule of law gives that framework under which we operate. It’s the consent of the public for us to do this on their behalf. And—and the fact that we will be their arm, if you like, of our society. And then the accountability as well, is really important—that we will answer for our actions. (CO14A)

Another CC (CO7A) also saw the law as essential in the construction of legitimacy and additionally asserted that a democratic mandate and consent were vital components of legitimation: Ultimately the law. So, you know, bestowed upon us by—by Government, by legislators. But underpinning that is a level of public confidence, public belief that we’re trying to do our best—I think that’s the Brownie promise isn’t it? But, you know, there—there’s good intent there because if we lose that, clearly the legislators are elected by the—the people. (CO7A)

CC CO5A gave a personal example of the law being used retrospectively to constrain the use of police power. CO5A had found the experience uncomfortable but used this anecdote (more details of which cannot be shared due to a need to protect anonymity) to illustrate how law provides accountability and parameters within which police should use power:

6  Law and Governance 

179

that was five hours in XXXX Crown Court with three barristers drilling into me. So, there is a ‘right in your face’ consequence of your decision and use of power. (CO5A)

DCC CO9A illustrated the importance of the sanctions that law provides to discourage the misuse of power with a case of an officer being imprisoned: the words of the judge there—Police officers have significant powers and … if they misuse those powers, they will go to jail. (CO9A)

CC CO1A also saw the law as providing parameters within which power could be used legally and legitimately, although this CC also suggested that the parameters were not always well-defined and that police could be tempted to push to find where the boundaries lay: We have to be servants to the law, don’t we? I think when we step outside that then, you know, we have got no mandate to do that. But then the law will always be grey and will always be tested [in context by the police], won’t it? (CO1A)

Interviewees also supplied examples of specific laws which they took account of when exercising power. ACC CO15A spoke about the guidance that a law provided and made a link to understandings of the right to exercise power based on protecting people, illustrating the connections between the broad justifications that were used by interviewees: the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act [RIPA] in 2000—I actually found that hugely helpful because it is a great template in terms of checking and testing, not just what feels right to you, but applying a model around is it proportionate … I find [RIPA] really helpful in terms of being able to make the best decisions you can to protect the wider community. (CO15A)

ACC CO11A also cited specific legislation and connected law with a democratic mandate but the comment that ‘if they didn’t want us to do it, they shouldn’t have given it to us’ placed CO11A as an outlier amongst

180 

I. Shannon

interviewees, as others were clearer in seeing law as a necessary but not sufficient justification for the right to use power: I think Section 60 [Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, a contentious power to stop and search] again if it is managed okay, is a legitimate method. It has been given to us by Parliament—if they didn’t want us to do it, they shouldn’t have given it to us in the first instance. Or should have given us the guidelines right from the outset. (CO11A)

Additionally, ACC CO11A referred to the Human Rights Act 1998, reflecting an emphasis placed on human rights by most interviewees: Consider the use of powers and policies to incorporate the Human Rights Act. That is one of the things that has influenced all of our decisions along the way—the right to—the right to protest, the right to life and even if we were to remove ourselves from the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] as the Home Secretary has suggested, there would still have to be something there. (CO11A)

Although CC CO7A was concerned that the actions of police might not consistently reflect their human rights rhetoric: Human Rights Act, when it first came in, you know, we had to record things as proportionate, necessary, lawful, legal—all that stuff—you know, it kind of, felt like a bit of extra bureaucracy, administration. And I still don’t think we have cracked it because when you talk to people about proportionality and co-lateral intrusion, some will get it but for some it’s just words. (CO7A)

CC CO6A claimed law was particularly important as a justification of the right to exercise the most coercive of police powers, the use of legitimate violence: you get into the use of force and coercive action to get people to do what you want them to do because you have got the legal power to do it. (CO6A)

6  Law and Governance 

181

CC CO13A made a similar point in relation to the use of intrusive powers, but hinted that the parameters set by the law were not always clear and could be stretched: if you authorise surveillance or something like that, there is a very clear legal responsibility … I think if you are dealing with something as a one-­ off, you might push the envelope in terms of being lawfully audacious. (CO13A)

This comment might suggest that sometimes law would be tested to the limits by chief officers, particularly when CO13A’s comments are juxtaposed with CO7A’s suggestion (above) that for some police officers the Human Rights Act requirements are ‘just words’, and CC CO1A’s observations that ‘the law will always be grey and will always be tested’. So far, these accounts have shown that interviewees believed that acting within parameters provided by law and the sanctions and accountability provided by law are important components of a right to exercise power. However, there were indications that some chief officers might be prepared to test the parameters of the law in the interests of pursuing what they perceived as important public goods. It has also been shown that this category of justification was not seen as sufficient and was frequently discussed alongside a moral, not legal, duty to protect people and in conjunction with the concept of policing by consent. And it was particularly in relation to consent that the distinction between legality and legitimacy was raised by interviewees, as is discussed next.

Legality and Legitimacy This section uses interviewees accounts to show that they did not equate legality with legitimacy, rather they asserted that police acting within the law was a necessary but not sufficient component of police legitimacy. As illustrated by DCC CO12A who identified that legality did not equal legitimacy and consequentially legal powers should not be used just because they can be, as to do so might endanger legitimacy:

182 

I. Shannon

the fact that something is lawful, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily legitimate to go out and do lots of it. (CO12A)

And CC CO13A observed that some laws may not be viewed by many people as legitimate, including police officers: The law sets that overall broad framework of what we think is—is a legitimate use of power to achieve what we want to in this country. But—yeah, there are certain things you probably think—think that one’s a bit rubbish. (CO13A)

Whilst CC CO3A was succinct in asserting that ‘legality and legitimacy are not necessarily the same thing’ and illustrated this with an account of withdrawn consent: When I took this force over, we were dishing out XX,000 [number withheld to protect anonymity] fixed penalty notices a year for disorder—cannabis warnings. We were criminalising young people, perfectly within the law, simply to tick a box to satisfy HMIC and the Home Office—that’s not legitimate. (CO3A)

These comments echo Cassese’s (2012, p. 493) argument that legality and legitimacy are distinct concepts and that legality is absolute, whilst what is considered legitimate changes depending on context: [a]n action is always either legal or illegal; it cannot be partly legal. In contrast, legitimacy is fluid and changing—it depends on perceptions and outcomes. (op. cit.)

DCC CO12A was alone amongst interviewees in raising the conundrum posed by the illegal use of police powers that might be considered legitimate by many people, if these acts were perceived as being unlawful means that were justified by the ends of a greater good. This is reminiscent of the ‘Dirty Harry problem’ posed by Klockars (1980). CO12A’s expression ‘lawfully legitimate’ also seems to place police acting within the law as just one aspect of legitimacy:

6  Law and Governance 

183

The old, kind of, cuff round the ear type of thing is the euphemism that people use for unlawful use of force that you’ll find people always say ‘Yeah, that was fine’ and hanker for it or whatever. It might be generational, it might reflect the places people live in, it might be class or socially—all sorts of things. But there’s things like that, that are, kind of, where people, kind of, condone things that you couldn’t say are lawfully legitimate. (CO12A)

The converse of the Dirty Harry problem is the difficulty in justifying the use of laws that are not viewed as legitimate by sections of society. This was a concern for many interviewees, as was represented by CC CO3A’s account (above) of consent being endangered by the criminalisation of young people by using fixed penalty notices for disorder offences and by issuing cannabis warnings. This concern reflects Beetham’s (1991) and Durkheim’s (1986) arguments that shared values between those with power and those over whom it is exercised is an important component in the construction of legitimacy. Overall interviewees used law to explain the right of police to exercise power due to the parameters it provides for the use of power and for the formal accountability that it offers. But they argued that legality alone does not render uses of power legitimate, legitimacy is also contingent on consent to the use of power and on the protection that police can provide. They also claimed that the formal mechanisms of oversight and political democratic direction (or governance), provided by law, support the right to exercise power. And it is police governance that is turned to next.

Contemporary Police Governance This part of the chapter draws on data and arguments that I have previously presented (Shannon, 2021). As argued in Chap. 2 policing is continually constructed and constrained by a quest for legitimacy (Bowling et al., 2019, pp. 65–98). And leaders’ conduct is crucial in constructing legitimacy (Dyzenhaus, 2001). Chief police officers lead their organisations, and they have multiple audiences to persuade when doing so (Peck and Dickinson, 2010). These include their various publics, overseers and

184 

I. Shannon

junior police; the latter need to be convinced to act in ways that foster legitimacy (Hoggett et al., 2019). Overall chief officers can contribute to legitimacy by acting and leading lawfully, fairly and effectively and by protecting people, especially excluded groups in society (Loader, 2020, p. 6). Not doing so, particularly when serving partisan interests, undermines the normative foundations of legitimacy, as it does not reflect widely shared values about fairness, liberty and protection (Beetham, 1991). But chief officers’ contribution to legitimacy, it is contended, is contingent on their governance. This section addresses how chief police officers are overseen and directed now, but context is required to explain why governance was changed by the PRSRA. This background was discussed in more detail in Chap. 1, but it is summarised here to place the argument that follows in its historical, political and policing context. After the Police Act 1964 an accrual of legislation, government guidance and performance regimes eroded the influence of police authorities, weakened local government influence (McLaughlin, 2007, pp.  183–184) and increased the autonomy of chief constables (Loveday, 2018, p. 29). The operational independence of chief constables, intended to promote legitimacy by protecting police from ‘improper political interference’ (Policing Protocol Order, 2011, p. s.12), was critiqued as preventing proper scrutiny (Jefferson and Grimshaw, 1984; Simey, 1988; Patten, 1999; Savage et  al., 2000). Concerns were also raised about police authorities apparently failing to hold chief officers to account during the miners’ strike of 1984/1985 and following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 (Loveday, 2018; Hillsborough Independent Panel, 2012). The government’s growing control of the police also increased worries about the reduced influence of local democratic direction and the effectiveness of police governance (Loader and Mulcahy, 2001, pp. 258–259). These worries led to increased demands to reform police governance (Loveday, 2018). The centralising tendency of national government continued under New Labour, and this further reduced the influence of local governance (Golding & Savage, 2008), but it also diminished the autonomy of chief officers, through mechanisms such as the Police Performance Assessment Framework (Caless, 2011, p. 148).

6  Law and Governance 

185

Concerns about the ineffectiveness of police authorities in controlling chief constables, coupled with the Conservative Party’s commitment to localism, led to the coalition government introducing the PRSRA, which shifted power towards local governance (Lister, 2014, p.  23). Yet, the Home Secretary retains influence, particularly by steering institutions of national governance (Jones & Lister, 2019) and by intervening in forces perceived to be under-performing, now partly overseen by a Home Office–led Crime and Policing Performance Board (Patel, 2020). Foremost amongst the PRSRA reforms was the election of PCCs in 2012. PCCs hold chief constables to account, set their budgets, renew or end chief constables’ contracts and set their priorities through local police and crime plans. Crucially section 38 gives PCCs the power to recruit and remove chief constables. These reforms deliberately weakened the autonomy of chief constables and were envisaged, by the government, as democratising policing (Cooper, 2020). However, by diminishing the operational independence of chief officers, these arrangements risk partisan influence being exerted over them, which could damage legitimacy. Limited checks on PCCs’ powers are provided by Police and Crime Panels (PCPs), consisting of local councillors and some independent members. Lister (2014), Bailey (2015, 2017) and Loveday (2018) argue that the scrutiny of PCCs provided by PCPs is ineffective, as they lack adequate powers and resources and, ironically, this creates an accountability deficit for PCCs. PCPs’ powers include seeking advice from HMICFRS if a PCC decides to remove a chief constable. In the one case where such advice was given Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMCIC), Sir Tom Winsor, described the removal of David Crompton, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, as ‘so unreasonable that I cannot understand how the PCC has reached this view’ (BBC, 2016a). This did not stop the removal, illustrating the limited capacity of HMICFRS to moderate PCCs’ power over chief constables. Although the consequent judicial judgement may increase the influence of HMCIC’s advice to PCCs in relation to the removal of chief constables in the future (R v Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, 2017, Para. 33 1). And it may influence the ongoing Home Office (2020) review of the roles and responsibilities of PCCs.

186 

I. Shannon

HMICFRS is legally independent of government and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police in England and Wales, but its budget is determined by the government and its inspection programme approved by the Home Secretary (HMICFRS, 2020a). The influence of the Inspectorate over chief officer appointments diminished following the PRSRA. Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) no longer advise the Home Secretary about shortlists for chief officer posts, or guide PCCs about the merits of potential chief constables, or mentor chief officers (HMICFRS, 2019). Additionally, HMIs are, with one exception, no longer former chief constables. HMICFRS has no power to inspect PCCs, arguably an anomaly, as they set police priorities. The need for oversight of PCCs may be greater than for police authorities (which were inspected), as power is vested in an individual, not a group who can challenge each other. And the quality and experience of some PCCs have been called into question (Bailey, 2015, 2017; Loveday, 2018, p. 30). Chief constables can resist PCCs’ power through judicial review. R v Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, 2017, quashed the decisions made by the PCC in relation to Chief Constable Crompton’s removal, although David Crompton was not reinstated. Muir (2017) and Loveday (2018) identify that this case is important. The judgement illustrates the tensions in balancing democratic oversight of chief constables and their operational autonomy. It may diminish the operational independence of chief constables and extend the powers of PCCs over them, as it obliged PCCs to hold chief constables to account for all aspects of their performance (Para. 76); this may be the most significant feature of this case for police governance (Loveday, 2018). Yet, a PCC should also work with the chief constable ‘to maintain that independence’ (Para. 90). The judgement also narrows the grounds for removing chief constables to establishing whether their actions are unreasonable (Para. 94); although this does not offer the protection provided before the PRSRA by section 29 of the Police Act 1964, which only permitted removal in the interests of police efficiency (Cooper, 2020). The judgement emphasises that trust and goodwill between chief constables and PCCs support good governance (Para. 73). Judgements on PCCs’ use of power might be provided by elections, but these have seen low turnouts (Lister & Rowe, 2015), possibly casting

6  Law and Governance 

187

doubt on PCCs’ legitimacy, due to inadequate ‘evidence of consent’ (Beetham, 1991, p. 16). Governance introduced by the PRSRA added to anxieties amongst chief officers, shortened tenures and reduced applications for chief officer posts (National Police Chiefs’ Council [NPCC], 2018; HMICFRS, 2019). The power of PCCs, and elected mayors performing the role in some cities (hereafter PCC indicates both), has contentiously ended the careers of some high-profile chief officers (Reiner, 2016; Cooper, 2020). Examples include the retirement of Commissioner Sir Ian (now Lord) Blair in 2008 following pressure from Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London (Caless, 2011, p.  237), and the lack of confidence shown in Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison following the Hillsborough Inquiry, leading to his effectively enforced retirement in 2012 (Bettison, 2016; Conn, 2018). The power placed in one person may also induce instability in police leadership, leading to less effective policing (Cooper, 2020). The controls on PCCs’ power arguably do not satisfy Beetham’s (1991) and Weber’s (1948 [1922–23], pp. 294–296) requirements for effective safeguards to prevent abuse of power and protect legitimacy. Other governance changes have occurred. Chief officers have received greater scrutiny from HMICFRS (2018, 2019). Sir Tom Winsor is the first Chief Inspector of Constabulary not to have been a chief constable and he was previously a prominent critic of police pay and conditions of service (Winsor, 2011). The judgements of some inspections have created tensions between HMICFRS, chief constables and PCCs; contentiously in Bedfordshire, where the Chief and PCC complained about the unfairness of the assessment (Hutber 2017; HMIC, 2016). The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC, before 2018 the Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC]) has also increasingly sought to hold chief officers to account (Caless, 2011, p. 237). The IOPC is independent of police and government, although its budget is determined by the Home Secretary; it oversees the police complaints system, investigates serious complaints and has doubled in size since 2013 (IOPC, 2020). The quality and timeliness of IOPC investigations have been criticised by PCCs, senior police officers and HMICFRS, causing the Home Affairs Select Committee (2020) to investigate its role.

188 

I. Shannon

The College of Policing—which aims to prevent crime, protect the public and secure public trust by developing knowledge about what works in policing, educating police and setting standards (College of Policing, 2020)—commissioned research into chief officers’ conduct (Hales et  al., 2015) and took over some functions from chief officers, including setting national operational guidelines. Mike Cunningham, then Chief Executive of the College, identified that changes need to be made to make it more relevant to police at all levels (Smith, 2020a). This increased scrutiny by governing institutions was apparently prompted by concerns, held by some in governance, about the conduct of chief officers. Examples of worrying conduct that may have provoked these concerns were noted in Chap. 1 and included the resignations in London of two assistant commissioners, in 2007 and 2011, linked to their relationships with the press and poor judgement and leadership (Colbran, 2017), the dismissal of Chief Constable Price in 2012 (BBC, 2012) and imprisonment of Commander Dizaei in 2013 (BBC, 2013): the latter two cases concerned abuse of power. The resignation of Chief Constable Gargan in 2015, following eight proven instances of misconduct (Smith, 2017), raised further concerns. Chief officers’ accounts of this scrutiny are now considered.

Chief Police Officers’ Accounts of Governance The empirical data used in this chapter was gathered in the interviews conducted in 2016 (Shannon, 2018). The methodology, including ethical considerations and the limitations of the research, is described in more detail in Chap. 1. The sample of chief police officers broadly reflects the demographic profile of chief officers across England and Wales. These interviews are used to examine key institutions in the policing landscape. PCCs and others in governance positions are likely to have different perspectives but it was judged that they were not in scope for this study, given the volume of data to be gathered and the need to interview a range of chief officers. Hence, the research is limited by its reliance on their narratives. However, other researchers (Reiner, 1991; Savage et al., 2000) have demonstrated the value of critically considering police governance

6  Law and Governance 

189

through chief officers’ accounts. As is set out in Chap. 1, I am a former chief police officer and inevitably knew many of the interviewees. The risk of subjectivity was controlled by supportive but challenging relationships with academic colleagues and reflexivity. Overall, the benefits of being a former insider outweighed the disadvantages, notably in gaining access and building rapport. The research found that the chief officers who were interviewed held a pattern of apprehensions about their governance by institutions within the policing landscape. However, they stressed the importance of governance in providing accountability and parameters for the use of power. Examination of their apprehensions starts with PCCs and the Home Office, before turning to HMICFRS, the IOPC and College of Policing. The effects of PCCs on interviewees varied. A few claimed to have good working relationships with PCCs, involving considered challenge and understandings of their respective roles. Others said PCCs were unreasonably intrusive and tried to direct how policing priorities should be pursued. All contended that PCCs’ influence on them was greater than the Home Secretary’s, largely because of PCCs’ power to recruit and remove chief constables. CC CO2A commented: Do I lose sleep over the Home Secretary’s letters? No, I don’t. I am more likely to lose sleep over [the PCC] … Because ultimately, [the PCC] can hire and fire me, the Home Secretary can’t. (CO2A)

All interviewees suggested that an unhelpful aspect of the relationship between chief constable and PCC was that it was not mediated by different perspectives and because power rested in one person, as CC CO13A commented: There was actually better governance and scrutiny under the Police Authority than what there is under the PCC … you had a balanced challenge because you had a balanced group of people representing different areas, different parties. (CO13A)

PCCs were seen by some interviewees as helping justify the exercise of power, through a democratic mandate and as an intermediary between

190 

I. Shannon

police and their publics, and contended that this democratic directive constrained and guided them, as CC CO14A noted: It would be totally wrong if the [PCC’s] Police and Crime Plan then had absolutely no impact whatever on operational activity … that would be … the chief constable obstructing the local democratic will. (CO14A)

But four interviewees raised concerns about the mandate, due to low turnout at PCC elections, and most (as was set out in Chap. 5 when discussing policing by consent) suggested that engagement by PCCs with their publics, particularly marginalised people, was inadequate. These reservations echo Loader’s (2002, p. 137) warning that democratisation of policing threatens civil liberties and minorities, who may be more policed than protected. The comments from CC CO3A on the relatively low turnout at the PCC election illustrate the concerns about the strength of the democratic mandate, whilst CC CO2A was anxious about the effectiveness of the engagement of his PCC with marginalised people: [The PCC] is there as a proxy for the public but only about [XX] per cent bothered to turn out and vote. (CO3A) I don’t think [the PCC’s] consultation tends to get near that [engagement with marginalised people] … we tend to consult with the great and the good. (CO2A)

Increased localism was an intended outcome of the PRSRA, and PCCs have displaced the Home Office as the institution of governance that chief officers pay most attention to and PCCs are causing them more concern than police authorities had. The perceived reduction in Home Office influence was reflected in this comment from CC CO1A: The big player is your Police and Crime Commissioner, but interesting isn’t it, because … Home Office Circulars [government guidance] were like the Bible. (CO1A)

6  Law and Governance 

191

However, the Home Office continued to exert influence over interviewees, though pressure was often distanced and applied through HMICFRS. This raised their anxieties about the potential for the Home Office to exercise power over them, whilst evading responsibility and blaming others, by claiming that accountability for policing failures lies with PCCs and chief constables, echoing a point made by Jones and Lister (2019). These frustrations are illustrated by the comments of two CCs. [The Home Office] exert that [influence] through the HMI. So, they have created this façade of ‘it’s all local and we’re giving it to PCCs’ but actually we’ve created such rigid national standards that … you could argue that’s a national policing plan that we all have to adhere to, otherwise we get … publicly ridiculed. (CO13A) there was [before the PRSRA] a bit more accountability flowing the Home Office’s way … [The Home Office] ought to commit to that position and not just say it is down to chief constables or PCCs—who it will be easy to blame if things don’t go well. (CO14A)

Interviewees reported that HMICFRS influenced them, eight of the 16 claimed it was used by the Home Secretary to exert pressure on them and 12 said they resented significant aspects of Inspectorate oversight. The connecting theme was that HMICFRS made them anxious and added little to the quality of policing. Concerns about its independence and resources were evident in the response from ACC CO15A, CC CO2A and CC CO7A: I don’t see them (HMIC) as independent; I see them as being driven very much by the Home Secretary. (CO15A) [The Home Secretary exerts influence] partly through the Inspectorate … [they] have got more resources now than they ever had so do more inspections, spend more time with us … it is not uncommon for—for there to be a missive arrive from the Home Secretary following an inspection. (CO2A)

192 

I. Shannon

[HMIC] are meant to be the fierce advocates of the public. I don’t really see any connection between what they do and the public. (CO7A)

The relationship between HMICFRS and chief officers appeared to have deteriorated since 2011 and this added to their anxieties about governance. The relationship with the IOPC seemed worse, interviewees’ common view being that the IOPC was ineffective and its motivations were questioned, as illustrated by comments from two CCs: The quality of their investigations are poor, the quality of their investigators are poor, I—I don’t get it at all. (CO3A) [The IOPC are] making announcements … which are more about establishing their credentials than actually about, is this the best way to be dealing with the circumstance? (CO7A)

The IOPC increased chief officers’ worries about the fairness and competence of their oversight. Interviewees reported that the College of Policing caused them less anxiety, but its role seemed peripheral to 14 of the 16 interviewees, and its relevance was questioned, as is illustrated by an observation made by ACC CO11A: [The College] do their Authorised Professional Practice … they’re endorsing the national guidance that used to be endorsed by Chief Constables’ Council. They’re not central to my thinking at all. (CO11A)

The College of Policing seemed to have little influence over chief officers, but its impact on their anxieties was limited. The College was a product of the 2011 reforms, which also modified the application of the concept of operational independence.

6  Law and Governance 

193

 perational Independence After the Police O Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 Operational independence, and the benefits it may provide in building legitimacy by protecting police from improper political interference (Royal Commission on the Police, 1962), remains, as discussed earlier, contested (Jefferson and Grimshaw, 1984; Simey, 1988; Patten, 1999; Savage et al., 2000). The Policing Protocol Order (Home Office, 2011) required by the PRSRA guides relationships between chief constables, PCCs, PCPs and the Home Office. It envisages operational independence as PCCs setting the ‘what’ and chief constables deciding ‘how’ (Lister, 2013), and describes operational independence as context driven. However, it is not clearly defined. This was evident in interviewees’ descriptions of operational independence as indistinct, and diminished since 2011, as shown by a response from CC CO14A: The Policing Protocol means different things to whoever reads it … it makes it very clear that operational independence is chief constables’ operational independence. It also makes [it] very clear that if somebody else [a PCC] doesn’t like them [a CC], they can fire them. So, consequently … operational independence can be fettered by the very nature that the Policing Protocol is written. (CO14A)

Budgets set by PCCs, within parameters permitted by the government (Jones & Lister, 2019), limit what chief officers can do. Interviewees reported that budgets are often tied to operational structures and processes preferred by PCCs, undermining the claim that chief constables decide ‘how’, as ACC CO10A commented: You can’t be operationally independent without any money. So, there has … to be some form of negotiation [with the PCC]. (CO10A)

PCCs’ power to recruit or remove chief constables caused interviewees’ greatest anxieties and appeared to impinge on operational independence and have a chilling effect on the will of chief constables, and deputy and assistant chief constables, to challenge PCCs, echoing concerns voiced by

194 

I. Shannon

Cooper (2020) and the Independent Police Commission (2013). A comment from CC CO5A typifies these concerns: it’s really hard saying to the person with the headline ‘I’m going to hire and fire you’: ‘Back off, I’m not going to do it’. … you get all of these election manifestos—‘I’m going to put 100 extra police officers on the neighbourhood streets.’ … that is an operational decision. But quite a brave chief to push back. (CO5A)

Chief officers were anxious about the diminution of their operational autonomy, arising from the roles and responsibilities of PCCs but also from interventions by other governing institutions in the policing landscape and the threat this posed to their career prospects. This risks them lacking the confidence to challenge those in governance, who might steer them towards directing policing that neglects civil liberties; a risk posed by the democratisation of policing (Loader, 2002). It may also discourage them from resisting policies and operational mechanisms that are not evidence-based, which could undermine effectiveness and legitimacy (Goldsmith, 2005). Illiberal direction and disregard of evidence-based policy by PCCs and government are, arguably, rare. However, some mavericks have become PCCs (Bailey, 2015, 2017). The first PCC for Surrey used Facebook to say of a criminal ‘I wanted to break his legs’ (BBC, 2016b) and his emphasis on intolerant enforcement (Hurley, 2012) does not seem to be evidence-based. A subsequent Surrey PCC called for unauthorised traveller encampments to be criminalised (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Surrey, 2020), a policy that would probably be detrimental to minorities and distributive justice. The Home Secretary’s demands for ‘a clampdown on Black Lives Matter protests’ (Hamilton, 2020) also, debatably, illustrate the risk of delegitimating political interventions in policing. These examples arguably demonstrate the need for operational independence, balanced by democratic oversight, to protect liberties, and to support effective and legitimate policing.

6  Law and Governance 

195

 hief Police Officers’ Concerns About Career C Security and Progression Interviewees claimed PCCs pose the greatest risk to their jobs and professional prospects, but other institutions were also said to raise anxieties. Increased HMICFRS and IOPC activity was repeatedly raised, and there was nostalgia for a Home Office, that interviewees perceived had engaged meaningfully with them, reminiscent of Loader’s (2006) account of a collaborative criminal justice elite. And CC CO1A reflected on recent personal experience: HMIC has doubled. IPCC has doubled. Home Office has become more distant. And then crime commissioners are now political. So, all of that has created added tensions … I’ve had more complaints about me in the last year than I’ve had in [the rest of the interviewee’s career] … it takes its toll. (CO1A)

A common theme was the intensity and multiplicity of scrutiny and the threat this posed to their job security and career progression, leading to risk aversion. A point illustrated by CC CO5A: One of my huge issues and concerns in policing … is the “heads must roll” mentality … It stifles people from being allowed to take proportionate risk and creates a sense of fear. (CO5A)

Interviewees attributed many of these anxieties to PCCs’ power to recruit and remove chief constables and to influence the career progression of all chief officers. They inferred that consequently their impartiality might be compromised. This has echoes of Wall’s (1998, p.  300) warning that nineteenth-century chief constables tended to be selected, partly, due to their loyalty to local power elites; the 2011 reforms risk this recurring. The comments below from CC CO14A and ACC CO15A illustrate this risk: The potential that chiefs become wedded to the commissioners, and you get a more, almost American-style system where a mayor is booted out of

196 

I. Shannon

office and then a chief goes as well … that starts to politicise the police by osmosis. (CO14A) Any chief constable that stands up to a PCC and says: ‘wind your neck in, this is operational policing’ is immediately vulnerable because they can be hired and fired by that PCC. (CO15A)

These anxieties were partly based on awareness of colleagues leaving policing prematurely. The average term for a chief constable has fallen by 1.2 years since the mid-1980s (NPCC, 2018, p. 34). HMICFRS (2019, p.  60) described the trend, which was accelerated by the PRSRA, as ‘marked and worrying’. Deputy and assistant chief constables do not face the direct threat of removal from office by PCCs, but they are worried about PCCs’ influence on their careers. They no longer have the potential protection from chief constables provided by police authorities (which appointed and removed them; this now rests with chief constables), and their career prospects can be contingent on the view of the chief constable and PCC. Deputies seeking to be chief constables may be particularly exposed, as CC CO5A, CC CO14A and DCC CO16A observed: possibly the most vulnerable beast in policing today is the deputy chief constable aspiring to be the chief. (CO5A) I’ve always felt that deputies and ACCs were more vulnerable [than CCs], knowing some of the chiefs I’ve met … if a chief is under threat what happens next? (CO14A) you aren’t going to particularly challenge somebody when they are going to select you are you. (CO16A)

Chief officers are no longer supported and mentored by HMIs. Institutional and professional distance between inspector and inspected may have benefits, nonetheless this remoteness increased many interviewees’ sense of isolation, an issue that was identified by ACC CO10A:

6  Law and Governance 

197

HMIC was, I think, very much supportive and [had an] advisory role; and to become adversarial—I’m not 100 per cent sure has been, actually, such a good move, because quite often forces who might be underperforming have suddenly felt very, very vulnerable … it becomes a really, really dark place for some people. (CO10A)

Some interviewees identified the IOPC as a source of anxiety and consequent risk aversion, as DCC CO12A noted: something like 20 per cent of all chief officers … are subject to some sort of enquiry by the IPCC … it makes some people very risk averse—can paralyse organisations or individuals. (CO12A)

Many interviewees suggested these anxieties made them less likely to use power, particularly to challenge their overseers, or in circumstances which might provoke scrutiny. They felt vulnerable due to their perceptions of threats to their careers posed by unreasonable scrutiny from the IOPC, HMICFRS and PCCs, by the apparent withdrawal of Inspectorate support, and the risk of being blamed by the Home Office. Their foremost worry was what they saw as the danger to their careers posed by PCCs. These apprehensions could be debilitating, as CC CO5A noted: When it comes to power, there’s something about protecting that office [of chief constable]. The less often that office wields power, the safer it is because every time you wield your power, you make yourself vulnerable to challenge. (CO5A)

These quotations from CCs CO1A and CO13A do not adequately capture the angst that emerged, in the tone and context of the interviews but they reveal some of this anguish: I had a tortuous first year … it certainly feels a lonely place … the performance indicators don’t look good, and people are getting worried and the perfect storm because everyone is on your case, there is a real temptation to doubt your own personal judgement. (CO1A)

198 

I. Shannon

[I have] been a chief since XXXX. It feels like 400 years … you’re making different—different, kind of, calls on the power you have got because of some of that pressure to be seen to be accountable … I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t affect you. (CO13A)

The chief officers who were interviewed reported that governance changes introduced in 2011 led to disproportionate scrutiny, which exacerbated their anxieties. The implications of this for police legitimacy are discussed next.

Discussion of Police Governance Chief police officers’ power does not stop them from feeling anxious and they can be exposed to pressures that those who are less visible do not experience, as is arguably illustrated by the scrutiny experienced by Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison who was forced to retire in 2012, due to allegations that he made misleading comments minimising his role, as a chief inspector, following the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989. He was subsequently charged with misconduct in a public office, but six years later the charges were withdrawn (Bettison, 2016; Conn, 2018). Vulnerability is particularly disempowering if the ‘individual does not self-identify as vulnerable’ (Dehaghani, 2019, p. 40) and chief officers may be reluctant to do so. Their anxieties seemed to increase considerably following the 2011 reforms, due to concerns about their governance, operational autonomy, career prospects and job security. Worryingly their goodwill towards and trust of PCCs that should support good governance (R v Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, 2017, Para. 73) appeared fragile. Chief officers’ anxieties can diminish their confidence to use power to protect people and to question priorities that may not reflect wider societal values. This may impede them in providing procedurally fair (Hough & Maffei, 2013) and effective policing (Goldsmith, 2005) and distributive justice that protects excluded people (Reiner, 2007). This potentially leads to withdrawals of consent to police use of power, particularly by marginalised people, and to a legitimacy crisis (Habermas, 1976; Beetham, 1991).

6  Law and Governance 

199

These threats to legitimacy may seem remote but the potential for authoritarian and partisan agendas being imposed on police was a concern of the Royal Commission on the Police (1962) and informed the governance and operational independence that followed, until reformed in 2011. Chief officers, it is contended, have a normative duty to resist such agendas. Authoritarian threats to legitimacy may be rare in England and Wales but they remain and are arguably illuminated by sometimes overzealous, inconsistent and unlawful use of new police powers during the Coronavirus 19 pandemic (Smith, 2020b; The Times, 2020; Karim, 2020). This may exacerbate inequalities and threaten liberties (Parris, 2020), and lead to a disjunction between the values of the powerful and their subordinates, which endangers legitimacy (Beetham, 1991). Chief officers’ anxieties may also make them reluctant to challenge PCCs when they set priorities which fail to consider the expectations of many people or are likely to be ineffective. Examples include prioritising protecting the vulnerable, which seem laudable, but which, without adequate funding, displaces activities such as dealing with acquisitive crime and local policing (Higgins, 2018; Pratt, 2017). HMICFRS (2020b) has identified that many users of police services are experiencing increasingly ineffective policing as these activities decline, and ineffective policing diminishes legitimacy (Goldsmith, 2005). A balance needs to be struck between democratic oversight of chief police officers and their operational independence. And individuals and institutions responsible for directing and overseeing chief officers also need to be held to account. This chapter has not explored the accountability of national government, but oversight of, and checks on, PCCs’ powers over chief officers appears deficient.

Conclusion This chapter has explored interviewees’ explanations of a purported right of police to exercise power founded on law and on the formal oversight and political direction (or governance) of police, which was their third broad category of understanding of the right to exercise power. Interviewees argued that acting within parameters provided by law, and

200 

I. Shannon

the accountability provided by law, are important components in the construction of police legitimacy. There were indications that some chief officers might be prepared to test the parameters of the law in the pursuit of what they perceived to be important public goods, but it is not suggested that this is a widespread or worrying tendency amongst chief officers. Interviewees did not equate legality with legitimacy, and they recognised that legality alone does not render uses of power legitimate. The law was frequently discussed alongside a moral, not legal, duty to protect people and in conjunction with the concept of policing by consent. This illustrates how interviewees used all three categories of understanding of the right of police to exercise power, which they saw as connected, but also often in tension. This tension was exemplified by apparent withdrawals of consent following the legal but, it was contended, disproportionate use of police powers in pursuit of some quantitative performance objectives set by central government. It is probably not surprising that interviewees deployed arguments based on law to claim a right to exercise power, as compliance with rational laws and rules has been used in influential theoretical explanations of legitimacy (Weber, 1948 [1922–23]; Beetham, 1991) and in legitimating accounts provided by earlier chief officers (Mark, 1977, p. 56). Interviewees also argued that the formal mechanisms of oversight and political democratic direction of police, provided by law, supported the right to exercise power. Again, this was arguably to be expected, as effective governance and bureaucratic controls have been an influential theme in thinking about legitimacy (Weber, 1948 [1922–23]; Beetham, 1991). But the anxieties and tensions that were revealed by analysis of these interviews raise concerns about the nature of contemporary police governance and the consequent prospects for police legitimacy. The implications of these accounts of governance are now considered and recommendations are made for policy, practice and research. Recently introduced governance arrangements heightened chief police officers’ anxieties about their job security, career prospects and operational autonomy. This may sap their confidence, leading to them failing to resist political directions that undermine civil liberties or prioritise the needs of the powerful over those of the marginalised. They may also fail to challenge policies that lead to ineffective policing or neglect the

6  Law and Governance 

201

priorities of many people. This endangers legitimacy. Nonetheless, checks on chief officers’ power and performance remain important in ensuring that police are effective and legitimate (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984). Therefore, the following proposals are made to improve police governance, increase chief officers’ confidence and effectiveness and consequently enhance police legitimacy. Firstly, the relationship between PCCs and chief constables seems unduly weighted towards PCCs (Cooper, 2020). This might be ameliorated by making PCCs more accountable, by strengthening the roles and responsibilities of HMICFRS and PCPs in relation to PCCs’ governance of chief officers. Arguably the roles of PCPs should be clarified, and their powers and resources extended (Lister, 2014; Bailey, 2015, 2017; Loveday 2018), and the remit of HMICFRS expanded to include inspecting PCCs. Secondly, deputy and assistant chief constables’ concerns about their oversight and direction by institutions in the policing landscape include the effect that chief constables and PCCs have on their career trajectories. This issue needs further consideration by researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Finally, decisions about policing priorities are inevitably political (Loader, 2020, p.  8) but chief police officers need protection against improper partisan influence. Consequently, the indistinct concept of operational independence and its application should be revisited by researchers, practitioners and policy makers. The preceding discussions have explored the implications of the law and the oversight and political direction of chief police officers for police legitimacy. Consideration of the findings would inform deliberations about policies and practices intended to improve police governance and legitimacy. The review of PCCs’ responsibilities (Home Office, 2020) may provide an opportunity for such consideration. The next chapter concludes the book with a review of the findings of the research and it offers an interpretation of understandings that an archetypal contemporary chief police officer might hold about the right of police to exercise power. It then discusses the implications of the research for the future of policing, considers areas for further research and makes recommendations for policy and practice.

202 

I. Shannon

Note 1. R (David Crompton) v Police Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire & Ors [2017] EWHC 1349 (Admin).

References Bailey, R. (2015). Policing the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs): An examination of the current statutory and political frameworks for holding PCCs to account—A case study of the surrey police and crime panel. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 9(4), 305–313. Bailey, R. (2017). Policing the PCCs: An examination of the effectiveness of PCPs in holding PCCs to account. PhD thesis, Portsmouth University, UK. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://www.google.com/search?q=Bailey%2C+R. +(2017).+Policing+the+PCCs%3A+an+examination+of+the+effectiveness+o f+PCPs+in+holding&oq=Bailey%2C+R.+(2017).+Policing+the+PCCs%3A +an+examination+of+the+effectiveness+of+PCPs+in+holding+&aqs=chrom e..69i57j69i59.3756j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-­8 BBC. (2012). Cleveland police chief Sean Price sacked after inquiry. 05/10/2012. Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19840069 BBC. (2013). Metropolitan police Sacks Commander Dizae. 13/05/2013. Retreived April 1, 2020, from www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london18076053 BBC. (2016a). David Crompton: Move to dismiss South Yorkshire police chief constable unfair. Retrieved April 1, 2020, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ uk-england=south-yorkshire-37382554 BBC. (2016b). Surrey PCC ‘wanted to break criminal’s legs’. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-­england-­surrey-­35793654 Beetham, D. (1991). The legitimation of power. Macmillan. Bettison, N. (2016). Hillsborough untold: Aftermath of a disaster. Biteback Publishing. Bowling, B., Reiner, R., & Sheptycki, J. (2019). The politics of the police (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. Caless, B. (2011). Policing at the top: The roles, values and attitudes of chief police officers. The Policy Press. Cassese, A. (2012). The legitimacy of international criminal tribunals and the current prospects of international criminal justice. Leiden Journal of International Law, 25, 491–501.

6  Law and Governance 

203

Colbran, M. (2017). Leveson five years on: The effect of the Leveson and Filkin reports on relations between the metropolitan police and the national news media. British Journal of Criminology, 57(6), 1502–1519. College of Policing. (2020). About Us. Retreived April 1, 2020, from https:// www.college.police.uk/About/Pages/default.aspx Conn, D. (2018, August 21). CPS drop all charges against former Hillsborough Officer. The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/aug/21/cps-drops-all-charges-against-formerhillsborough-police-officer-norman-bettison Cooper, S. (2020). Police and crime commissioners: A corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability? Criminal Law Review, 4, 291–305. Dehaghani, R. (2019). Vulnerability in police custody: Police decision making and the appropriate adult safeguard. Routledge. Durkheim, E. (1986). Political obligation, moral duty and punishment. In A. Giddens (Ed.). Translated by Halls, W. D. Durkheim on politics and the state (pp. 154–173). : Polity Press. Dyzenhaus, D. (2001). Hobbes and the Legitimacy of Law. Law and Philosophy, 20(5), 461–498. Foucault, M. (1971). Orders of discourse. Social Science Information, 10(2), 7–30. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8(4), 777–795. Golding, B., & Savage, S. (2008). Leadership and performance management. In T. Newburn (Ed.), Handbook of policing (2nd ed.). Cullompton, Devon. Goldsmith, A. (2005). Police reform and the problem of trust. Theoretical Criminology, 9(4), 443–468. Gramsci, A. (1992). Prison notebooks (J.  A. Buttigieg, Ed.). Columbia University Press. Habermas, J. (1976). Legitimation crisis. Heinemann Educational Books. Hales, G., May, T., Belur, J., & Hough, M. (2015). Chief officer misconduct in policing: An exploratory study. College of Policing. Hamilton, F. (2020, June 13). Patel’s interference is abuse of power, say police chiefs. The Times, p. 4. Higgins, A. (2018). The future of neighbourhood policing. Retrieved April 7, 2020, from http://www.police-foundation.org.uk/2017/wp-content/ uploads/2010/10/TPFJ6112-Neighbourhood-Policing-Report-WEB_2.pdf Hillsborough Independent Panel. (2012). Hillsborough independent panel: Disclosed material and report. Retreived May 28, 2021, from https://assets. publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_ data/file/229038/0581.pdf

204 

I. Shannon

HMIC. (2016). Bedfordshire PEEL assessment. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/peel-­a ssessments/ peel-­2016/bedfordshire/? HMICFRS. (2018). PEEL: Police Leadership 2017: A National overview. Retrieved May 11, 2018, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/ hmicfrs/wp-­content/uploads/peel-­police-­leadership-­2017.pdf HMICFRS. (2019). Leading Lights: An inspection of the police service’s arrangements for the selection and development of chief officers. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-content/ uploads/leading-lights-inspection-police-arrangements-selectiondevelopment-­chief-officers.pdf HMICFRS. (2020a). About us. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www. justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/about-us/ HMICFRS. (2020b). PEEL Spotlight Report: Diverging under pressure. An overview of 2018/19 PEEL inspections. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from https:// www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-content/uploads/peel-­ spotlight-­report-diverging-under-pressure-2018-19-overview.pdf Hoggett, J., Redford, P., Toher, D., & White, P. (2019). Challenges for police leadership: Identity, experience and legitimacy and direct entry. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 34, 145–155. Home Affairs Select Committee. (2020). New inquiry: Police conduct and complaints. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-­a-­z/commons-­select/home-­affairs-­committee/ news-­parliament-­2017/police-­conduct-­and-­complaints-­launch-­19-­21/ Home Office. (2011). Policing Protocol Order. Retrieved April 26, 2020, from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2744/made Home Office. (2020). Priti Patel to give public greater say over policing through PCC review. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/priti-­p atel-­t o-­g ive-­p ublic-­g reater-­s ay-­o ver-­p olicing-­ through-­pcc-­review Hough, M., & Maffei, S. (2013). Trust in justice: Thinking about legitimacy. Criminology in Europe: The Newsletter of the European Society of Criminology, 2, 4–10. Hurley, K. (2012) Police and crime plan for surrey. Retreived August 16, 2020, from https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/documents/s4513/Police%20 and%20Crime%20Plan%20draft.pdf

6  Law and Governance 

205

Hutber, J. (2017). HMI Zoe Billingham will no longer inspect Bedfordshire police. Police Oracle. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.policeoracle.com/news/HMI-­Zoe-­Billingham-­will-­no-­longer-­inspect-­Bedfordshire-­ Police-­_96500.html Independent Office for Police Conduct. (2020). Who we are. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/who-­we-­are Independent Police Commission. (2013). Policing for a better Britain: Report of the Independent Police Commission. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https:// www.researchgate.net/publication/303873773_Policing_for_a_Better_ Britain_Report_of_the_Independent_Police_Commission/link/575988 8d08ae9a9c954f06d1/download Jefferson, T., & Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the constable. Frederick Muller Limited. Jones, T., & Lister, S. (2019). Localism and governance in England and Wales: Exploring continuity and change. European Journal of Criminology, 16(5), 552–572. Karim, F. (2020, May 2). CPS will review every charge under new law. The Times, p. 13. Klockars, C. (1980). The Dirty Harry Problem. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 452, 33–47. Lister, S. (2013). The new politics of the police and crime commissioners and the ‘Operational Independence’ of the police. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 7(3), 239–247. Lister, S. (2014). Scrutinising the role of the police and crime panel in the new era of police governance in England and Wales. Safer Communities, 13(1), 22–31. Lister, S., & Rowe, M. (2015). Electing police and crime commissioners in England and Wales: Prospecting for the democratisation of policing. Policing and Society, 25(4), 358–377. Loader, I. (2002). Policing, securitization and democratization in Europe. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2, 125–153. Loader, I. (2006). Fall of the “Platonic Guardians”: Liberalism, Criminology and Political Responses to Crime in England and Wales. British Journal of Criminology, 46(4), 561–586. Loader, I. (2020). Revisiting the police mission. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/uploads/insight_paper_2.pdf Loader, I., & Mulcahy, A. (2001). The power of legitimate naming: Part II. British Journal of Criminology, 41(2), 252–265.

206 

I. Shannon

Loveday, B. (2018). Police and Crime Commissioners: Developing and sustaining a new model of police governance in England and Wales. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 20(1), 28–37. Mark, R. (1977). Policing a perplexed society. George Allen & Unwin. McLaughlin, E. (2007). The new policing. Sage. Muir, R. (2017). Policing governance: Considering Compton. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from http://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2017/07/police-governance-­ considering-­crompton/ National Police Chiefs’ Council. (2018). Chief Constable preparation, selection, tenure and retirement in the ‘New Policing Landscape’. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from https://www.npcc.police.uk/2018%20FOI/Workforce/127%20 18%20Lanscaping%20in%20Policing%20Report%20to%20publish%20 27092018.pdf Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey. (2020). PCC calls for unauthorised traveller encampments to be criminalised. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.surrey-­pcc.gov.uk/2020/03/pcc-­calls-­for-­unauthorisedtraveller-­encampments-­to-­be-­criminalised/ Parris, M. (2020, March 25). Let’s not rush to bow at the state’s command. The Times. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ lets-not-rush-to-bow-at-the-states-command-cl7ttg387 Patel, P. (2020). Speech at association of police and crime commissioners and national police chiefs’ partnership summit 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2020, from https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/home-­secretary-­at-­the-apcc-­ and-­npcc-­partnership-­summit Patten, C. (1999). A new beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland: The report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland. HMSO. Peck, F., & Dickinson, H. (2010). Pursuing legitimacy: Conceptualising and developing leaders’ performance. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 31(7), 630–642. Pratt, J. (2017). Risk control, rights and legitimacy in the limited liability state. British Journal of Criminology, 57(6), 1322–1339. Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Reiner, R. (2007). Media made criminality: The Representations of crime in the mass media. In M.  Maguire, R.  Morgan, & R.  Reiner (Eds.), The Oxford Book of Criminology (4th ed.). Clarendon. Reiner, R. (2016). Power to the people? A social democratic critique of the Coalition Government’s police reforms. In S.  Lister & M.  Rowe (Eds.), Accountability in policing (pp. 132–149). Routledge.

6  Law and Governance 

207

Royal Commission on the Police. (1962). Final report of the royal commission on the police. HC, Cmnd. 1728. Savage, S., Charman, S., & Cope, S. (2000). Policing and the powers of Persuasion. Blackstone Press. Shannon, I. (2021). Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales: Implications for police legitimacy. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 5(2), 912–926. Shannon, I.  C. N. (2018) Convenient constructs: How chief police officers in England and Wales understand the right of police to exercise power. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool. Retrieved July 6, 2021, from https://livrepository. liverpool.ac.uk/3027487/ Simey, M. (1988). Democracy rediscovered: A study in police accountability. Unwin Press. Smith, C. (2020a, August 8). Interview: A time for change. Police Oracle. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.policeoracle.com/news/ police_performance/2020/Aug/11/interview%2D%2Da-­c hange-­o f-­ image-­_105428.html Smith, C. (2020b, June 1). Enforcement drops against people breaking lockdown. Police Oracle. Retrieved June 1, 2020, from https://www.policeoracle. com/news/police_performance/2020/May/29/enforcement-­drops-­against-­ people-­breaking-­lockdown_104884.html Smith, J. (2017, December 5). Disgraced Chief Constable Nick Gargan stripped of police medal for bringing honours system into disrepute. Bristol News. The Times. (editorial). (2020, May 2). Petty Officers: Overzealous policing of the lockdown has led to too many wrongful convictions: 29. Wall, D. S. (1998). The chief Constables of England and Wales: The socio-legal history of a criminal justice elite. Ashgate. Weber, M. (1948 [1922–23]). The social psychology of the world religions. In H. H. Gerth, & C. Wright Mills (Eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 267–301). Routledge and Kegan Paul. Winsor, T. (2011). The independent review of police officer staff and remuneration and conditions. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130312171436/http://review.police.uk/publications/ 945287

7 Conclusion

This chapter returns to the question that underpins this book, ‘how do chief police officers in England and Wales understand the right of police to exercise power?’ In doing so it contributes to existing knowledge about chief police officers and police legitimacy. Research should, it is contended, have theoretical and practical impact. Therefore, as well as adding to what is known, this chapter sets out the practical implications of the research and makes recommendations for policy, practice and future research. Inspiration for the method adopted for presenting chief officers’ understandings of the right to exercise power was found in Reiner’s Chief Constables (1991). Reiner used Weberian ideal types (Weber, 1949, p. 84) or ‘models of logically possible permutations, which are not encountered in the real world’ (Reiner, 1991, pp. 303–304) as a heuristic device to display how chief constables approached and understood policing and to draw out key themes. As discussed in Chap. 3 it was not possible to identify a range of types in the way that Reiner did, owing to the socialisation processes that contemporary chief officers experience, which seems to produce a set of more consistent views than those encountered by Reiner (1991). And, as set out in Chap. 1, care needs to be taken in drawing © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_7

209

210 

I. Shannon

conclusions about what all chief officers think and understand from the sample of those interviewed for this study. However, a picture will be painted of the ways in which an archetypal contemporary chief officer might understand the right of police to exercise power, recognising that no such individual exists, whilst also agreeing with Caless’ (2011) rejection of the suggestion that contemporary chief officers are clones. This chapter is structured as follows. First, to put this closing discussion into context, the key elements of the three broad understandings held by interviewees of the right of police to exercise power are provided. These explanations were inter-connected, used, in some form, by all interviewees, and none of the explanations was seen as sufficient on their own. The first category is related to a moral duty to use power to achieve the claimed policing purpose of protecting people, particularly those deemed to be most vulnerable. The second deployed accounts of policing by consent, which were wide ranging and involved societal norms and expectations of policing being met. The third was based on law and on the formal oversight and political direction (or governance) of police and the parameters this provides for the legitimate use of power. This is set out in an overview of preceding chapters, which seeks to explain ‘what’ chief officers understand. Second, an interpretation of ‘how’ an archetypal contemporary chief police officer might understand the right of police to exercise power is presented, by using the heuristic device of an archetypal chief officer. And it is argued that these understandings are confused, conflicted and convenient. This collective of three schemas provides an analytical frame that supports the interpretation of the themes that connect the broad understandings of the right to exercise power that were provided by interviewees. And this provides additional insights into how they thought about power and the right to use it. The confusion partly reflects the ambiguity and complexity of some of the concepts and narratives that interviewees drew on, such as ‘vulnerability’, ‘policing by consent’ and ‘operational independence’. Their understandings were conflicted, as seen in tensions between a rhetoric of consent and the practice of coercion and between a discourse of vulnerability and policing objectives that fall outside this discourse. There was also a dissonance between interviewees’ claims that police governance is crucial for legitimacy, and their resentments and

7 Conclusion 

211

anxieties about current mechanisms of oversight. These confused and complex understandings cumulatively contribute to their convenience, due to their potential to assist chief officers in asserting an expert and privileged position from which to make decisions about the use of power that fit their standpoints and personal preferences. This privileged perspective arises from the utility of the complexity and conflictions of the broad understandings in buttressing challenge. They can be used as rhetorical self-justification to assert that chief officers’ priorities serve a noble cause, or a Utilitarian greater good. The complexity and confliction can also support chief officers’ claims to expertise in negotiating and comprehending these difficulties and this allows arguments supporting their priorities to be framed in ways that can be difficult for many people to challenge, particularly if they do not have expertise, experience and extensive knowledge of the practice of policing (Day & Klein, 1987). These narratives may also help politicians in legitimating their priorities for policing. And the obstacles to challenging the preferences of politicians and chief police officers may be especially pronounced for marginalised people, who may be more policed than they are protected. Third, the implications of this research for the future and current state of policing are considered. Fourth, suggestions for future research are proposed. Finally, recommendations for policy and practice are made and this book ends with a call for an informed public debate about police priorities and the right of police to exercise power.

Overview Chapter 1 identified the political, policy, scholarly and policing context of the study. It argued that police power, chief police officers and police legitimacy require continued scrutiny. And recent reforms, notably the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, and subsequent law and policy developments—such as austerity, changed policing priorities and the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic—heighten the need for this scrutiny. Selected literature that is relevant to connections between chief police officers and legitimacy was reviewed, and the methodology used was set out, including the ethical considerations and limitations of the research.

212 

I. Shannon

Legitimacy: A Contested Concept In Chap. 2 selected literature that has influenced contemporary understandings of legitimacy, particularly police legitimacy, was reviewed. This resulted in six propositions being identified that provided an intellectual frame for analysis of the justifications of the right of police to exercise power that were provided by interviewees. These propositions are, first, that dominant claims to police legitimacy need to be robustly scrutinised, as legitimacy can be understood as a construct designed to sustain the dominance of the powerful (Habermas, 1976). Scrutiny is also needed due to the coercion that is an inevitable and defining function of the police (Brodeur, 2007, 2010). The second proposition is that the state has the right to use power to protect people and there is a reciprocal duty for the populace to obey (Hobbes, 1968 [1651]; Weber, 1948 [1921]). Third, legitimacy is underpinned by rational rules and laws that state institutions should comply with, and these rules also provide for formal systems of oversight and political direction (or governance) that set parameters within which power can be legitimately used (Beetham, 1991; Weber, 1948 [1922–1923, pp. 294–296). Fourth, an alignment of norms between rulers and ruled is critical if a state and its institutions are to be legitimate. These norms should be identified and promoted through dialogue (Durkheim, 1992 [1957]; Beetham, 1991; Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012) and be reflected in rules and laws (Beetham, 1991). Amongst these are values relating to the state and its institutions using fair and respectful processes; this helps build legitimacy and compliance (Tyler, 1990; Hough & Maffei, 2013). Fifth, legitimacy is a right to exercise power that is broadly accepted by those over whom power is exercised (Weber, 1948 [1921]; Beetham, 1991). Consequently (and building on the emphasis on dialogue to promote shared values in the previous proposition), the police should ensure that there are meaningful mechanisms for dialogue with their various publics to build and gauge consent (Beetham, 1991; Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012). The final proposition was that the type of person who becomes a leader and exercises power contributes to the construction or destruction of legitimacy (Weber, 1948 [1921]). Consequently, examining leaders’ backgrounds, attitudes and

7 Conclusion 

213

motivations may provide insights into the type of people they are and help reveal how they understand and use power, which was the purpose of Chap. 3.

 hief Police Officers’ Backgrounds C and Motivations Chapter 3 identified what type of people become chief police officers by examining interviewees’ backgrounds, social and policing opinions, and motivations for joining the police and it considered the implications this has for police legitimacy. Using the interviews and other data, it was identified that contemporary chief officers are well educated, predominantly from middle-class backgrounds, are liberal leaning and nearly a third are women, although non-white chief officers remain rare. This contrasts with the male, white, working-class, non-graduate and socially conservative inclined chief constables interviewed by Reiner (1991). It was found that interviewees were attracted to the police by a sense of public service and the lure of excitement, which was associated with the authority and power inherent to policing. These attractions are not incompatible, but they are in tension, as a pronounced inclination to action, excitement and enjoyment of power may not, it is contended, be conducive to chief officers making consistently good decisions about how and when to exercise power. Some interviewees expressed concerns that the approaches to the use of police power adopted by chief officers are influenced by gendered cultural norms, which resemble the ‘competitive masculinity’ described by Silvestri (2019) and these worries were explored. The data suggests that these attitudes and behaviours persist, but they are probably less prevalent than they used to be. However, it is possible that the wider political and bureaucratic cultures that chief police officers operate within—which amongst Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) is arguably a white and mainly male culture—may stall this apparently positive development. Interviewees also suggested that there is insufficient support and encouragement for chief police officers to reflect on the use of police power, and the right to use it.

214 

I. Shannon

 rotecting People, Particularly P the Most Vulnerable In Chap. 4 understandings of the right of police to exercise power, based on protecting people, particularly the most vulnerable, were analysed. It was argued that a duty to protect people is a longstanding and important element of legitimating narratives but that the recent emphasis placed on protecting the most vulnerable is relatively new. Chief officers’ interpretations of vulnerability appeared to change between 2016 and 2021, from predominantly strand-based understandings (based on the type of offender, offence or victim), to stances that are more neutral about the nature of the threat posed. These stances tend to accept the universality of vulnerability, with the extent of an individual’s vulnerability (or risk of harm and extent of harm) being viewed as depending on many factors, including personal characteristics and resilience, social environment and the circumstances people find themselves in and the changing threats they face. The accounts provided in 2016 about the nature of vulnerability were inconsistent, which is perhaps understandable given the ambiguity and complexity of the concept. There was greater consistency amongst those interviewed in 2020, although ambiguities and tensions remained, and the assessments used to identify vulnerability and guide the police response to it still seemed to lack a firm evidence base and continued to be influenced by fluctuating and subjective political prioritisation. Interviewees in 2016 and 2020 highlighted adverse consequences for legitimacy and consent associated with the vulnerability agenda, notably by identifying issues that were important to many people and which could cause great harm if neglected by police (such as road safety and fraud), which were no longer apparently treated as priorities by police, as they did not fit into privileged categories in the prevailing vulnerability discourse. Interviewees also worried that the discourse was partly driven by a desire to reduce the vulnerability of police organisations and police decision makers and that this was contributing to unhealthy risk aversion; although this might also be interpreted as an overdue response to persistent police failures to protect marginalised and vulnerable people, such as victims of child sexual

7 Conclusion 

215

exploitation and domestic abuse. But the vulnerability discourse may also be used to conceal coercion and control under a cloak of care (Phoenix, 2002). And many people who are labelled as vulnerable may resist and resent this categorisation (Butler, 2004). So, the concept of vulnerability can be used to promote care, but it can also be deployed to legitimate coercion (Dehaghani, 2019, p. 46). Therefore, the personal preferences and moral standpoints of chief police officers, who are influential actors, are important in influencing the discourse and in determining the consequent levels of care and coercion. The shift away from strand-based approaches to vulnerability can be interpreted as chief officers reasserting their influence, as an acceptance of the universality of vulnerability and threat-neutral prioritisation provide them with a mechanism for resisting the imposition of national priorities and performance regimes relating to specific categories of crime, victims or offenders. But the ambiguity of the concept of vulnerability, confusion about what it means and its emotional content may be convenient when constructing legitimating narratives. Consequently, a discourse of vulnerability can be deployed to legitimate the choices chief officers make about what to prioritise and how to use power. Although many people may disagree with their priorities and this endangers consent to the use of police power, which is discussed next.

Policing by Consent Chapter 5 considered justifications for the use of police power based on policing by consent. In explaining consensual policing interviewees stressed the importance of minimal coercion, the rule of law, values police were purported to share with wider society and a symbolic commitment to protect people. This was evident in the Peelian myths they called on, which are arguably based on questionable assumptions about societal consensus (Emsley, 2014, p. 17). Broad themes were set out by interviewees, but their explanations of consensual policing lacked clarity. This was partly due to the range of issues that they covered when talking about consent, which may reflect the wide and indistinct scope of the concept. But it was also because interviewees struggled to explain how they

216 

I. Shannon

identified if consent was present and how consent differed from coerced or dull compliance (Carrabine, 2004). Interviewees’ accounts of engagement with their various publics described ad hoc methods, which seemed ineffective, or absent, when it came to marginalised people who may be more often policed than protected. Interviewees’ recognition of the challenges posed to narratives of consent were found in their accounts of withdrawn consent. These included concerns about the increased display of defensive equipment by police, anxieties about managing competing demands and recurring crises of legitimacy. These legitimacy crises included those provoked by the policing of some industrial disputes and outbreaks of disorder, which could be perceived as partisan and disproportionate by many people (including many of the interviewees). Interviewees also associated withdrawn consent with the disproportionate use of police powers in pursuit of quantitative performance measures that were linked to New Public Management and to some government enforcement-based initiatives. Loss of legitimacy was also identified as resulting from the behaviour of some police officers, including some chief officers. But these accounts of withdrawn consent seemed to reveal a construction, by most interviewees, of a relatively benign, consensual and cohesive ‘now’, contrasting with a more coercive ‘then’, which usually pre-dated their tenure in very senior ranks. Tensions were identified between narratives of consensual policing and legitimating accounts founded on a duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, as the recent priority placed on vulnerability may be resented by many people who feel their concerns no longer receive the attention they deserve. This risks consent being withdrawn. Similarities in the first two categories of legitimating narratives were found, in the confusion and ambiguity that were apparent when interviewees explained ‘vulnerability’ and ‘consent’. Both forms of legitimation may also conveniently obscure and minimise the inevitably controlling and coercive functions of the police (Bittner, 1974; Brodeur, 2007, 2010). And the ambiguity and complexity of these legitimating narratives may facilitate chief officers in justifying their preferences for the use of police power and resources. The rule of law was a component of the narratives of consent but accounts relating to the law and formal governance were sufficiently distinctive and important that they were addressed in the next chapter.

7 Conclusion 

217

Law and Governance Chapter 6 interrogated interviewees’ explanations of the right of police to exercise power founded in law and on the formal oversight and political direction (or governance) of police. Specifically, their accounts were examined to identify the effects of the law, and of the structures and processes of recently reformed police governance, on their attitudes and experiences, to identify the implications this has for police legitimacy. Interviewees asserted that acting within parameters required by law, coupled with the formal accountability and governance systems provided by law, is important in constructing legitimacy. There were indications that some chief officers might be prepared to test the parameters of the law in the pursuit of what they perceived to be public goods, but it is not suggested that this is a widespread or worrying tendency. Interviewees recognised that legality alone does not render uses of power legitimate and law was frequently discussed alongside a moral duty to protect people and policing by consent. This illustrates how interviewees used all three broad categories of understanding of the right to exercise power, which they saw as connected, but also often in tension; as shown by claimed withdrawals of consent following the legal but, interviewees contended, disproportionate use of power in pursuit of some quantitative performance objectives set by central government. But the most worrying finding was that governance arrangements introduced by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, particularly the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners and the few restrictions placed on their powers, including their ability to recruit and remove chief constables, have heightened chief police officers’ anxieties about their job security, career prospects and operational autonomy. The greatest anxieties related to the roles and responsibilities of PCCs, but other institutions in the national policing landscape, notably Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the Home Office were also adding to their sense of precariousness. Together these anxieties about governance may sap chief police officers’ confidence, leading to them failing to resist political directions that undermine civil liberties or prioritise the needs of the

218 

I. Shannon

powerful over those of the marginalised. They may also fail to challenge policies that lead to ineffective policing or neglect the priorities of many people. This endangers legitimacy. As with the other two broad understandings of the right to exercise power there were tensions within the narratives, as whilst governance was viewed by interviewees as a vital component in constructing legitimacy there was considerable resentment of the mechanisms and manner of oversight and an apparent antipathy for some of their overseers. The findings of the previous chapters have been outlined and the three broad understandings of the right to exercise power held by interviewees have been summarised. Some of the key issues that have been highlighted will now be explored further by describing how an archetypal chief police officer might understand the right of police to exercise power.

 ow an Archetypal Chief Police Officer H Understands the Right to Exercise Power The heuristic device of an archetypal chief officer is used to help identify how chief police officers think about the right of police to exercise power. It is contended that this chief officer would have understandings based on a moral duty to protect people, policing by consent and law and formal governance. These broad understandings were set out in earlier chapters and summarised in the preceding sections of this chapter. Such justifications were used, in a variety of ways and with differences of emphasis, by all interviewees. This is arguably not surprising, as these are legitimations that have been widely used and—as was shown in Chap. 2—they reflect themes to be found in influential thinking about legitimacy. Although the emphasis placed on protecting the most vulnerable is new and the omission of broader police objectives (such as a wider duty to protect people and property and to preserve public tranquillity and maintain order) from these justifications was not anticipated when the research was designed. In providing an interpretation of how an archetypal contemporary chief officer might understand the right of police to exercise power, the focus moves beyond the three broad understandings to underlying

7 Conclusion 

219

connecting themes. It is argued that the understandings held by an archetypal chief police officer would be confused, conflicted and convenient in providing them with a privileged position from which to assert their priorities for the use of police power and resources. The confusion and confliction cumulatively contribute to these understandings’ convenience as legitimating narratives. And, as contended earlier, this privileged perspective arises from the utility of the complexity and conflictions of the broad understandings in buttressing challenge. They can be used as rhetorical self-justification to assert that chief officers’ priorities serve a greater moral good and to support chief officers’ claims to expertise in comprehending these difficulties. The complexity and confusion can also render these legitimating accounts so shrouded as to be hard for many people—particularly if they do not have expertise and experience of policing—to see though. This allows arguments supporting chief officers’ priorities to be framed in ways that can be difficult for many people to challenge. This interpretation starts with the confusion that permeated the understandings.

Confused It is argued that an archetypal contemporary chief police officer’s understanding of the right of police to exercise power would be confused. Interviewees’ accounts of a right of police to exercise power based on a duty to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, were confused, partly reflecting the ambiguity of the concept of vulnerability and the complexity of wider discourses of vulnerability (Brown, 2017). This lack of clarity was not so pronounced amongst the 2020 interviewees as it had been in 2016. But ambiguities remained, as did concerns about the efficacy of threat, harm and risk assessments used to identify vulnerability and guide the police response to it. Some interviewees argued that these assessments were subjective and driven not only by a desire to protect people but also by perceived threats to individual police officers and staff, including chief officers, and to the police organisation. Vulnerability priorities also appeared to be conflated with interviewees’ anxieties about police legitimacy arising from previous police failures and scandals, such

220 

I. Shannon

as inadequate police action to tackle child sexual exploitation. Decisions about using power to protect the vulnerable were complicated and confused by persistent worries about managing competing demands, a problem which has arguably been exacerbated by austerity. And it is also not clear what status has been retained by broader traditional police duties to keep the peace and protect people and property (Emsley, 2014; Pratt, 2017); as whilst the discourse of vulnerability appears to have reduced the priority of these broader duties, police still protect many powerful individuals, groups and organisations (probably inevitably and often, arguably, rightly). Examples of prioritising protecting the apparently powerful were provided by interviewees; these included the police response to protests intended to prevent hydraulic fracturing to obtain shale gas (fracking) and windfarm construction. Together these factors paint a perplexing picture of what an archetypal chief officer might mean when using a duty to protect the most vulnerable in society as a justification for the use of police power. And this justification arguably pays insufficient attention to other police objectives that many people are likely to believe remain important. And failing to achieve these objectives may diminish legitimacy. Interviewees’ accounts of consensual policing were also confused, which is probably partly a consequence of the broad and hazy nature of the concept. These accounts encompassed notions of minimal coercion, acting within the law, shared values and trust and an appeal to the founding myths of British policing. These myths were widely used by interviewees, as was demonstrated by frequent references to Peelian principles. Confusion extended to how consent should be gauged and built. The measures described to gauge consent were not primarily designed to identify consent and provided, at best, partial and proxy indicators of consent. Similarly, when it came to building consent, a coherent view was absent, although there was general agreement that conversations with the police’s various publics, often framed as a reified public, were critical. However, the dialogue described appeared ad hoc and inadequate, particularly when it came to conversations with marginalised people, who tend to be policed rather than protected (Loader, 2004). This resonates with Vitale’s (2017) warning from the USA that the views of the socially marginalised are rarely listened to, or sought, by police or by the

7 Conclusion 

221

politicians who direct them. Interviewees also stressed the role of neighbourhood officers in building and gauging consent but whilst the interviews were being conducted in 2016, and since, the numbers of officers engaged in this form of policing have reduced and HMIC (2017) expressed concern about the future of local policing. The Police Foundation (Higgins, 2018) also found that neighbourhood policing continues to be eroded, with traditional priorities of community engagement, visibility, intelligence gathering and local knowledge being displaced by an emphasis on vulnerability and responding to incidents. In part this can be explained by budget reductions, but it is also a choice made by chief officers, PCCs and the Home Office. It would arguably be healthier if ‘taken-for-granted conventions’ (Harre & Bhaskar, 2001, p. 28) about consensual policing were rigorously interrogated (Murray & Harkin, 2017), particularly by those who lead the police service. If these assumptions are not adequately questioned, then confusion is likely to persist and contribute to complacency and to chief officers continuing to listen to the voices of the ‘great and the good’ and ‘deserving victims’, or ‘us’. Consequently, the voice of ‘the policed’, or ‘them’ will be muffled, and it will remain difficult to distinguish active consent from coerced compliance or ‘dull compulsion’ (Carrabine, 2004). Explanations of the right of police to use power based in law and governance were also confused, particularly when operational independence was addressed. Operational independence was repeatedly described as ‘grey’. This confusion arguably reflects how operational independence has evolved from constabulary independence and is now described in the Policing Protocol Order, which is unclear about the parameters of operational independence and accepts that the concept is ‘fluid’ (Home Office, 2011). Interviewees should perhaps have been more concerned about the ambiguity of operational independence, due to the lack of shelter a diminished version of operational independence seems to provide for chief officers, and arguably by extension for their publics, from the potential predations of partisan politics. A clearer delineation of operational independence might also offer chief officers more protection from what they perceived as unreasonable intrusion and scrutiny from their overseers, whose motivations they questioned. Inappropriate partisan interference had been a key concern for the Royal Commission on the Police

222 

I. Shannon

(1962), and this informed the tripartite structure that flowed from the Police Act 1964; albeit there is a debate about the border between legitimate democratic control and accountability and biased governance of policing that threatens civil liberties.1 This confused and potentially precarious position for chief officers is arguably exacerbated by the power of PCCs to set a policing plan (no longer a collaborative venture with chief constables, as it had been with police authorities), control finances and hire and fire chief constables. This may result in a gate that chief officers lack the confidence to guard, leaving an opening through which some politicians might drive objectives that lead to police encroaching on civil liberties (Loader, 2004) whilst turning a deaf ear to the voice of ‘them’.

Conflicted An archetypal chief police officer would also be likely to think about the right to exercise power in ways that could be conflicted, in the tensions between the arguments deployed, in managing competing demands on police power and resources and due to chief officers’ potentially contradictory personal motivations. In Chap. 3 interviewees’ motives for joining the police were explored. They had been attracted to policing by public service and a predilection for excitement, which could be associated with the authority and power involved in policing. These twin attractions, whilst not mutually exclusive, pose a potential paradox for understandings chief officers hold about the right to exercise power. As some interviewees observed, joining the police, and indeed rising through the police ranks, could be an attractive option for bullies or people who wish to use police power for their own corrupt ends. Less malignly (and arguably desirably given their roles inevitably involve coercion and control) most interviewees indicated they did not usually shy from the exercise of power, although their accounts suggested they were becoming increasingly cautious about its use. This wariness appeared to be associated with their anxieties about the consequences of police governance for their operational autonomy and career security and progression. This well-educated elite consistently voiced liberal views that emphasised the importance of public service, human rights and proportionate use of

7 Conclusion 

223

power. Yet, interviewees grappled with tensions between the role of police as a symbolic and practical manifestation of the coercive and controlling power of the state (a power that can arguably be used for good or ill), and traditional legitimating accounts of policing by consent, where the symbolism related to the shared values and experiences of the police and their publics. This emerged from the accounts examined in Chap. 5, which tended to obscure the coercive functions of police and favour a benign and consensual vision of policing. Historically this was probably a deliberate legitimating device, starting with Rowan and Mayne’s Principal Objects of Police in 1829 (Emsley, 2014, p. 12) and repeatedly refreshed, for example, in the rebranding of the Metropolitan Police as a service, rather than a force, following the Wolff Olins report (1988). Contemporary chief officers continue to use consensual narratives but are unable to escape the difficulty of managing and explaining the tension between coercion and consensus, framed by Van Dijk et  al. (2015) as a false dichotomy of control and consensus. Arguably this conflict can only be resolved if chief officers acknowledge and manage the coercive and controlling requirements of policing, rather than concealing them in a consensual haze. Accounts of withdrawn consent provided examples of the conflict between narratives of protecting the vulnerable and consensual policing. This conflict can be seen in the priority many people put on policing the roads contrasted with its striking absence in discussions of vulnerability and the low priority put on it by many PCCs and chief constables (Wells, 2016) and by the Home Office, as shown in its absence from the Strategic Policing Requirement (Home Office, 2015). Conflicts between protection and consent and the difficulty involved in managing competing demands are also shown by interviewees’ concerns about the policing of fracking and windfarms, which some interviewees felt threatened consent, with the sympathies of many local people often favouring protesters, whilst the companies involved in fracking and windfarms appear to be protected (also referred to earlier, to illustrate confusion in the discourse of vulnerability). A conflict between policing by consent and a justification of a right to exercise power founded on the law is illustrated by the anxieties expressed about the damage to legitimacy caused by the arguably largely lawful but

224 

I. Shannon

sometimes disproportionate use of power in the policing of disorder and industrial disputes, notably the disorders in 1981 and 1985 and the miners’ strike of 1984 to 1985. More recent concerns about the conflict between consent and the law were found in accounts about the adverse effects for legitimacy of quantitative performance management, notably in disproportionate, but usually legal, use of power in the pursuit of centrally determined objectives. Examples included the New Labour Government’s Street Crime Initiative and the criminalisation of young people to achieve detection targets. These instances of government-driven initiatives highlight interviewees’ anxieties about police acting as agents of state power in conflict with the interests of many people. In discussions of justifications of the right to exercise power based in law and governance there was a conflict between the consistent claim that formal oversight and democratic political direction provides transparency and promotes proportionate use of power, and the clear worries voiced by interviewees about—what they perceived as—disproportionate scrutiny, and their concerns around the competence and agendas of the scrutineers. These accounts echo Caless’ (2011, p. 233) finding that ‘chief officers dislike oversight and have low opinions of those tasked to oversee them’. There was a theoretical acceptance of scrutiny but exasperation with its practice. The relationship between chief police officers and their overseers appears unhealthy, reflecting conflicts, rather than constructive conversations, between chief officers and their overseers. The confusion and conflict that feature in these accounts also contribute to their convenience as legitimating narratives that can be used by chief officers to advocate their preferences for the use of police power and resources.

Convenient An archetypal chief officer would also be likely to think about the right of police to exercise power in ways that conveniently support them in claiming expertise and a privileged perspective. This assists them in asserting their priorities and preferences for the use of police power, in a manner that many people, particularly those without policing expertise, would find difficult to challenge (Day & Klein, 1987). The very

7 Conclusion 

225

difficulties posed by the ambiguity, complexity and tensions to be found in the three broad legitimating narratives used by interviewees have utility for chief officers as they assert their authority and expertise. These difficulties were found in the vague discourse of vulnerability and in the conceptual haze of consensual policing. The conflicts within the understandings can also be construed as convenient. This was notable in relation to tensions between narratives of coercion and consensus. The narratives of policing by consent arguably conveniently concealed the inevitability of coercion by constructing a coercive ‘then’, juxtaposed with a more consensual ‘now’. Claiming proficiency in navigating this confusion supports chief officers in legitimating their choices for the use of police power. These concerns about the convenience of these legitimating narratives are now explored further, starting with the vulnerability discourse. The obscure discourse of vulnerability provides an opportunity for an archetypal chief officer to assert a privileged and expert standpoint. Protecting the most vulnerable did not feature as a key purpose for policing in the Review of Policing (Flannagan, 2008) or in literature looking at chief officers before 2016. Yet discussion of vulnerability now abounds in policing (HMIC, 2015; National Police Chiefs’ Council [NPCC] and College of Policing, 2021). Vulnerability is an indistinct and changing concept, which can be used to legitimate choices about the exercise of power and the use of police resources made by chief officers, and it may be used in a similar way by PCCs and the Home Office. This discourse can call on convenient ‘folk devil[s]’ (Wells, 2016, p. 278), such as sexual predators, to garner support for the choices made. Yet some groups and individuals that appear vulnerable, for example, those at higher risk of being killed or seriously injured on the roads (World Health Organization, 2013) and victims of burglary or anti-social behaviour (Pratt, 2017), rarely feature in contemporary discussions of vulnerability. Consequentially, the resources put into policing in these areas and the priority given to them may decline, and in the case of roads policing (Wells, 2016) and neighbourhood policing has already done so (HMIC, 2017; Higgins, 2018). These decisions may partly be responses to reduced budgets, but they are still choices, other options could have been pursued. And the concept of vulnerability—and associated threat, harm and

226 

I. Shannon

risk assessments used to identify vulnerability and guide the police response to it—can be used to justify rationing decisions. Although some interviewees suggested that such assessments were subjective and potentially divisive, and they do not seem to have a firm evidence base (Sims, 2019). Hence, chief officers’ conceptualisations of vulnerability can be construed as having conveniently contributed to concealing partial withdrawals from traditional policing priorities, such as burglary, vehicle crime and anti-social behaviour. Meanwhile, issues that the powerful might consider should be the highest priorities for the police, such as terrorism, are given a privileged status (Pratt, 2017). However, failing to direct police power to deal with issues that concern large sections of society, or ‘democratic audiences’ (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, p. 64), may indicate a misalignment of values and priorities between those with power and their subordinates and this can jeopardise legitimacy (Beetham, 1991). Convenience was also apparent in shifts in the discourse of vulnerability. The move from a strand-based approach to vulnerability towards a stance that tends to accept the universality of vulnerability potentially provides a rationale and mechanism which chief officers can use to resist the imposition by government, or PCCs, of objectives and targets that relate to specific offences, offenders or victims. Chief officers broadly shared a construction of a consensual ‘now’, which was contrasted with a more coercive ‘then’. This construction might be viewed as convenient for an archetypal chief officer, in drawing attention away from contemporary challenges to the right of police to use power, such as the delegitimating behaviour of some relatively recent chief officers, including Chief Constable Sean Price in Cleveland, Commander Ali Dizaei in the London Metropolitan Police and Chief Constable Nick Gargan in Avon and Somerset, who were forced to leave the police due to their misconduct. This construction also distances contemporary chief officers from predecessors who were portrayed as more prone to coercion. More widely, accounts of policing by consent, infused with policing myths and invoking dubious narratives of societal consensus (Emsley, 2014), may conveniently cloak the inevitable use of coercion by police (Brodeur, 2007, 2010). An archetypal chief officer would recognise that legitimacy and legality are different and that there can be a conflict between legal and legitimate

7 Conclusion 

227

use of police power. This understanding could be seen in interviewees’ accounts of withdrawn consent, which included examples of legal use of police powers, which they judged were inappropriate and ran counter to the wishes of large numbers of people, particularly when discussing the policing of disorder, industrial disputes and the adverse effects of New Public Management and the pursuit of quantitative performance objectives. Again, a convenient account of ‘better now than then’ was invoked in relation to performance management. It is also notable that the policing of the 1981 and 1985 disorders was constructed as a delegitimating narrative, whilst the 2011 disorders received little comment and when they did it was as a benign contrast with 1981 and 1985. Yet, most interviewees were senior police officers when some of these delegitimating uses of police power occurred (particularly in relation to the tales of the negative consequences of blunt quantitative performance management regimes) and it was not clear what their involvement in directing or mitigating such uses of power was.2 For these apparent errors to be avoided in the future the assumption that the police have the right to exercise power needs to be challenged. Further, the too often taken-for-granted legitimating stories about this supposed right need to be developed or even transformed, rather than just reproduced. Arguably this transformation can start by facing the facets of policing that necessarily involve conflict, coercion and control. As a starting point for such a discussion the implications of this research for the current and future state of policing are now considered.

Implications for the Current and Future State of Policing This section identifies key implications of the findings of this book for the legitimacy of the police in England and Wales. First, the implications for legitimacy of how chief police officers reflect on the use of power and the right to use it will be examined. Second, the consequences for legitimacy of how the concept of vulnerability is understood by chief officers will be considered. Third, the effects of chief officers’ understandings of

228 

I. Shannon

policing by consent have on legitimacy will be assessed. And fourth, the effects of the governance of police on chief police officers and the consequent implications this has for legitimacy will be examined. Interviewees reported spending less time than they wished considering power, how it is used and the right to use it. Further, there appeared to be few structured opportunities for chief police officers to engage in such reflective practice or encouragement for them to do so. This applied to their training (apart from narrow specialist command training, which incorporates consideration of some legal and ethical requirements for the use of power) and socialisation and to their interactions with each other and with those responsible for their oversight. Prior to 2009 HMICFRS (then HMIC) provided an informal mentoring function for chief officers, which had the potential to support such reflection. The meetings between one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and individual chief officers of all ranks, that happened at least once a year prior to 2009, have also been dispensed with. And HMICFRS has arguably adopted a more distanced and arguably formulaic approach to being ‘fierce advocates of the public interest’ (Brain, 2010, pp. 424–425). These developments have limited the opportunity and encouragement for chief officers to discuss and reflect on their use of power with the Inspectorate. The College of Policing also has the potential to support reflection on the use of power, but the College was peripheral to interviewees’ thinking and attempts by the College to embed effective continued professional development for chief officers and aspirant chief officers have, so far, been largely unsuccessful (HMICFRS, 2019). The Strategic Command Course (SCC) is another obvious vehicle for structured discussions about the right to use of power. However, far from encouraging such considerations, the impression given by interviewees was that the SCC tends to entrench elitism and risks escalating feelings of entitlement amongst a group of middle-class and well-educated chief officers, who are far removed from Reiner’s (1991) working-class elite. No data emerged suggesting that PCCs encouraged chief officers’ careful reflection on the use of police power, indeed the populist agendas of some PCCs (Lister & Rowe, 2015) may militate against such considered contemplation. More opportunities for structured reflection might be welcomed by chief officers, improve their decisions and hence benefit the publics they serve.

7 Conclusion 

229

Whilst detailed discussion and reflection on outlooks inspired by Gramsci, Foucault or Habermas seem unlikely to be included in the syllabus of the Strategic Command Course, opportunities for structured discussions and personal reflection that consider critical perspectives may encourage more proportionate and effective use of power. A new discourse of protecting the most vulnerable was a key feature of the first broad category of legitimating narrative that was identified from the interviews in 2016 and looked at in more detail during the interviews in 2020. In 2016 interviewees’ accounts about how decisions are made concerning who is vulnerable and about how police power should be used to protect them were confused and, arguably, obscured by a convenient haze of ambiguity. By 2020 a more consistent view of what vulnerability means in a policing context was provided by interviewees, but ambiguities remained, and some areas of traditional police activity seemed to continue to be marginalised by a discourse of vulnerability, including activities which are likely to prevent serious harm, such as fraud prevention and investigation and roads policing. The assessments used to identify vulnerability and guide police action in response to it remained susceptible to subjective and changing political priorities and the assessment processes still lack a firm evidence base. Interviewees linked protecting the vulnerable to their perceptions of policing purpose. And chief officers’ understandings of policing purpose seem to have drifted, from broad duties to keep the peace and protect life and property, to a seemingly narrower obligation to prioritise the protection of the most vulnerable. This shift has occurred without the meaningful public debate about policing purpose and priorities that Flannagan (2008) recommended. If this drift continues without meaningful conversations with ‘democratic audiences’ (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, p.  64), there is a risk that swathes of people may feel that their priorities for the use of police power are being ignored and their consent (if they currently consent) to the exercise of police power could be withdrawn. Therefore, a debate with the police’s various publics about policing purpose and priorities is desirable and this should include examination of the conceptualisations and practice of the policing of vulnerability. The concept of policing by consent was used by all interviewees to explain the right of police to exercise power. Yet their accounts revealed a

230 

I. Shannon

concept that was so broad and loosely drawn that it could be interpreted as a convenient legitimating narrative, which deploys dubious broader societal discourses of consensus and draws on policing myths (Emsley, 2014) to disguise the inevitability of coercion in policing. However, there were elements of commonality in interviewees’ accounts of consent, notably they all identified conversations or engagement with the public, or publics, as being critical to gauging and building consent to the use of police power, although the dialogues described seemed to be ad hoc and inadequate. This was particularly so for conversations with those over whom power is most frequently exercised. These conversations are not just a matter for chief police officers, the voices of marginalised people and of broader ‘democratic audiences’ (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, p. 64) also need to be heard and responded to by PCCs and the Home Office. It is contended that a failure to do so endangers police legitimacy. Interviewees’ accounts of withdrawn consent reveal a convenient construction of a coercive ‘then’ and a more ‘consensual’ now. This can deflect attention from contemporary uses and abuses of police power, which may serve the interests of the powerful (including chief officers) at the expense of those with less influence. Overall interviewees accepted and deployed a narrative of consensual policing. These assumptions about policing by consent should be challenged and questioned to ensure that proportionate police power is used in the interests of all, not mainly in the interests of an imagined law-abiding and respectable ‘us’ or on behalf of the powerful. The need for such challenge is arguably amplified by the potential risks posed by PCCs pursuing populist agendas to garner votes (Lister & Rowe, 2015). This may lead to PCCs (and other politicians) pressurising chief officers to use disproportionate police power against a conveniently constructed distanced, different and dangerous ‘them’. Interviewees reported that the concept of operational independence was indistinct and poorly defined. Operational independence has diminished substantially since the Police Act, 1964, and the 1968 judgement by Lord Denning in R. v Metropolitan Police, ex parte Blackburn,3 whilst the Policing Protocol Order (Home Office, 2011) draws attention to the importance of operational independence it fails to define it. This ambiguity about, and erosion of, operational independence needs to be seen in the context of anxieties expressed by chief officers, about the mechanisms

7 Conclusion 

231

and manner of their oversight and political direction and the consequences this has for their operational autonomy and career security and progression, which may undermine their confidence, including their confidence to challenge policies or directions that could damage police effectiveness and legitimacy. This research is not alone in finding an apparently fractured relationship between chief police officers and those responsible for their oversight; Caless (2011) and Roycroft (2016) reported similar worries and more recently Cooper (2020) has argued that recent reforms of police governance risk destabilising police leadership. However, this book provides a vivid insight into the levels of anxiety felt by many contemporary chief officers. Yet not all interviewees were in this position, and some had forged pragmatic working relationships with those responsible for police oversight, even if they were concerned that this might not persist. There is a risk that chief officers who feel precarious will become increasingly cautious, indeed risk averse, in their use of power. Whilst caution is arguably preferable to cavalier use of power, in surplus it can be debilitating. Failures to use power may, it is contended, be as damaging as excessive use of power. Chief officers need the confidence to use their power, and what remains of the protection provided by operational independence, to resist partisan policing objectives being imposed, a concern raised by the Final Report of the Royal Commission on the Police (1962). Such partisan, and potentially populist, objectives may encroach on civil liberties (Loader, 2004) and fail to recognise the interests of the marginalised in society. Relationships between chief officers and those responsible for their oversight should not, it is contended, be cosy but nor should they be marred by persistent conflicts and resentments. Arguably these relationships should be characterised by constructive conversations, temperate and thoughtful challenge and democratic direction. A thorough review of the governance of policing and of the concept of operational independence might improve these relationships. And the continuing Home Office (2020) review of the roles and responsibilities of PCCs may facilitate this, as might the Police Foundation’s (2020) ongoing strategic review of policing, both of which were in progress as this book was being written. This book highlights a concern that chief officers are constructing and using legitimating narratives, particularly of consent, and protecting the

232 

I. Shannon

vulnerable that allow them to claim a privileged perspective, which facilitates the pursuit of their personal priorities for the use of power. This could be construed as being in tension with other elements of the findings, which identified that chief police officers perceive themselves as increasingly precarious and consequently they are hesitant to use power as this exposes them to multiple forms of intense, and arguably unreasonable, scrutiny. These findings are not mutually exclusive. Where the agendas of chief officers and PCCs are reasonably comfortably aligned anxieties are mitigated and narratives of vulnerability and consent can be conveniently deployed in the interests of the priorities of both PCCs and chief officers. Where there is the prospect of conflicting agendas these legitimating narratives remain relevant to chief officers as tools to seek to persuade those in oversight to modify their priorities and to gather support from broader audiences. Whether these priorities reflect the wider needs of the police’s various publics is not clear. There are other issues that were raised in this book which were also not resolved and are worthy of further research, and these are considered next.

Areas for Further Research This section proposes areas for further research that are suggested by gaps in knowledge about chief police officers and police legitimacy. These gaps were identified during the work that was conducted for this book. Suggestions include studying how police can effectively engage with their publics; police performance management; shifts in perceived policing purposes; the translation of chief officers’ liberal rhetoric into police policy and practice; and the effects of gendered understandings on the culture or cultures of chief officers. These suggestions are now considered in more detail. As identified when discussing consensual policing, there is a need to improve conversations between police and their publics to gauge and build consent, particularly with people who tend to be policed more than they are protected. There is research in this area, such as Virta and Branders (2016) work on deliberative democracy and the Police Foundation’s efforts to identify what people’s priorities for policing are by

7 Conclusion 

233

using deliberative qualitative methods to ‘understand how people’s views changed in the light of new contextual information’ (Higgins, 2019, p.  4). There is also research being undertaken at the University of Liverpool, as part of the N8 Police Research Partnership, to identify effective methods of public engagement. However, more research to identify effective ways of facilitating these conversations, particularly with marginalised people, might, if acted on, help to address the inequality of arms in discourses of legitimacy identified by Habermas (1976). Interviewees were concerned about the disproportionate use of police power that was, arguably, a consequence of target-based performance management styles associated with New Public Management. However, accounts of blunt quantitative performance approaches were provided which pre-date New Public Management, and some interviewees said these behaviours persist. Although, most interviewees portrayed a more sophisticated and benign approach to current performance management, perhaps understandably as they are now responsible for these processes in their forces. But chief officers do not control government-level developments, and the Home Office appears to be re-exerting influence over the police, in part by using quantitative measures and centralised performance management (Hamilton & Dathan, 2021; Higgins, 2021). It is not clear how chief officers will respond to such pressures. There has been research looking at police performance management, including de Maillard and Savage’s (2021) study of the effects of police performance management on the professional autonomy of investigators and the same authors comparison of police performance management in Britain and France (de Maillard & Savage, 2012). However, there is scope for further research, specifically to identify the extent to which the blunt approaches to managing performance described by interviewees is, or is not, a persistent feature of police management culture, or cultures. Some interviewees suggested that their views about the purpose of policing had changed over the course of their careers. There was insufficient data to judge the extent to which these reported changes reflected variations in society, policing, political priorities or the altered perspective provided by senior rank. There is little research to understand how police officers’ sense of policing purpose develops over time, apart from Charman’s (2017) longitudinal study of very junior police officers.

234 

I. Shannon

Further research to examine how chief police officers develop their sense of policing purpose and understandings of the right to exercise power would help to fill this gap. The justifications of the right to exercise power provided by interviewees were related to their view of what the purposes of the police are. This research revealed a shift from chief officers proposing a broad police purpose and moral duty to protect people and property, to a discourse of prioritising the protection of the most vulnerable. Vitale (2017) advocates an assessment of what police are really for and expresses concerns about a drift from traditional police priorities towards an ill-conceived attempt to deal with a wide array of social ills; this is reminiscent of aspects of the discourse of vulnerability deployed by chief officers. Vitale (2017), Pratt (2017) and Wells (2016, 2018) have identified changes in the police’s priorities, and the Police Foundation have tried to establish what people want police to prioritise (Higgins, 2019). However, it is contended that more research is needed to interrogate why this shift has happened and to test the extent to which the discourse of vulnerability is reflected in practice. It is suggested that such research should also consider how chief police officers’ perceptions of police purposes match the wants and needs of their various publics. This research found that interviewees expressed liberal views that stressed proportionality and human rights, a finding that echoes Punch (2009). However, like Punch (ibid.), this research did not test whether this liberal language was reflected in what chief officers do. Further research would be desirable to establish the relationship between the liberal discourse and the actions of chief officers and the consequences these have for police policy and practice. Several interviewees raised concerns about how gendered attitudes might influence chief police officers’ use of power and their understandings of the right to use it. These accounts were reminiscent of Silvestri’s (2019) description of a police culture that values competitive masculinity. Some interviewees argued that these gendered behaviours and understandings were reinforced by expectations held by those overseeing the police, including HMIC (now HMICFRS), and previously by police authorities, and now by PCCs. However, this research was not designed to collect or interpret information about gendered approaches, and the

7 Conclusion 

235

data gathered on gendered attitudes to power was limited. There is considerable existing research about gendered aspects of police culture or cultures, but this does not directly address the influence of gender on the culture or cultures of chief officers. It is suggested that more research in this area would increase knowledge about the type of people who become chief police officers, and this matters as the type of person who leads a state institution can affect legitimacy, for good or ill (Weber, 1948 [1921]). This book now concludes with a summary of the key findings, recommendations for policy and practice and a call for an informed public debate about the police mission.

Conclusion and Recommendations In explaining the supposed right of police to exercise power interviewees provided explanations based on a moral duty to protect people (particularly the most vulnerable in society), policing by consent and explanations based on law and the governance of the police. However, these legitimating narratives were confused, conflicted and convenient in supporting chief police officers in promoting their preferences for the use of police power and resources. Confusion was evident in interviewees’ accounts of what vulnerability means in a policing context and who is vulnerable or how they are vulnerable was unclear. The priority being given to broader, arguably traditional, duties to keep the peace and protect people (not just those deemed vulnerable) and their property was also obscure. Accounts of consensual policing rested on hazy notions of consent, linked to dubious founding myths of British policing (Emsley, 2014). The need to gauge and build consent through dialogue was recognised but accounts of how this was achieved were confused and unconvincing. When discussing understandings based in law interviewees described a diminished operational independence as ‘grey’ and ‘blurry’, which may have implications for the ability or will of chief officers to resist the imposition of partisan priorities that could infringe civil liberties and undermine police legitimacy. Understandings were also conflicted, notably between a rhetoric of consent and the inevitable police practice of coercion. Narratives of

236 

I. Shannon

vulnerability and policing by consent also clashed, as prioritising privileged categories of vulnerability may not compensate for failing to tackle issues that fall outside these parameters, which are possibly more immediate and important for many people; this may lead to withdrawals of consent. Interviewees worried about managing competing demands, including conflicts between the police as a coercive instrument of state power, and the interests of people who resist aspects of state policies and practices. Interviewees recognised that legality does not equate to legitimacy, but their accounts of withdrawn consent were rich in examples of legal but disproportionate and arguably illegitimate use of police power, some of which they had been involved with. Similarly, interviewees’ recognition that law and governance are important in ensuring police power is used properly sat uncomfortably with their distaste for the processes of scrutiny, which they often perceived as unfair and overly intrusive, and for their scrutineers, whose motives and competence they questioned. These anxieties contributed to interviewees’ perceptions that they were pressured and that their positions were precarious. This has potential consequences for the ability, or willingness, of chief officers to exercise power in the interests of marginalised groups and individuals and to resist demands from powerful people for the disproportionate and partisan use of police power. Accounts of complexity and change can be convenient in helping chief officers assert a privileged perspective and expertise when making decisions about the use of police power and resources. The vagueness of vulnerability and shifting interpretations of what vulnerability means, and the breadth and ambiguity of the concept of policing by consent, may also be used to construct convenient legitimating narratives, which can cloak coercion and control. A leitmotif was a convenient construction of a broadly consensual ‘now’ as a benign counterpoint to a coercive ‘then’, which could be used to draw attention away from contemporary concerns about police legitimacy. Together these legitimating narratives may help chief officers, but also police and crime commissioners and the Home Secretary, to set priorities for the use of police power that are difficult for ‘democratic audiences’ to challenge (Jefferson & Grimshaw, 1984, p. 64), particularly when ‘folk devil[s]’ (Wells, 2016, p. 278) and

7 Conclusion 

237

policing myths (Emsley, 2014) are invoked in attempts to legitimate such agendas. This book has identified several police policy, practice and governance issues that should, it is suggested, be reviewed and amended to enhance police legitimacy. The seven recommendations below are made to address these matters. Some of these recommendations were presented in a paper presented at a police leadership symposium on 8 June 2021, organised by the Police Foundation and supported by the N8 Police Research Partnership (Shannon, 2021b). And aspects of the recommendations and rationales were covered in an earlier paper for Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice (Shannon, 2021a). Interviewees reported they had little support and encouragement to reflect on the exercise of power and the right to use it. And concerns were raised about a growth in parochialism in police governance and appointments, reduced applications for chief officer posts and anxieties manifested by chief officers arising from the effects of police governance on them. Consequently, the following recommendation is made, which also reflects the main findings of the Leading Lights inspection (HMICFRS, 20194). A range of institutions in the national policing landscape are apparently considering how to implement the recommendations made by HMICFRS (2019), but limited practical progress seems to have been made.5 Recommendation One: A national ‘guiding hand’ should be introduced to support the development and selection of chief police officers in England and Wales to, help place the right people into the right chief officer posts, embed continuous professional development, support reflective practice, introduce a formal mentoring system, and improve welfare support for chief officers.

There is a public appetite to be involved in informed discussions of what police do and how they do it (Higgins, 2019). But the mechanisms chief police officers and police and crime commissioners use to engage with their various publics are often inadequate. There have been attempts to develop new approaches, and some have been supported by police and crime commissioners and chief officers (Higgins, 2019), though the

238 

I. Shannon

extent to which these have been implemented is unclear. It is contended that more should be done to promote evidence-based methods of engagement between the police and their various publics. Recommendation Two: Qualitative evidence-based approaches to public engagement, such as deliberative democracy, should be adopted more widely and used to identify the often-differing priorities of people and to gauge their consent to the exercise of power.

The power relationship between chief constables and police and crime commissioners is unduly weighted towards police and crime commissioners; this left many chief constables feeling worried and precarious. Similarly, most deputy chief constables and assistant chief constables were anxious, as these officers’ career prospects and job security are contingent on the views of chief constables and police and crime commissioners, and these deputy and assistant chief constables perceived they had insufficient protection against arbitrary or unfair behaviours. Consequently, it is suggested that these relationships should be moderated by strengthening the roles of police and crime panels and HMICFRS, particularly in relation to decisions to recruit and remove chief officers of all ranks. Whilst arbitrary behaviour and unfair decisions may be relatively rare, more protection is needed. Judicial reviews and four yearly electoral verdicts on the performance of police and crime commissioners are, it is contended, insufficient safeguards. Consequently, the next two recommendations are made. Recommendation Three: The remit of HMICFRS should be extended to inspecting police and crime commissioners. Recommendation Four: The powers and resources available to police and crime panels should be reviewed. The terms of reference should include examining the appropriateness of extending their powers to enable them to exert greater influence over decisions to appoint or dismiss chief officers of all ranks.

The operational independence of chief constables has been significantly diminished by a succession of legislative and administrative

7 Conclusion 

239

changes. The concept of operational independence is also insufficiently defined. The ambiguity of operational independence and the limited protection it offers to chief police officers from partisan political interference risk undermining their confidence and this may have adverse consequences for police effectiveness, civil liberties and legitimacy. It may be appropriate to recognise that there are aspects of operational police activity which should be influenced by democratically decided political priorities and by elected politicians. But these areas should be confined and clearly defined. And where operational decisions are influenced by elected politicians this should be transparent, and the consequent accountability should rest with politicians as well as police. Therefore, the following two recommendations are made. Recommendation Five: The Policing Protocol Order should be reviewed, and consideration given to replacing the chimera of operational independence with a clearer delineation of operational responsibility (Patten, 1999). But with a recognition that leadership of a police force is a collaborative effort, involving the police and crime commissioner, the chief police officer team, and potentially the Home Secretary. Recommendation Six: Individual chief constables and police and crime commissioners should agree protocols for managing operational independence and governance. And supporting national guidelines should be developed.

Chief police officers’ understandings of what vulnerability means in a policing context shifted from the strand-based understandings that were expressed in the interviews in 2016, to interpretations of vulnerability that largely accepted the universality of vulnerability in 2020. Although ambiguities remain, some types of threats continue to have a privileged status in terms of the priority given to them by police and politicians. This apparent shift may be an opportunity to reassess the use of the lexicon of vulnerability in policing and to consider simpler messages about the police mission. Possibly with a return to traditional accounts about protecting people (we are all vulnerable) and property and keeping the peace. But any change in policing priorities, and in interpretations of the policing mission, should not just be a decision for the police and for

240 

I. Shannon

those responsible for their formal oversight and political direction. Consequently, the following recommendation is made. Recommendation Seven: There should be an informed political and public debate in England and Wales about the purposes of the police and their priorities. The Police Foundation’s Strategic Review (2020) may serve as a starting point for such discussions. But broad political support, and backing from institutions across the national policing landscape, will be needed if this is to result in a meaningful debate between individuals and bodies responsible for the oversight and political direction of police, nationally and locally, and the police and their various publics. Such a debate may bring clarity to the mission of the police and consequently enhance police legitimacy.

This book has interrogated often taken-for-granted assumptions about, and chief police officers’ claims to, the right of police to exercise power. This included examination of the drift from a conceptualisation of the right of police to exercise power based on a broad duty to protect, to a discourse of protecting the most vulnerable. Legitimating narratives of consent were assessed, and questions were posed about the role that they can play in obscuring the coercive features of policing, as it may be better to accept and control coercion, rather than to cloud its inevitable use. Justifications for the use of power based on law and the oversight and political direction of police were examined, revealing damaged processes of police governance that risk undermining police leadership and legitimacy. Finally, the confused, conflicted and convenient understandings of the right of police to exercise power held by chief police officers in England and Wales may support them in asserting a privileged position from which they can pursue their priorities for the use of police power and resources. This exposes the need for a thoughtful and informed public debate about the purpose of policing and the use of police power.

7 Conclusion 

241

Notes 1. For example, the view put forward by Jefferson and Grimshaw (1984) can be contrasted with the opinions voiced by Mark (1977, pp. 34–43). 2. I was a chief officer for more than eight years and in other senior ranks for longer, and therefore I had the power to mitigate some of these behaviours. I hope I did but I wonder whether I did as much as I should have. 3. R. v Metropolitan Police, ex parte Blackburn (1968) 2 QB 118, 135–136. 4. I led the team that conducted this inspection. 5. Based on personal communication between the author and individuals in institutions in the national policing landscape and on an absence of developed policies and actions to respond to the recommendations.

References Beetham, D. (1991). The legitimation of power. Macmillan. Bittner, E. (1974). Florence Nightingale in pursuit of Willie Sutton: A theory of the police. In H. Jacob (Ed.), The potential for reform of criminal justice. Sage. Bottoms, A. E., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: A dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102(1), 119–170. Brain, T. (2010). A history of policing in England and Wales: A turbulent journey. Oxford University Press. Brodeur, J.-P. (2007). An encounter with Egon Bittner. Crime, Law and Social Change, 48(1), 105–132. Brodeur, J.-P. (2010). The policing web. Oxford University Press. Brown, K. (2017). The governance of vulnerability: Regulation, support and social divisions in action. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 37, 667–682. Butler, J. (2004). Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence. Verso. Caless, B. (2011). Policing at the top: The roles, values and attitudes of chief police officers. The Policy Press. Carrabine, E. (2004). Power, resistance and discourse: A genealogy of the strangeways prison Riot. Ashgate. Charman, S. (2017). Police socialisation, identity and culture: Becoming blue. Palgrave Macmillan.

242 

I. Shannon

Cooper, S. (2020). Police and crime commissioners: A corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability? Criminal Law Review, 4, 291–305. Day, P., & Klein, R. (1987). Accountabilities five public services. Tavistock Publications. de Maillard, J., & Savage, S. P. (2012). Comparing performance: The development of police performance management in France and Britain. Policing and Society, 22(4), 363–382. de Maillard, J., & Savage, S.P. (2021). Performance management meets professional autonomy: Performance management and professional discretion within police investigation departments. Policing and Society. On line first. https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2021.1888949 Dehaghani, R. (2019). Vulnerability in police custody: Police decision making and the appropriate adult safeguard. Routledge. Durkheim, E. (1992 [1957]). Professional ethics and civil morals: With a new preface by B.S. Turner. Routledge Emsley, C. (2014). Peel’s principles, police principles. In J.  Brown (Ed.), The future of policing (pp. 11–22). Routledge. Flannagan, R. (2008). The review of policing, Final Report. Retrieved March 01, 2020, from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20080901215130/ http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/police-­reform/Review_of_ policing_final_report/ Habermas, J. (1976). Legitimation crisis. Heinemann Educational Books. Hamilton, F., & Dathan, M. (2021). Priti Patel plans police league tables as serious crime crackdown starts. The Times, 22/04/2022. Retrieved April 04, 2022, from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-­league-­tables-planned-­as-­ serious-­crime-­crackdown-­starts-­3t587397k Harre, R., & Bhaskar, R. (2001). How to change reality: Story v. structure—a debate between Rom Harre and Roy Bhaskar. In J. Lopez & G. Potter (Eds.), After postmodernism, an introduction to critical realism (pp.  22–39). The Athlone Press. Higgins, A. (2018). The future of neighbourhood policing. Retrieved April 24, 2021, from http://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2017/wp-­content/ uploads/2010/10/TPFJ6112-­Neighbourhood-­Policing-­Report-­WEB.pdf Higgins, A. (2019). Understanding the public’s priorities for policing. Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2017/wp-­content/ uploads/2010/10/understanding-­public-­priorities-­final.pdf

7 Conclusion 

243

Higgins, A. (2021). Crime targets are back: What’s the plan Bob? Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://www.police-­foundation.org.uk/2021/04/crime-­ targets-­are-­back-­whats-­the-­plan-­bob/ HMIC. (2015). PEEL: Police effectiveness (vulnerability). Retrieved March 01, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-­content/ uploads/police-­effectiveness-­vulnerability-­2015.pdf HMIC. (2017). State of policing—The annual assessment of policing in England and Wales 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­c ontent/uploads/state-­o f-­p olicing-­2 016-­ double-­page.pdf HMICFRS. (2019). Leading lights: An inspection of the police service’s arrangements for the selection and development of chief officers. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-­content/ uploads/leading-­l ights-­i nspection-­p olice-­a rrangements-­s election-­ development-­chief-­officers.pdf Hobbes, T. (1968 [1651]). Leviathan, or the matter, forme & power of a Commonwealth ecclesiasticall and Civil. Pelican Books. Home Office. (2011). Policing protocol order. Retrieved April 26, 2020, from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2744/made Home Office. (2015). The strategic policing requirement. Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategic-­policing­requirement Home Office. (2020). Priti Patel to give public greater say over policing through PCC review. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/priti-­p atel-­t o-­g ive-­p ublic-­g reater-­s ay-­o ver-­p olicingthrough-­pcc-­review Hough, M., & Maffei, S. (2013). Trust in justice: Thinking about legitimacy. Criminology in Europe: The Newsletter of the European Society of Criminology, 2, 4–10. Jefferson, T., & Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the constable. Frederick Muller Limited. Lister, S., & Rowe, M. (2015). Electing police and crime commissioners in England and Wales: Prospecting for the democratisation of policing. Policing and Society, 25(4), 358–377. Loader, I. (2004). Policing, securitisation and democratisation in Europe. In T. Newburn & R. Sparks (Eds.), Criminal justice and political cultures. Willan. Mark, R. (1977). Policing a Perplexed Society. George Allen & Unwin.

244 

I. Shannon

Murray, K., & Harkin, D. (2017). Policing in cool and hot climates: Legitimacy, power and the rise and fall of mass stop and search in Scotland. British Journal of Criminology, 57(4), 885–905. National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing. (2021). National vulnerability action plan (NVAP) Revised 2020–2022 v.2. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.npcc.police.uk/Crime%20Ops%20 Committee/NVAP.pdf Patten, C. (1999). A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland: The Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, London: HMSO Phoenix, J. (2002). In the name of protection: Youth Prostitution policy reforms in England and Wales. Critical Social Policy, 22(2), 353–375. Police Foundation. (2020). Public safety and security in the 21st Century: The first report of the strategic review of policing in England and Wales. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from https://policingreview.org.uk/wp-­content/ uploads/phase_1_report_final-­1.pdf Pratt, J. (2017). Risk control, rights and legitimacy in the limited liability state. British Journal of Criminology, 57(6), 1322–1399. Punch, M. (2009). Police corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Willan Publishing. Reiner, R. (1991). Chief constables. Oxford University Press. Royal Commission on the Police. (1962). Final Report of the Royal Commission on the Police. 1962, HC, Cmnd. 1728 Roycroft, M. (2016). Police Chiefs in the UK: Politicians, HR Managers or Cops? Palgrave Macmillan. Shannon, I. (2021a). Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales: Implications for police legitimacy. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 5(2), 912–926. Shannon, I. (2021b). Legitimacy, leadership and governance. Police Foundation (Leadership Symposium Paper, to be published online) Silvestri, M. (2019). In search of diversity: An embodied account of police leadership. In P. Ramshaw, M. Silvestri, & M. Simpson (Eds.), Police leadership, changing landscapes (pp. 99–120). Palgrave Macmillan. Sims, G. (2019). Perennial problems: The need for capability improvement in policing. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from http://www.excellenceinpolicing.org. uk/wp-­content/uploads/2019/09/1-­5_Perennial-­Problems_Updated.pdf Tyler, T. R. (1990). Why people obey the law. Yale University Press.

7 Conclusion 

245

Van Dijk, K.  A., Hoogenwoning, F., & Punch, M. (2015). What matters in policing. Polity Press. Virta, S., & Branders, M. (2016). Legitimate security. British Journal of Criminology, 56(6), 1146–1164. Vitale, A. S. (2017). The end of policing. Verso. Weber, M. (1948 [1921]). Politics as a vocation. In H.H. Gerth & C. Wright Mills (eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 77–127). Routledge and Kegan Paul Weber, M. (1949). The methodology of the social sciences. Free Press. Wells, H. (2016). PCCs, roads policing and the dilemmas of increased democratic accountability. British Journal of Criminology, 56(2), 274–292. Wells, H. (2018). The Angered versus the endangered: PCCs, roads policing and the challenges of assessing and representing public opinion. British Journal of Criminology, 58(2), 95–113. Wolff Olins. (1988). A force for change: A report on the corporate identity of the Metropolitan Police. Wolff Olins. World Health Organization. (2013). Global status report on road safety 2013: Supporting a decade of action. WHO.

Index1

A

Accountability, vi, 1, 6–8, 10, 20, 21, 36, 43, 44, 99, 116, 133, 137–141, 177, 178, 181, 183, 185, 189, 191, 199, 200, 217, 222, 239

Bowling, B., 31, 65, 71, 86, 88, 98, 105, 131, 132, 135, 183 Brodeur, J.P., 3, 31, 52, 65, 71, 102, 106, 131, 135, 166, 212, 216, 226 Bureaucracy, 177, 180 bureaucratic controls, 12, 34, 200

B

Beetham, D., 3, 17, 18, 30, 35–36, 38, 43–45, 107, 121, 136, 154, 177, 183, 184, 187, 198–200, 212, 226 Bentham, J., 32, 33 Bhaskar, R., 13, 14, 42, 221 Bittner, E., 31, 102, 106, 112, 131, 135, 166, 216

C

Caless, B, 9, 10, 52, 58, 63, 66, 70, 74, 86, 98, 132, 160, 161, 184, 187, 210, 224, 231 Carrabine, E., 20, 33, 130, 148, 166, 216, 221 Charman, S., 11, 61, 112, 113, 233 Chief police officer(s)

 Note: Page numbers followed by ‘n’ refer to notes.

1

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 I. Shannon, Chief Police Officers’ Stories of Legitimacy, Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85879-7_7

247

248 Index

Chief police officer(s) (cont.) anxieties, 5, 21, 116, 122, 132, 154, 160, 166, 167, 176, 187, 192, 193, 195–200, 211, 216, 217, 219, 222, 223, 230–232, 236, 237 archetypal, 21, 201, 210, 218–220, 222, 224–226 Assistant Chief Constable(s) (ACC), 3, 14, 15, 53, 72, 73, 76n4, 84, 107, 108, 114, 136, 140, 143–145, 148, 193, 196, 201, 238 assistant commissioner(s) (AC), 4, 188 backgrounds, 3, 7, 13, 18, 44, 45, 51–76, 82, 160, 184, 213 career security, 176, 195–198, 222, 231 chief constable(s) (CC), 2, 44, 52, 84, 131, 176, 209 commander(s), 57, 58, 147 Commissioner, 31, 135, 187, 195 deputy assistant commissioner(s) (DAC), 53, 84 Deputy Chief Constable(s) (DCC), 3, 14, 15, 53, 57, 59, 72, 73, 84, 136, 137, 146, 163, 193, 196, 201, 238 development, 4, 7, 9, 56–58, 70, 132, 228, 237 literature, 6–12, 29, 31, 92, 211, 225 motivations, 3, 18, 44, 51–76, 82, 213, 221, 222 socialisation, 9, 55–58, 209, 228 training, 9, 56–58, 71 Civil liberties, 1, 13, 21, 22, 39, 176, 190, 194, 200, 217, 222, 231, 235, 239

Coercion, v, 3, 20, 21, 37, 42, 66, 82, 83, 87, 119, 121, 129–131, 133–135, 138, 149, 155, 158, 165, 210, 212, 215, 220, 222, 223, 225–227, 230, 235, 236, 240 College of Policing, 16, 21, 69, 74, 89–93, 95, 97, 99, 114, 115, 121, 188, 189, 192, 225, 228 Communicating consultation, 143 conversations, 139–141 engagement, 140, 142 Community policing, 7, 132, 141–143 neighbourhood policing, 61, 132, 141–143, 157, 166, 221, 225 Compliance, 31, 34, 35, 37, 38, 40, 41, 43, 147–149, 166, 200, 212, 216, 221 Compulsion, 148, 149 Conflicted understandings, v, 210, 235, 240 Confused understandings, v, 210, 211, 240 Consensual policing, see Policing by consent Consent, see Policing by consent Constabulary independence, see Operational independence Control, v, 2, 3, 5, 7, 20, 34, 61, 64, 68, 75, 82, 87, 119, 135, 136, 150, 161, 167, 177, 184, 187, 215, 222, 223, 227, 233, 236, 240 Convenient understandings, v, 210, 225, 240 Cooper, S., 2, 5, 10, 21, 44, 56, 74, 161, 185–187, 193, 201, 231

 Index 

Crime acquisitive, 102, 109, 143, 199 burglary, 102, 225, 226 child sexual exploitation (CSE), 71, 89, 90, 92, 95, 100–102, 104, 107, 110, 119, 165, 215, 220 domestic abuse, 89, 90, 95, 101, 104, 115, 119, 215 fraud, 102, 105, 214, 229 modern slavery, 94, 102, 104, 105 robbery, 102, 161 terrorism, 71, 101, 109, 110, 226 vehicle, 102, 226 Critical perspectives, 2, 229 Critical realism, 13, 14 Culture(s) police, vi, 53, 64, 67–71, 76, 102, 234, 235 political, 61 societal, 61

249

of vulnerability, 19, 21, 86, 88–93, 95, 96, 105, 107, 119, 120, 122, 210, 215, 220, 223, 225, 226, 229, 234 Disorder, 7, 156, 157, 160, 162, 167, 182, 183, 216, 224, 227 Distributive justice, 41, 194, 198 Durkheim, E., 17, 30, 34–37, 40, 43, 65, 183, 212 Duty legal, 181, 200 moral, 12, 21, 29, 81, 92, 93, 210, 217, 218, 234, 235 normative, 19, 129, 133, 199 E

Emsley, C., 31, 39, 42, 86, 106, 123n1, 130–132, 138, 166, 215, 220, 223, 226, 230, 235, 237

D

F

Dehaghani, R., 19, 83, 87, 88, 94, 113, 116, 119, 198, 215 Deliberative democracy, 151, 168n2, 232, 238 Democratic control, 222 direction, 43, 65, 183, 184, 190, 200, 231 mandate, 137, 178, 179, 189, 190 oversight, 43, 65, 183, 186, 194, 199 Discourse inequality of arms in, 151, 233 parity of power in, 38 of policing by consent, 84, 130

Flannagan, R., 89, 92, 113, 119, 225, 229 Fleming, J., 10, 52, 72 Foucault, M., 30, 38, 39, 42, 87, 177, 229 G

Gender(ed) assertive masculinity, 67 competitive masculinity, 69, 70, 75, 213, 234 understandings of power, 66–71 Goldsmith, A., 36, 41, 43, 153, 194, 198, 199

250 Index

Governance chief police officers’ accounts of, 134–138, 188–192 chief police officers’ anxieties and worries about, 192 oversight and political direction of police, v, 2, 4, 29, 51, 65, 83, 122, 130, 168, 175, 199, 201, 210, 212, 217, 240 police, v, 5, 9, 10, 16, 19–21, 43, 57, 58, 67, 71, 74, 83, 116, 134, 138, 175, 176, 183–188, 198–201, 210, 217, 222, 231, 237, 240 Gramsci, A., 30, 37, 38, 177, 229 Grimshaw, R., 2, 20, 43, 107, 109, 111, 133, 141, 168, 177, 184, 193, 201, 226, 229, 230, 236, 241n1 H

Habermas, J., 3, 17, 30, 38, 42, 151, 177, 198, 212, 229, 233 Harm, see Threat, harm, and risk Hegemony, 37, 38 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 15, 22n2, 68, 89, 92, 95, 111, 114, 132, 142, 144, 161, 163, 164, 166, 182, 187, 191, 192, 195, 197, 221, 225, 228, 234 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), 3–5, 16, 21, 22n2, 56, 57, 69–71, 74, 91, 97, 99, 102, 111, 115, 121, 130, 132, 133,

137, 163, 185–187, 189, 191, 192, 195–197, 199, 201, 217, 228, 234, 237, 238 Higgins, A., 6, 142, 164, 166, 167, 169n3, 199, 221, 225, 233, 234, 237 Hillsborough disaster, 5, 184 Hobbes, T., 17, 30, 32, 35, 37, 38, 43, 99, 135, 212 Home Office, 2, 8, 16, 21, 54, 56, 57, 61, 66, 94, 97, 99, 104, 110–112, 123n1, 130–134, 136, 138, 141, 161, 163–165, 167, 182, 185, 189–191, 193, 195, 197, 201, 217, 221, 223, 225, 230, 231, 233 Home Secretary, 4, 55, 57, 62, 89, 94, 104, 107, 133, 142, 163, 164, 180, 185–187, 189, 191, 194, 236, 239 Hough, M., 30, 34, 40, 43, 152, 198, 212 Human rights, 55, 58, 180, 222, 234 I

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), 16, 21, 187, 189, 192, 195, 197, 217 Independent Police Commission, 5, 30, 32, 33, 89, 132, 142, 194 Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), 187, 195, 197 Industrial disputes, 7, 155–157, 160, 167, 216, 224, 227

 Index 

251

J

M

Jay, A., 89, 92, 95 Jefferson, T., 2, 20, 43, 107, 109, 111, 133, 141, 168, 177, 184, 193, 201, 226, 229, 230, 236, 241n1

Maffei, S., 30, 34, 40, 43, 152, 198, 212 Marx, K., 30, 37 Meritocracy, 63, 159, 160 Methodology, 6, 13–17, 52, 83–85, 188, 211 Metropolitan Police, 31, 66, 86, 131, 135, 223, 230 Mill, J.S., 30, 32, 33, 39, 99 Miners’ Strike, 7, 155, 156, 184, 224 Mulcahy, A., 3, 8, 9, 52, 55, 58, 62, 132, 160, 184

L

Law legal, 107, 176, 177, 179–181 legality, 144, 176, 181–183, 200, 217, 226, 236 rule of, 20, 133, 136, 138, 165, 178, 215, 216 Leaders, 7, 10, 11, 22n1, 33, 44, 45, 51–53, 55, 66, 67, 96–98, 104, 183, 212 Leadership, v, 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 16, 21, 22, 33, 34, 37, 44, 52, 66, 67, 69, 74, 94, 187, 188, 231, 237, 239, 240 Legitimacy confidence, 33, 201 dialogic, 43, 109, 141 legitimation crisis, 38, 42 trust, 31, 40 Liberal elite, 55–56 outlook, 229 views, 55, 82, 222, 234 Lister, S., 5, 16, 99, 185, 186, 191, 193, 201, 228, 230 Loader, I., 3–5, 8, 9, 12, 39, 42, 44, 45, 52, 55, 58, 61, 62, 132, 134, 150, 160, 176, 184, 190, 194, 195, 201, 220, 222, 231 Loveday, B., 2, 4, 5, 184–186, 201

N

National Crime Agency (NCA), 16, 56, 99, 100, 113 National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), 8, 31, 66, 89–94, 97, 115, 121, 132, 187, 196, 225 New Public Management, 7, 8, 10, 161, 164, 165, 167, 216, 227, 233 See also Police, performance management O

Operational independence, 3, 8, 9, 21, 176–178, 184–186, 192–194, 199, 201, 210, 221, 230, 231, 235, 238, 239 Operational responsibility, 239 Oversight, see Governance

252 Index P

Patten, C., 184, 193, 239 Peel’s/Peelian Principles, 39, 42, 123n1, 131, 133, 134, 136, 138, 139, 141, 142, 149, 220 Police budgets, 6, 19, 82, 185–187, 193, 221, 225 conduct, 4, 71 corruption, 158 effectiveness, 1, 12, 45, 95, 176, 184, 186, 231, 239 efficiency, 186 funding, 6, 93, 111, 142 misconduct, 226 performance management, 161–165, 167, 232, 233 policy, vi, 2, 15, 22, 85, 88, 92, 95, 113, 232, 234, 237 practice, vi, 63, 76n2, 90, 119, 133, 135, 142, 211, 229, 235 reform, 5, 11, 175, 184, 217, 231 research, vi, 5, 11, 12, 16, 17, 22, 39, 52, 55, 64, 109, 118, 135, 153, 188, 201, 233, 234 Police Act, 1964, 184, 186, 222, 230 Police and Crime Commissioner(s) (PCC), 5, 16, 21, 56, 57, 68, 70, 71, 75, 96, 107, 110, 111, 114, 138, 141, 142, 144, 150, 151, 163, 165, 168n2, 176, 185–191, 193–199, 201, 213, 217, 221–223, 225, 226, 228, 230–232, 234, 236–239 Police and Crime Panel(s) (PCPs), 185, 193, 201, 238 Police Authority/authorities, 7, 57, 68, 107, 141, 165, 184–186, 189, 190, 196, 222, 234

Police Foundation, The, 6, 61, 72, 89, 98, 106, 122, 132, 221, 231, 232, 234, 237, 240 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, 2011 (PRSRA), 9, 56, 57, 176, 184–187, 190, 191, 193–194, 196, 211, 217 Policing by consent building, 20, 129, 136, 137, 139, 141, 143–147, 151, 152, 155, 163, 166, 212, 220, 221, 230, 232, 235 coerced, 147–149, 166, 216 dull compulsion, 20, 33, 130, 148, 149, 166, 221 gauging, 18, 20, 44, 130, 143–147, 151–153, 166, 168, 212, 220, 221, 230, 232, 235, 238 hazy, 20, 138–139, 235 informed, 148–149 withdrawn, 3, 5, 20, 42, 121, 129, 131, 154–161, 165, 167, 182, 198, 200, 216, 217, 223, 227, 230, 236 Policing Protocol Order, 184, 193, 221, 230, 239 Political direction, see Governance Politically privileged threats, 93–94 Power abuse of, 3, 5, 43, 63, 187, 188 legitimate, 17, 32, 34, 36, 38, 52, 65, 93, 96, 102, 109, 122, 144, 180, 182, 183, 200, 210, 212, 217, 226 police, v, 2–4, 6, 7, 12, 13, 19, 21, 30, 42–44, 52, 63, 65, 66, 75, 81–83, 88, 90–93, 99,

 Index 

107, 109, 115, 122, 130–133, 136, 143, 144, 147, 150, 152, 157, 158, 162, 165–168, 176–178, 180, 182, 199, 200, 211, 213, 215, 216, 219, 220, 222, 224–230, 233, 235, 236, 240 state, 3, 6, 30, 34, 38, 99, 156, 224, 236 Power/service paradox, 62–66 Procedural justice, 4, 30, 33, 34, 36, 39–41, 130, 137, 152–154, 167 Protecting people, v, 1, 3, 12, 21, 32, 34, 44, 51, 58, 59, 65, 71, 76, 81–122, 136, 137, 168, 176, 179, 184, 210, 214–215, 218, 220, 234, 239 property, v, 21, 86, 92, 118, 122, 218, 220, 229, 234, 239 R

Reflective practice, 18, 69, 73, 74, 228, 237 Reiner, R., 2, 7–9, 11, 16, 18, 39, 41, 42, 44, 52–58, 60, 61, 64, 66, 75, 86, 94, 98, 99, 130–133, 135, 146, 187, 188, 198, 209, 213, 228 Reis, Jr, A.J., 3, 31, 52 Reuss-Ianni, E., 11 Risk, see Threat, harm, and risk Road safety, 102, 103, 214 Rowe, M., 5, 186, 228, 230

253

Royal Commission on the Police, 44, 193, 199, 221, 231 Roycroft, M., 9, 10, 86, 98, 123n1, 132, 231 Runciman, D., 30, 32, 33 S

Savage, S., 8, 9, 16, 52, 58, 86, 98, 132, 184, 188, 193, 233 Silvestri, M., 11, 66, 67, 69, 70, 75, 213, 234 Stallion, S., 7, 8, 10, 161 Strategic Command Course (SCC), 9, 57, 58, 68, 69, 73, 74, 228, 229 Surveillance covert, 31 intrusive, 2, 31 T

Tankebe, J., 18, 31, 36, 40, 43, 109, 141, 212 Threat, harm, and risk identifying, 113–118 management of risk in law enforcement (MoRiLE) assessments, 113 National Decision Model (NDM), 114 threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability, and engagement (THRIVE) assessments, 89, 114 Tyler, T.R., 18, 31, 33, 40, 41, 43, 137, 152, 212

254 Index

policy, 85, 88–93, 113 prioritisation, 19, 82, 84, 93, 94, 103, 110–113, 120 rationing, 19, 82, 87, 92, 93, 111, 113, 226 vague, 88, 225, 236

U

Utilitarianism, 32–33, 35, 40 V

Violence legitimate, 3, 31, 102, 180 virtuous, 33, 42 Vulnerability ambiguous, 19, 82, 84, 88, 90, 96, 100–109, 118, 119, 122, 129, 143, 215, 216, 219, 229, 239 complex, 6, 87–88, 91, 98, 100, 108, 118, 219 divergent police responses to, 84, 93, 96–97

W

Wall, D.S., 7–10, 44, 52, 54, 55, 57, 58, 62, 69, 86, 161, 195 Weber, M., 6, 17, 18, 30, 31, 33–38, 40, 43, 44, 51, 99, 177, 187, 200, 209, 212, 235 Wells, H., 82, 107, 143, 223, 225, 234, 236