Wells, HM (2015) Grey areas and fine lines: negotiating operational independence in the era of the police and crime commissioner. Safer Communities, 14 (4). pp. 193-202.

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Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to explore the negotiation of boundaries of strategic vs operational responsibility between Chief Constables and Police Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

Design/methodology/approach
– The discussion reflects on interviews with Chief Constables (n=11) and PCCs (n=11) in matched pairs, exploring the relationship between the two figures, specifically in relation to the issue of the operational independence of the Chief Constable in the new accountability structure.

Findings
– The findings demonstrate that experiences vary and depend on the particular personalities and experience of the individuals involved. PCCs were particularly likely to test the boundary of operational vs strategic responsibility in relation to issues which had been brought to their attention by members of their electorate.

Research limitations/implications
– Future research could seek a larger sample as it is possible that those areas where real tensions existed declined to participate. Given the findings, it would also be informative to revisit the topic in the run-up to the next PCC elections.

Social implications
– The (re)negotiation of boundaries may become the norm given that both roles are subject to reassignment at short notice, and may become particularly salient in the run-up to future PCC elections. Crucial policing decisions which affect everyone are inevitably influenced by these background negotiations.

Originality/value
– Previous research has not been based on interviews with both PCCs and their respective Chief Constables, and hence there is dearth of material which reflects on the relationships between these two powerful individuals and their ongoing negotiations of issues with real practical and conceptual implications.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountability, (Re)election, Chief Constable, Electoral accountability, Operational independence, Police and crime commissioner
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2015 09:45
Last Modified: 15 May 2019 15:29
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/778

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