In a modern society, police have important roles play in preventing and managing crimes. The police are in good position to learn and investigate crimes and threats because they have available resources to ensure that communities are protected from vulnerable targets. However, changes and multi-dynamic complexities within a given society have necessitated police force to develop partnership relationships with various public agencies to enhance prevention of crimes and security matters within a society. (Clarke and Newman, 2007). Partnership working or partnership approach is largely based on the premises that only police force could not deal with the crime and complex safety problems within a community. Partnership working is defined as the cooperative relationships between two or more organizations with the aim to achieve common goals such as tackling the crime problems in a society. Partnership working with the goal to tackle crimes is now strongly embedded in the methods the local governments in the United States and United Kingdom use to enhance community safety. Organizations such as police forces, police authorities, fire services, health trusts and local governments or local councils have realized that partnership working is the effective tools to combat crimes in their respective communities. (Berry, Briggs, Erol et al. 2011).
There are number of issues leading to partnership working. In many cases, there are legal duties that oblige agencies to work together. On the other hand, agencies within local communities engage in partnership working because it is the most effective and efficient way to tackle crimes and address community problems. Jacobs (2010) argues that partnerships association between police and other agencies are the tools to tackle complex problems in the society, which include anti-social behavior induced by the alcohol and drug use. Typically, partnership working is geared to decline complex and social problems within a society.
Despite the importance of partnership working in addressing the crime problems and achieve community goals, there are still no yet comprehensive research studies on partnership working. Typically, there is a paucity of studies that synthesis the research evidence on partnership working in a way that would be available for policy makers and practitioners to implement changes in the society. This study attempts to fill this gap by providing a systematic research on partnership working. To achieve the research objective, the study sought to address the following research question.
What issues does partnership-working present for police managers, and how might these be overcome?
The paper is structured in the following format to answer the research question. First, the study discusses the theoretical framework surrounding the partnership working. Moreover, the study investigates the issues that partnership working presents for police managers. Finally, the paper provides the strategies police managers could employ to overcome the issues.
To address the research question, the paper reviews the theoretical framework surrounding the partnership working.
Theory of Partnership Working
Theory of partnership working is based on the perspective that there is a need for multi-agency models to reduce crimes in a given society. Developing a joint approach has been an effective strategy to deliver a sustainable and lasting method to achieve a community improvement. Various partnership working brought about by the governments are to focus on crime reduction as well as addressing the anti-social behaviors in a community. (Home Office, 2007).
The U.S. theoretical perspective to forming multi-agency model to enhance crime reduction identifies frameworks, which underlies the effective police partnership approach:
Drug and crime problems are becoming more complex and require innovative comprehensive and complex solutions;
Partnerships are more appropriate and better to define and identify greatest community problems and concern;
Partnerships are better than a single agency to develop a target and creative interventions to control and prevent crimes because they bring together different and diverse approaches;
Multiple interventions to crime control are more effective than interventions of single agency because partnerships are more likely to undertake greater numbers of crime preventions;
Multiple interventions are likely yield greater benefits than single agency. (Rosenbaum, 2002, Berry, et al. 2011).
Using the theoretical framework, the paper addresses the issues that partnership-working present for police managers.
Issues that Partnership Working Present for Police Managers
In the contemporary police practice, the roles of a police manager are to design and formulate goals to meet the needs and expectation of stakeholders such as employees and members of the community. Stakeholders who may also be affected by the roles of police force are various groups and individuals, which include correctional agencies, private police, business and industry, political leaders, and other governmental agencies. More importantly, the role of police managers is to formulate policy to achieve community expectations and part of the strategies to achieve community expectations is through partnership working. Although, there are benefits that police force could enjoy from partnership working, however, there are still issues that partnership working presents to police managers and some of these issues are discussed below:
Mechanisms to Achieve Better Partnership Working
One of the pressing issues that could face a police manager is the strategy to implement effective partnership working to assist police force to combat crime within a given community. In the United States, many police managers understand that it is very important for police authorities and other agencies and organizations to work together in order to tackle crimes in a given society. Police managers also understand that partnership working is an effective strategy to reduce crimes and enhance community safety. However, challenges remain; police managers still face the issues of choosing the best strategy to adopt to derive the best from partnership working. After forming partnership with government agencies, public and private organizations, police manager are still facing the issues on choosing the best strategies:
To ensure that partnership working functions to an acceptable level of performances;
To enable communities to derive benefits from the partnership association formed with other agencies;
To involve local communities in shaping local priorities;
To support the development knowledge and skills across all partnership organizations;
To enhance partnership accountability in order to address crime and disorder. (Home Office, 2007).
Apart from the issues enumerated above, other challenging issues facing police manager are the strategy to achieve shared vision, norms and values among partners' organizations. Berry, et al. (2009) argues that shared values and norms are critical to the success of partner organizations. The shared values are to establish collaborative advantages among partner organizations.
More issues facing police manager is the leadership role. A strong leadership is critical for the success of partnership organizations. Effectiveness of good partnerships depends on the dedication of full -time coordinator and a strong leadership is very critical to guide partnership organizations to a strategic direction and design a problem solving approach to oversee problem.
Information Sharing Issue
Other important issues that police manager needs to consider is the issue of information sharing. A successful partnership working depends on the willingness of partner agencies to share information and data. Effectiveness of partnership working depends on the willingness of partner organization to share information among one another. However, confidentiality of information and gravity of information exchange could impede the implementation of crime reduction initiatives. For example, "Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act provides that persons can lawfully disclose information to relevant authorities, where this is necessitated by any of the provisions of the Act."(Phillips, Jacobson. Prime, et al. 2002 P. 22). Home Office Guidance of 1998 suggests that the best strategy to enhance effective information disclosure is to work out careful information sharing protocols among agencies involved. While the Home Office emphasizes on the disclosures of information regarding the management of crimes and disorder, however, many senior managers of partnership organizations lack confidence in Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act and unwilling to share information with police force. Thus, the issues lead to an effective information exchange problems. Moreover, police managers could often encounter technical difficulties with regard to information exchange because there is a general lack of information exchanges protocol among partner agencies. Sometimes, some agencies often result to opportunistic approach to collect sensitive information from other agencies.
Thus, a police manager may face challenges when deciding on the best strategy to disclose information to other agencies based on the sensitivity surrounding the data collected and repercussion of information exchange. The seminar arranged at Stanford reveals that some health representatives of some Accident and Emergency hospital departments are reluctant to disclose the information of number of patients who secure wounds with knives to police. Typically, they are reluctant to provide information such as patient's home address and the postal address to enhance patient's anonymity. Nicholas, (1999) provides similar argument by pointing out that many public agencies in the United States are not accustomed to sharing information and organizational resources with police authorities. Typically, the historical norm of some public organizations is to maintain professional distance from other organizations.
Reluctant partners are another issue facing a police manager with reference to partnership working. Reluctant partners are the partner organizations that are unwilling to cooperate with police…