Public Service the Modernisation of Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

3. Changes in structure.

In order to facilitate the above needs and requirements that are envisaged for the police services, the government has introduced a policy with regards to the structure of the police services. This is related to the view that there should be less of a "top-down" structure to the police services than was the case in the past. In other words, there is more of an emphasis on outcomes and value-added services.

To facilitate this ideal a number of important agencies have been established. These include the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA); Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA); the Chief Police Officers (ACPO)' Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Communication is facilitated by regular meeting with the Home Secretary. (From the neighbourhood to the national: policing our communities together)

2.3.1. Legislation

New structure also necessitates the creation of new legislation to ensure that the police service works in a formal and correct way. In this regard we can refer to some changes that have been initiated. New powers have been granted to the police to deal with crimes and terrorism. This is obviously related to the governmental agenda to broaden the fight against domestic crime as well as internal and external terrorism. These powers include Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs) to extended powers in terrorist cases. (From the neighbourhood to the national: policing our communities together) One should also mention the range of new technologies that ensure wider coverage by the police services. These include DNA testing, Automatic Number Plate Recognition, and the use of CCTV. The police also have more extensive powers to seize finances in cases of money laundering. (From the neighbourhood to the national: policing our communities together) Some of these aspects have also been criticized in terms of privacy rights.

2.4. Specialization

As mentioned in the introduction, an essential part of any policy to modernize the police force needs to include the aspect of the specialization of certain services and duties within the structure of the police services. This is due to the changing nature of the fight against crime. As a report entitled, MODERNISING THE POLICE SERVICE by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary states, "The hugely complex nature of modern policing means the service needs an increasingly broad range of specialist skills and expertise to meet these challenges." (MODERNISING THE POLICE SERVICE)

2.5. Funding

New structures and organizational changes require specific funding needs. The literature notes that since 1997 there have been substantial increases in funding for the police services in England and Wales. This includes the fact that government grants to the police have increased by 58 per cent between 1997/98 and 2008/09. (From the neighbourhood to the national: policing our communities together) This has also resulted in a significant increase in the number of police officers which has assisted in the reduction of crime. Furthermore, "Government funding for the police overall will rise by at least 2.7% in each of the three years from 2007/08 to 2010/11." (From the neighbourhood to the national: policing our communities together)

In terms of the modernization strategy there have been funding and auditing changes. There has been a trend to move away "ring-fenced funding pots." This means that there is a move towards a more open and flexible funding policy, where the police authorities have the facility to determine where best to allocate and use funding resources. However, there are still some areas that are more restricted in terms of funding structure. It is also important to note that the funding for neighbourhood policing is increasing by £26m (5%) between 2007/08 and 2010/11, and foe counter-terrorism by £107m (22.6%) between 2007/08 and 2010/11. This points to another aspect of the government agenda and the role of Audit office in this regard.

2.5. Communication

This modernization process is obviously heavily dependent on good communication, especially when one considers that a central aspect of the modernization strategy is the interaction and support of the public. The ways in which these changes and reforms are communicated are imperative in terms of alleviating public scepticism and doubt. As the Green Paper discussed above notes, part of the government agenda is a greater emphasis on shared information and feedback. There has led to an effort to ensure adequate communication with sectors of the population, such as the youth.

2.6. Resistance and critiques

The modernization process in the police services is driven by central agendas and plans by the government. A few of the most significant of these have been discussed above. The government has claimed that reforms and modernization in the police services have already led to success in terms of crime reduction and public interaction. However, there are some critiques of the direction of this modernization.

One of the most significant critiques of the modernization agenda is the possible affect that it may have on privacy and the invasion of privacy rights. This is also of concern and some commentators are of the opinion that, under the guise of fighting terrorism, the police services may be becoming too powerful and intrusive and exceeding their boundaries. However, this is countered by the insistence in the modernization plan on public participation that forms part of the modernization agenda.

Another issue that has come to fore in debates is the problem that exists with regard to specialization in the agenda towards greater modernization. As one study notes,

Despite the importance of these matters, there has been little rigorous scrutiny carried out in respect of them. The issues involved are necessarily complex, but the HMIC thematic inspection Open All Hours (2001) and Sir David O'Dowd's Policing Bureaucracy Taskforce (2002) both identified a lack of strategic direction and national guidance in this area.


In other words, there are areas that seriously require consideration and further research.

There are also other critiques that have to be taken into account in this modernization process. In terms of funding changes and allocations, there are still reports which indicate that in some instances police authorities are not meeting their budgets budget and in a number of cases they have raised council taxes beyond the government's limit. One report states that, "Seven police authorities and one city council in England face having their budgets capped for forcing council tax rises beyond the government's limit." (Police authority budgets face cap) The reason given for this are the increasing demands on the police services; "… The Association of Police Authorities (APA) said the police owed it to communities to set their tax at a level that ensured effective policing." (Police authority budgets face cap)


The central argument that has been outlined in this paper is that new demands and needs of the technology age, as well as threats posed by terrorism and more sophisticated modes of crime, have necessitated intensive modernization of the police services. The increasing threat of terrorism has in particular set the agenda from the side of the government to implement some far-reaching reforms and modernizations.

However, these modernizations are not always well accepted and in some instances it is felt that these reforms might result in the police force becoming too powerful. Concern has also been raised about modernization in this service and the increasing possibility of an invasion of privacy rights. The counter argument to this concern is that the envisaged increase in public involvement and interaction will serve to ensure that the police services do not overstep any boundaries.

What is clear at this juncture in terms of policy reforms is that there has to be a well understood and perceived balance between any extremes and that modernization of the police services should not be perceived in a negative light, but should in reality serve the needs of the community. This is a cardinal and central aspect that will possibly be the focus of future debate.


Excellence and fairness: Achieving world class public services, viewed May 8, 2009

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