Policing in the iron cage : the tensions between the bureaucratic mandate and street level reality
AuthorsHallam, Stephen A.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractIn April 2002 a National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced across police forces in England and Wales. The intention of this standard, resultant of two highly critical reports regarding police recording of crime, was to improve crime data and promote a victim focussed approach. Research in the field of crime recording emphasises police reporting and recording mechanisms, with a significant reliance placed on police data. However, inter-personal and situational factors determining the ways in which notification of an event is, or is not, translated into a crime record are often inadequately explored. Consequently, there is little recent knowledge regarding the views of individuals reporting an event and the way in which they, through the interactions with the police, affect recording rates. This thesis explores these effects and investigates the impact of deviation from the rules governing crime recording upon service user experiences and satisfaction. Incident logs from three forces were analysed, officer focus groups and questionnaire-based surveys were undertaken and interviews were conducted with service users. Perceptions of service users and police officers vis-à-vis the effectiveness of police intervention were examined, together with the efficacy of previous research methodologies employed to gauge recording rates, the rules regarding crime recording and the existent performance frameworks. The findings suggest that previously reported recording rates are inevitably unreliable owing to a lack of detail within incident logs and the complexities involved in the recognition and labelling of events as crimes. Whilst easing of workloads is a common theme highlighted in previous research, there is notably less emphasis and recognition of other factors. The response, by officers at street level, to the realities of the social world, the conflicting priorities brought about by managerial dictum and the bureaucratic rules governing the recording of crime is to ‘define down crime’. The findings fill the considerable knowledge gap regarding diverse service user requirements and conflicting priorities faced by service providers prior to the introduction of the NCRS, suggesting that the imposition of managerial ideals, the accompanying bureaucratic rules and the corollary, the diminution of discretion, has a detrimental effect on service delivery.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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