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Arie van Sluis, Lex Cachet, Theo Jochoms, Arthur Ringeling and Anne Sey (eds): Contested Police Systems: Changes in the Police Systems of Belgium, Denmark, England and Wales, Germany and the Netherlands

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


The cycles of police reform

It is perhaps the bane of public policing that it finds itself in continuous cycles of reform. Reforming the police is generational; new expectations and shifting social mores invariably involve government and the police. No doubt some of these reforms have been a long time in coming, sparked by scandal and then reform, sometimes ill-conceived and discarded or sidestepped by police organizations resistant to change under any rubric. Serious students of police accept the idea that public bureaucracies in general and police bureaucracies more specifically have had rather long trajectories when it comes to change. In the ethos of the police, continuity has often superseded change. Moreover, by using the long lens of history change in policing can be seen as having been glacial and evolutionary rather than cataclysmic or abrupt. Contested Police Systems is focused on matters of organizational and institutional change in government policing and their governance. T ...