Beyond the Patten Report: The Governance of Security in Policing with the Community

John Topping

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    Policing in stable, democratic societies is predominantly concerned with theimplementation and practice of the globally accepted philosophy of ‘communitypolicing’. This concept, while itself contested within the modern structure ofpolicing, is further problematized in transitional and post-conflict societies. Frompolice legitimacy to opposing and alternative provision of security governance, theimposition of community policing encounters problems on many different levels.What the thesis examines is the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) reformtowards a vision of community policing in line with Recommendation 44 of theIndependent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (ICP); while taking intoaccount the contributions of non-state security governance provision at thecommunity level.On one hand, the thesis provides a unique study of the delivery of communitypolicing by the PSNI. And on the other, it provides the first empirical and systematicstudy of the contribution of non-state actors to the broader policing landscape. Usingthe sample areas of East and West Belfast, the research involved in-depth, semistructuredinterviews with PSNI officers and members of community-basedorganisations who contribute to the governance of security within those areas.At the core of police reforms in the country, the implementation ofcommunity policing (or Policing with the Community under the rubric of theIndependent Commission for Policing) has faltered in the face of institutional inertiawithin PSNI. This has been exacerbated by a failure of the police to adequatelyincrease the co-production of security through improved engagement and utilisationof Northern Ireland’s diverse community infrastructures, which contribute broadpolicing rather than police issues. Through the concept of community governancepolicing, the thesis argues that there is a significant potential for interaction betweenPSNI and non-state ‘policing’ actors. And as part of the ICP’s vision of policingmore broadly conceived, the thesis contends that through PSNI embracing the unique‘otherness’ to security provision at the community-level, there is an opportunity toenhance the delivery of community policing which includes community-basedcontributions to policing and security governing as part of a broader ‘public good’.
    Original languageEnglish
    TypePhD thesis
    Number of pages399
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2009


    • policing
    • police reform
    • security governance
    • Police Service of Northern Ireland
    • Patten Report
    • Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland
    • community policing
    • community sector


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