Introduction: Force is Part of the Service



This book takes us to the centre of the debate about care and control in the police service. The police face new and renewed challenges to their traditional modes of operation, posed amongst other things by a heightened public and media concern with lawlessness and wrongdoing, by the escalation in reported crime, and by an uncharacteristic assault on the police body politic from a government concerned to improve performance, quality and value for money in all publicly funded utilities (see, for example, Sinclair and Miller, 1984; Audit Commission, 1990; Home Office, 1993; Sheehy, 1993). A rehabilitation of the care/control debate is urgent-it is at the heart of the matter about the future direction of British policing. The ways in which policy makers, chief constables and rank and file officers address the critical balance between care and control, and engage with the policy and procedural issues, will have major implications for the shape, goals and legitimacy of the police service up to, and beyond, the millennium.


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© Saul Becker and Mike Stephens 1994

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