P10 - Facing the future through policing, publics and public management

Panel convenors 

Jean Hartley (Open University), jean.hartley@open.ac.uk  Corresponding Chair

Phil Davies (Open University)

Jeroen Maesschalck (Catholic University Leuven)

Nicky Miller (Open University)

Edoardo Ongaro (Open University)

Kathryn Quick (University of Minnesota)

Eckhard Schröter (German Police University)

Paul Walley (Open University)

Panel theme

Societies experiencing transitions due to political, economic, social and environmental changes rely on policing to help to protect the vulnerable, tackle changing crimes and maintain social order.  Simultaneously, policing is a public service which has coercive as well as welfare elements. These tensions raise important theoretical questions about legitimacy, authority, governance and service provision in a critical space of relationships between citizens and the state. These various issues have become more evident in these extraordinary times of the coronavirus pandemic, with police being key workers in high-profile, front-line service roles, and adapting to substantial and dynamic changes in the nature of crime, vulnerability and social order.  They interact very directly with various publics. Indeed, for some minority populations, law enforcement is the “face” of government most often encountered.

This panel addresses police and policing from a public management, governance and/or organization studies perspective to examine the links between policing, public management and democracy.  While public management theory has been informed and widely examined in the context of services of the extended welfare state and public utilities, policing – despite being a prominent facet of government - has been unduly neglected both in its own terms in public management and as a field of systematic and comparative public management research.  This neglect is detrimental to both the advancement of public management theory and the improvement of policing practices. Therefore, we invite papers exploring questions such as: legitimacy, equity, power, authority, governance and organizational performance in policing; whether and how policing is value-creating or value-destroying; changing roles and expectations of police at points of societal change and stress (e.g., natural disaster, Covid social distancing); and comparative analysis of policing values, operations, or consequences in or across different locales.

Submission of abstracts

We welcome papers in a range of formats.  Submissions, based on an abstract of no more than 500 words including abstract should be made through the IRSPM conference system.  The deadline for abstracts is 24 January 2022

Standard papers:  to be offered for presentation in the panel which will be ongoing through the conference.  All papers will be allocated a discussant, and in submitting a paper, each author indicates their willingness to be a discussant on another paper. 

Speed dating papers:  These aim to link early career researchers with more experienced researchers, and they will work in breakout rooms in pairs to discuss particular papers which are in development.  The matching will take place before the conference happens.  We feel this is an important innovation for IRSPM, given the pressures which the pandemic has created on early career researchers who may have fewer networks and resources to draw on to develop their research and their careers. 

Round table discussion This will involve a set of short presentations on a particular topic, with those presentations from three or more different countries, to enable a cross-national perspective on policing.  In submitting a round table idea, please contact the panel convenors directly in the first instance.