Accountability and the Juxtaposition of Civil Society and Policing in a Period of Changing Norms



The purpose of this paper is to examine the existing approaches to police accountability and how they may or may not address changing norms and expectations of civil society. It examines the role of independent police advisors and how they may contribute to bridging this divide.


The paper is a constructivist reflexive critique of the shortcomings of the mechanisms for policing accountability. It addresses human security considerations and the social contract in the existing populist charged social context and addresses other ways by which accountability may be achieved by challenging ideas and facilitating reconceptualization of accountability.


The advent of the independent advisor as employed by British Police forces is reviewed as a viable means of engaging communities to enable a constructive relationship built on accountability in advance of action rather than punitive recourse post crisis via complaint.


An exploration of the relationship between the ‘critical friend’ Community engagement model of the UK independent police advisor and the role played by this approach in reconceptualizing police accountability. The author spent 10 years as an advisor.

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