Policing is power. Police authority relies on transactions or relationships of power and influence. The nature of that authority depends on, and takes its form from specific environments of opportunity. Opportunity is, in turn, designated by the aspirations for such relationships, and structures and processes at work towards their regulation. Police authority can be confirmed either legitimately or illegitimately, depending on its context. Essential to the operation of police authority are the "boundaries of permission" which designate the dominion of police power. A principal regulator of police authority, and therefore an important mechanism whereby boundaries of permission are determined, is accountability. Requirements for accountability may determine whether police authority is perceived as legitimate or otherwise. For instance, if the democratisation of policing is nominated by a community as a pre-condition for the legitimisation of its authority, then participatory processes of accountability may be required in confirmation of police authority.
Criminal Procedure | Law and Society
Law, Society and Governance
Current Issues in Criminal Justice
University of Sydney, Institute of Criminology
The Ambiguity of Accountability: Deaths in Custody, and the Regulation of Police Power. (1994). Current Issues in Criminal Justice. 6, (2), 234-251. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/2007
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