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Keywords:

  • political governance of police;
  • Royal Commission;
  • cross-party examination

While British policing has an unparalleled worldwide reputation for excellence, its system of governance has not been formally examined for almost fifty years. Known as the tripartite system, giving overlapping but compatible powers and duties to the Home Secretary, to local Police Authorities and to Chief Officers of Police, it is now long overdue for reconsideration and adjustment. More than one political party is suggesting significant reform but only of individual parts of the system. Given other issues concerning the police, particularly the number of United Kingdom forces and the fixation with the number of police officers as an indication of political success, there is now an urgent need for agreement that policing in Britain should have a holistic and cross-party re-examination, possibly but not necessarily in the form of a Royal Commission.