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Patterns of Policing and Policing Patten

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In September 1999 the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, chaired by Chris Patten, published its recommendations. This article examines the political context of policing reform, the contents of the report and the rejection of its core ideas in the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill published in May 2000. The central argument of the paper is that the Commission’s radical model of policing – a network of regulating mechanisms in which policing becomes everyone’s business – failed, because it gave insufficient attention, like much modern writing on policing, to the role of the state and the vested interests within policing. The overall outcome is that the Patten Commission has been effectively policed and Northern Ireland will be left with a traditional, largely undemocratic and unaccountable model of policing with most of the control resting with the Secretary of State and the Chief Constable.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Social and Community Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtonabbey, County Antrim, UK, 2: School of Sociology and Social, Queen's University of Ulster, Belfast, UK

Publication date: 2000-09-01

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