Networked policing: towards a public marketing approach to urban safety.

Author:Schedler, Kuno


Although modern forms of control, such as the ones designed under the new public management regime and others being the fruit of a public governance debate, have lead to new models for policing, practitioners still need more support in their operational use. This paper argues that both the new public management and public governance are valuable concepts for urban safety as a policy field. Additionally, it suggests to borrow the structure and thinking of public marketing for the creation of practical solutions in networking and performance management. The result is a new conceptual approach to networked policing.

  1. Introduction

    The issue of urban safety is increasingly understood as an issue that can be dealt with by the police alone. The citizens' sense of security, in particular, is not only a consequence of crime but is influenced by many other factors. A survey among inhabitants of two Viennese residential quarters revealed that crime only played a secondary role in their sense of security. Most experiences of insecurity related to incidents or observations that did not involve any punishable acts. These were observations of disorder in public spaces, problems of social interaction, and interference in the residential sphere through noise and conflicts with neighbours (Karazman-Morawetz. 1995).

    Approaches to an optimisation of the leadership, structures or resources of the police alone fall short of expectations, as Goldstein (1979) recognised early on. Rather, work in the field of urban safety must be aligned with the problems of urban safety. The more complex these problems turn out to be, the more difficult they will be to deal with. In terms of systems theory, the problem-solving systems must be capable either of reducing the complexity of their task or of building up a sufficient degree of complexity themselves in order to master the problems.

    In order to be able to solve the problems of urban safety, integrated solutions have been called for. The outstanding model, which has also attracted most attention in the German-speaking area, is the approach of community policing (Aronowitz. 2003). It is undisputed today that societal factors exert a great influence on urban safety (Correira. 2000). It is for this reason that demands have been made that safety is no longer a task of an interventionist police force, but that the police must apply more "social" methods, particularly in order to be successful in the fields of prevention and integration.

  2. Approaches to problem-solving

    In the 1980s, two schools of a neo-institutionalism evolved, which were based on two different views of people: rational-choice institutionalism, which was based on "homo economicus", and sociological institutionalism, which was based on "homo sociologus". Hall and Taylor (1996) emphasised that the view of man on which the characters of institutionalism are founded, has a crucial impact on theoretical conclusions. To this extent, the theories that have been derived from these stances may be institutional approaches, but they implicitly refer to a certain view of the actors.

    I will argue in this paper that in practical life, the two different theoretical perspectives have resulted in two different approaches to control in the public domain (or: in Public Governance). In this context, it must be borne in mind that practice never assumes a "purely" theoretical perspective but always constructs its solution approaches with elements from several sources that prove useful in concrete application. Rational choice institutionalism is considered to be one of the most important sources of New Public Management, whereas sociological institutionalism is one of the most important sources for actor-oriented institutional approaches (Peters. 1999).

    2.1 Rational choice institutionalism and its governance model: New Public Management

    In the 1990s, public management was steered in a new direction. Under New Public Management, administrative units that had previously been controlled through detailed budgets and regulation (input control) were now managed on the basis of requirements with regard to expected performance and results (output control). This went hand in hand with an increased decentralisation of operative responsibility so that administration managers were provided with room to manoeuvre (Hood. 1991; Rhodes. 1991). In order to compensate for the newly-gained freedoms, a new form of accountability was established at the same time, namely a political control over outputs. Technically, this meant that all the performances of public administration had to be prescribed as objective, and that subsequently they had to be measured. For the management culture, this meant that a detachment from the administration mentality became necessary, and that an increase in management by objectives was called for (Willoughby and Melkers. 2002).

    The soil of existing administrative cultures on which these conceptual ideas fell was of varying fertility. Whereas in Scandinavian countries the ideas were used to refine the already existing intensive contacts with civic groups, the rule-oriented administrations of continental Europe used the instruments of NPM in conformity with their rules. During a first stage of unquestioning belief in the instruments, thousands of products were defined and assigned an equal number of indicators, which led to enormous efforts being expended on performance measurement (Schedler, et al. 1998). Thus it was not without reason that New Public Management was criticised for creating new bureaucracies rather than reducing old ones (Finger. 1997).

    Less bureaucratic applications, which could be observed with equal frequency, yielded considerable positive results, also and particularly in the field of policing: a higher degree of orientation towards citizens' requirements, a clarification of the tasks of the police, especially also more transparency regarding the police forces' performance results. A broadly-based study by Proeller and Zwahlen (2002) in Switzerland showed that compared with all other types of administration, the police possessed the best structural conditions for a systematic cultivation of their customer relations. However, the decentralisation and autonomisation of individual administrative units--including police forces--additionally reinforced an old problem, namely thinking in terms of one's own areas of responsibility. The police forces received their own performance agreement and were measured against how they fulfilled it, which did not make it necessary for them to assume an inclusive perspective. The consequence was individual solutions and a lack of systematic cooperation--admittedly a problem that is also known to administrations that are not under NPM.

    The credit for the fact that these problems did not remain undetected must be awarded to the exponents of New Public Management. Once again, the pioneers of administrative reforms--New Zealand and the Netherlands--were the first to recognise these problems and to take measures to tackle them. In New Zealand, the stage of decentralisation was followed by a stage of strategic management (Boston, et al. 1996), i.e. an attempt was made to counter the fragmentation of the control of public life by means of a comprehensive strategic view. Cities such as Christchurch developed medium-term strategic plans that had to be integrated into the offices' individual performance agreements (Grunenfelder. 1997). The Dutch cities also combined the strategic view with a political view in that they placed a higher value on civic participation (Herweijer. 1996). When all is said and done, this means nothing other than that the purely economically motivated performance orientation of administration control was supplemented by a political-sociological perspective. This was the birth of what today is called Public Governance.

    For police work, New Public Management primarily means that performance must be defined and measured by means of indicators. In a joint project of the Eastern Swiss Police Concordat, for instance, the following definitions have been adopted:

    Table 1: Police performance catalogue (example: Eastern Swiss Police Concordat) Performance groups Performance elements Maintenance of --Preventive presence safety and order --Protection of property and persons --Management of flowing traffic --Management of stationary traffic Police approvals Incident management --Accident management --Operations in major inci- dents --Crime intervention --Conflict management --Counselling of incident victims --Major incident management Investigation and --Recovery of persons and detection objects --Criminal investigation --Recording of routine...

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