Standing on the Inside Looking Out: The Significance of Police Unions in Networks of Police Governance
Fleming, J and Marks, M and Wood, J, Standing on the Inside Looking Out: The Significance of Police Unions in Networks of Police Governance, Australian and New Zealand Jounal of Criminology, 39, (1) pp. 71-89. ISSN 0004-8658 (2006) [Refereed Article]
Scholars and practitioners now recognise the importance of ‘governing
through networks’ if policing agendas are to be promoted effectively
and democratically. Central to such an agenda of networked governance is
the identification or creation of community-based structures and processes
that can be harnessed by, and linked to, other forms of governance in
furtherance of security outcomes. However, notions of community have
generally been limited to the ‘communities’ outside of police organisations.
This article explores the idea of a police union as ‘a community of interest’.
We suggest that police unions are ‘communities’ that have the potential to
impact significantly on the governance of security. As ‘insider groupings’
police unions are engaged in complex networks of police management,
policy decision-makers and civil society groupings both at the national and
international level. Given their organisational status, police unions have the
potential to constitute themselves as active, forward-thinking social
agencies within policing network arrangements. But, in order to do this
they need to move beyond the demands of their conservative social base
and their preoccupation with industrial issues and embrace the changing
world of policing. In addition, they may need to network with a range of
agencies beyond the security industry such as social justice groupings and
the broad trade union movement.