Democracy and Organizational Legitimacy: Theoretical Paradigms
Democracy as a socio-political ideal denotes that will of the people should be the driving force behind the operation of institutions indispensible for the governance of a state. But since at the same time a state is bound to depend upon its coercive authority for governance, therefore, the theory of democratic governance itself becomes paradoxical in two aspects. These paradoxes need to be resolved to explain the genesis of democracy as what Corcoran (1983) terms as “new universal religion”.
One, since, the state authority implies the ‘right to rule’ and the natural instinct of man is freedom or ‘refusal to be ruled’, therefore the resolution of this apparently zero-sum game requires us to look for alternatives (Dahl 1989). The first alternative finds its philosophical basis with the anarchists’ presumption that since coercion being anti-thesis to human freedom is inherently bad so it must be avoided even at the cost of the very existence of the political entity itself (Dahl 1989). But this alternative focussing at the elimination of coercion may not work neither on philosophical premise of human nature in the state of nature as perceived by the social contract philosophers nor on the utilitarian premise as society requires coercion even to control the unauthorized coercion of one member of society against the other (Dahl 1989).Thus, the second alternative which appears more plausible is to explore the ways and means to regulate the exercise of coercion instead of eliminating it altogether. This regulation of coercion requires the state to be democratic so that coercion may be exercised in the collective interest of the community and not otherwise (Dahl 1989).
Two, the second paradox appears as a progeny of the first and finds its roots in the very chemistry of a democratic state which implies that all constituents have a share in the sovereignty of the state which implies self-governance in terms of personal autonomy of the constituents (Mill 1958).Self-governance while living in a society demands that collective decisions be accepted by all constituents while maintaining their personal autonomy. Thus, the problem comes up that who will make collective decisions (govern) and who will follow the decisions (governed) as all constituents have an equal and inalienable right to govern (Locke [1689-90] 1970). This paradox could not escape from Rousseau who expressed it in his Social Contract thus: “find a form of association that defends and protects the person and goods of each associate with all the common force, and by means of which each one, uniting with all, nevertheless obeys only himself and remains as free as before” (Rousseau 1978)However, this paradox remained unresolved even with Rousseau in the broader context of decision-making mechanism in the democratic frame-work as he suggested unanimity only to the extent of original contract which provided for the creation of state and left the subsequent decision-making subordinate to the will of majority (Rousseau 1978).
At the most there may be two possible grounds to explore alternatives to this paradox: Can anyone guarantee equal consideration of interests of other than his own; is there any better system other than democracy to make the decision-making more representative? John Locke viewed ‘equality’ in purview of right to natural freedom without one being subject to another (17) and thus equality can be guaranteed if interests of each individual are given equal weight (Benn 1967).Since each individual can better define his own interests, therefore, equal consideration of interests is possible if one himself has the authority to interpret his own interests. This demands that each individual has access to the decision-making mechanism (Dahl 1989).Viewing it from a broader perspective, majority cannot be a judge of minority’s rights. Since, democracy, as explained by Rousseau above, rely on majority decision so what are the possibilities that any other system can make the decision-making more representative. Evidence suggests to contrary on the grounds that any other system rely on relatively smaller proportion of constituents than democracy for governance (Dahl 1989).
If democracy is the system which incorporates the opinion of the relatively more people than any other system then we are left with Hobson’s choice to exclusively focus on it in order to explore the grounds of resolution of the afore-mentioned paradox by making it more reflective of the public aspirations. To this end two options may be suggested: one is structural and second is procedural. The former demands that democratic governance be devolved to the local level which is imperative for administrative efficiency as well as the development of the political faculties of the people (Jones, Newburn and Smith 1994)whereas the latter, as suggested by Schumpeter (1961) lies in taking democracy in terms of procedure to make political decisions by means of electoral process as a mechanism to register the public opinion. The democracy in terms of fair procedure provides for the best feasible course of decision-making which by making the general public the ultimate authority to elect or reject any political party to come to power, safeguards the interests of the minority against the majority’s exercise of authority. However, fairness of democracy as a procedure is conditional to the incorporation of following elements: public trust in the procedure, access to information for making informed decisions, active public participation in the decision-making mechanism as people can better safeguard their interests from being abused by the government if as J.S. Mill has suggested, they are themselves part of the decision-making process (Mill 1958),equality in terms of voting process to register their opinion (Dahl 1989) and finally, neutrality on the part of state organs with regard to their relationship with the agents of public opinion formulation. This neutrality can be ensured if their role in terms of service-delivery corresponds to public beliefs about democratic norms and values. These public beliefs which can be created through fair procedure are conducive to the development of democracy (Dahl 1971). These beliefs include: political trust, confidence in the effectiveness of the government to discharge its functions, views regarding the nature of relationship between the rulers and the ruled and finally, belief in the legitimacy of the government institutions. It is only on the touchstone of these beliefs that democratization as a sign of public endorsement may be analysed in terms of service-delivery by different public organizations within the state (Hirst 1988) and thus provides rational grounds to explore distinctive correlation between the democracy and organizational legitimacy (Jones, Newburn and Smith 1994).
As service-delivery by different organizations through fair procedure is imperative for the achievement of democratic ideals, therefore, these organizations need to represent the public beliefs which provide basis for the realization of democratic ideals. These state organizations can represent public beliefs only if their legitimacy is recognized by the public. Legitimacy may be defined as an attribute by which an authority commands the voluntary public compliance. This compliance is voluntary in the substance that it is neither driven by the use or threat of use of coercive authority but rather it is generated by the belief that the authority ought to be complied with (Weber 1968). In the words of Parsons (1960)legitimacy is an “appraisal of action in terms of shared or common values in the context of the involvement of the action in the social system”. It may further get explanation as a process whereby an organization seeks to find the justification of its existence within a broader frame-work (Maurer 1971). In other words it is conformity of an organization’s means and objectives to social norms and values by which we may judge its level of legitimacy (Dowling and Pfeffer 1975). These social norms and values provide raison d'être for the very existence of organizations and are key attributes to steer the operational direction of the organizations (Meyer and Rowan 1977). The conformity to social norms and values may help the organizations to win the public cooperation which is, indeed pre-requisite to achieve the organizational ends. It is in this context that the import of voluntary cooperation of the people and conformity of an organization to social value system becomes so paramount that Parsons (1960) regards public legitimacy as a “resource to organization” for the discharge of its functions.
The following discussion will focus on underscoring the conditions for securing legitimacy to an organization. First, the public cooperation as a gesture of approval can be enthused either through instrumental strategy or by means of legitimacy-based strategy. Instrumental strategy focus on achieving public compliance by imposing some sort of sanctions whereas legitimacy-based strategy relies on public belief of an organization being legitimate for securing cooperation. The cooperation motivated by legitimacy-based strategy being independent of situational and circumstantial variables is better than the cooperation inspired by instrumental strategy which depends constantly on any external source of stimulation either in the form of some sanctions, legal instruments or constant supervision (Tyler 2004). This superiority of legitimacy-based strategy lies in the following three perspectives: firstly, it has the capacity to generate voluntary cooperation for an organization; secondly, voluntary public cooperation can compensate for financial resources to be consumed for achieving organizational objectives and finally, since most of the public-behaviour concerning the application of law takes place beyond the direct view of supervision therefore, only legitimacy-based strategy can better discipline their behaviour to achieve organizational goals (Tyler 2004)(39). Second, legitimacy and organization’s resolve to live up to public expectations in terms of service-delivery are mutually inclusive (Ashforth and Gibbs 1990). Third, an organization may secure legitimacy through what DiMaggio (1983) terms as “coercive isomorphism”-meeting the constituents’ aspirations through ensuring conformity to social values. This is possible only through the purposeful efforts of the constituents of an organization to bring the organizational means and ends in harmony with the social attributes of the broader social system under which the organization is supposed to operate. Moreover, since an organization depends upon the resources of broader social system for their operation therefore, resources utilization can only be justified if there exists no anomaly between the social norms and organizational ends (Dowling and Pfeffer 1975).
Briefly speaking, the normative and conceptual analysis of democracy identifies the following attributes of democracy as a social system: one, exercise of coercive authority must be regulated through an effective mechanism of accountability; two, interests of each individual should be given equal weight in decision-making process; three, active public participation in the decision-making process is ensured; four, devolution of decision-making powers to local level so that the process may be made more representative on the one hand and prospects of the monopolistic tendencies may be discouraged on the other by putting a system of checks and balances in place and last but not the least people should have access to information data-base so that they may make informed decisions. In purview of these social norms of a democratic system, claim of organizational legitimacy depends upon affirmation of these attributes. The affirmation of democratic ideals demands that organizations incorporate the following characteristics: democratic norms in their composition in terms of recruitment, promotion and training, cooperative behaviour of constituents of an organization towards customers (Perrow 1970), restrained use of coercive authority of the state, efficient and equitable service-delivery, public participation in decision-making process, neutrality to ensure fair procedure, deference to legal procedure as promulgated by democratic authority, democratic model of accountability and above all democratically conducive socio-political milieu.
Pre-Requisites of Police Legitimacy: A Theoretical Analysis
Though police in its chemistry as a bureaucratic organization is similar to other public organizations and thus is open to be judged on the organizational criteria (Klinger 2004) yet policing in terms of a process claims distinction for having authority over legitimate force to maintain order and control anti-social behaviour in given territorial limits (Reiner 1994). In view of its being the coercive organ of the state it becomes contingent to democratise the policing as a process and thus to insulate it from being portrayed as an instrument to protect and promote the interests of the ruling elite as perceived by conflict theorists like Engels (1972) while explaining the origin of policing in class-ridden communal-based society(Robinson and Scaglion 1987)(Haas 1982). Democratisation as a process provides basis for organizational legitimacy to the police by helping to secure its image as guardians of individual freedoms instead of being agent of the ruling class (Jones, Newburn and Smith 1994). Though importance of legitimacy as a resource to secure efficient output is not exclusive to the police organization (Selznick 1969) yet it becomes more profound as police are the ultimate agent of social control and are called upon when other agents of social control fall short to deliver (Smith 2007). Legitimacy helps police as a resource by winning the public cooperation which is, indeed imperative for the operational success of the police. Though, as has been said earlier, public cooperation can be secured through instrumental strategy but the public support gained through legitimacy-based strategy is better than the support garnered through the former. In the context of policing, the instrumental strategy denotes to motivate public compliance to law and police on the basis of deterrent effects of punishments (Meares 2000) whereas legitimacy-based strategy seeks to muster public support by stirring up moral obligations of the people to obey a legitimate organization. The evidence suggests that deterrent aspect of instrumental based strategy may not work to control the crime. For instance, in England and Wales, during the 1970s, the rising trend in the use of sentencing had little impact on the control of drugs-use (South 1994). The legitimacy-based strategy by relying upon some publicly internalized values draws voluntary cooperation which is essential for the maintaining order for the following reasons: Firstly, police cannot be omnipresent. Secondly, voluntary cooperation of the majority permits police to divert their resources to control deviant minority. Thirdly, if majority do not display voluntary deference to law, organizational resources required for order maintenance become inadequate quickly (Tyler 2004).
As voluntary cooperation with the police is possible if people perceive it as legitimate organization, thus by revisiting the afore-mentioned attributes of a legitimate organization in the context of police, the following pre-requisites of police legitimacy can be identified:
First, to be perceived as legitimate, the police as a bureaucratic organization should be democratically organized in the following perspectives: one, its recruitment and promotion procedures should be merit-oriented otherwise a psychic gap emerges between the aspirations and achievements which creates anomie and mistrust among the people not only against the police organization but even against the broader political system as well (Merton 1938); two, there should be an effective mechanism of accountability in place to regulate the internal discipline of the organization; three, the constituents of the police organization need to be properly trained to meet the public expectations regarding the quality of service and above all the police organization needs to be under the civilian control (Dahl 1989).
Second, police officers’ attitude towards people in individual encounters also has bearing upon the public perception of police. Police-public encounters reflect an asymmetrical rather than a balanced relationship. As Skogen (2006) has suggested that at times a good job done by the police may not be acknowledged while one bad job may be enough even to undermine the legitimacy of the organization. Similarly to quote Hillard (quoted from (Skogen 2006), “you have ten positive encounters with the police and that’s good; but one negative encounter, and all the positive disappears”. However, the impact of positive or bad encounters with police is debateable. Some sociologists suggest that the impact of bad encounters with police is usually long lasting as compared to the pleasant ones (Baumeister 2001) and others like Skogen (2006) have attempted to measure the intensity of the impact of public-police encounters in terms of their types-‘public initiated’ and ‘police initiated’. In public initiated contacts in terms of reporting crime to police, help calls, the trend of police legitimacy is positive where as opposite is the case with the police-initiated contacts in terms of stop and search or field investigation. Some even may contend that people may take their good experience as exceptional rather than norm (Weitzer 2004) but the fact remains that a pleasant encounter with police on the basis of a good police attitude does have sound impact on the recovering public trust in the organization and vice versa (Reisig 2000) (Dean 1980) (Smith and Hawkins 1973). Though the significance of the impact of individual public-police contacts cannot be mitigated yet as Smith (2007) have argued, the true route to police legitimacy depends upon the fostering professional ethical standards in the organization otherwise these individual contacts may prove counter-productive.
Third, since the police use the coercive authority of the state, therefore, use of force determines the nature of relationship between the rulers and the ruled. As in a democratic state, people are themselves the rulers, therefore, the coercive authority-though indispensible for governance- need to be exercised with caution and restraint (Reiner 1992) otherwise people may perceive it as an instrument of promoting the agenda of the politically dominant class.
Four, it goes without saying that fundamental duty of police is crime control and order maintenance and naturally if it fails to discharge this duty effectively, it matters little whatever else they do. Therefore, police legitimacy owes a lot how effectively this duty is performed by the police (Reiner 1992). Some like D.J. Smith (2007)may argue otherwise on the grounds that since multiple factors determine the rise and fall of crime trends, therefore, to regard them as outcome of the policing may not be true and further that as the police is not the sole agency to deal with crime, therefore, success or failure to crime control depends upon the working of other constituents of criminal justice system as well. However, the fact remains that in the immediate context of occurrence of crime people look towards police only and thus effectiveness to control the crime has direct bearing upon the public image of police.
Five, as I have said earlier, the equal consideration of interests of all is the ideal on which democracy depends for its strength as an ideal system. Democracy can survive only if the quality of services rendered by the organizations working under its umbrella is equitable to all. Similarly, if the service provision by the police is superior for some groups and inferior for others, it may lose its image with the recipients of inferior-quality services. Thus, equitable service provision by the police to all sections of the society irrespective of their ethnic, social and religious affiliations is a key to win public legitimacy.
Six, democratic system depends upon the public opinion for governance which is registered through the electoral procedure. The fair procedure demands that the state organs including the police should be neutral to all agents of public opinion formulation. Moreover, a democratic political structure provides a playground for political parties-representing conflicting interests- and majority party by assuming the power may get privileged position to manipulate the public policy-making and implementation. If viewed in this context policing as a process-independent of political control- seems to be an illusion which can only be realized if police in terms of an organization is recognized as fourth organ of the state (Marshall 2006) and work under the exclusive subordination to law instead of political authorities. Moreover, neutral character of police once recognized needs to be reviewed through democratic model of accountability.
Seven, though rule of law as a doctrinal principal is key to good governance for any organization yet its formative influence for police legitimacy is more profound in the context of safeguards it provides against the arbitrary use of discretion powers. These discretionary powers are associated even with the rank and file of the police organization (Smith, Gray and Smal 1983).Though efficient discharge of police duties demands heavy arsenal of powers yet the same powers may prove detrimental to human liberties if their discretionary use is not regulated through strict deference to law (Jones 2006).
Eight, democratic model of police governance requires police to be ‘service’ rather than ‘force’. As a by product of their real work which demands 24 hours availability, the police may perform certain informal functions aimed at winning public legitimacy (Reiner 1992). Though owing to the conflict-ridden nature of police job, the effectiveness of police in providing police services beyond conflict resolution is debatable (D. J. Smith 2007) yet to quote Richardson (1985), the police ‘by symbolically managing the transformation of meanings of these [informal acts] so as to appear consisting with public expectations’ can make efforts to win public legitimacy.
Nine, while affirming the mutually inclusive relationship between the public legitimacy of the police and organizational accountability following rational grounds of police accountability are identified: one, accountability helps to resolve the paradox of police governance by affecting a balance between the discretionary use of powers and their justifiable use required for securing optimum operational output (Mawby and Wright 2005). Though these police powers are essential for police functioning yet at the same time they have the potential of being abused (Jones 2006). Thus an accountability mechanism is required to oversee the use of police powers; two, since the police as public organization draws largely upon public exchequer for their operation so the public require it to give an account for the consumption of public funds to a democratic body. An effective accountability mechanism demands that the organization should incorporate both external as well as internal organs which are complementary to each other (Jones 2006). Though community-identification (Reith 1956)of police in terms of plural policing is democratically cherished development yet owing to involvement of plurality of non-police actors it is prone to some serious problems of accountability (R. D. Mawby 1991). These problems can be addressed through diffusion of statutory mandate to oversee the functioning of police into different bodies at local, regional and national levels (Loader 2000).
Last, though difference of opinion is the beauty of democracy yet states having sharp cleavages on religious, ethnic and economic grounds due to their divisive potential, become less fertile for democracy to flourish (Robertson 1987). In a conflicting social milieu marginalized sections of society, being most of the time at the receiving end, may end up as “police property” and thus may repose relatively less trust in the organization unless their participation in the political process is acknowledged (Reiner 1992) (Reisig and Correia 1997).
Dynamics of Organizational Legitimacy of Police in England and Wales: A Case Study
In the preceding chapter I have underscored the principles of democratic governance and organizational legitimacy of police within conceptual and normative framework. This chapter will focus upon the application of these principles to the police organization in England and Wales as a case-study and will analyse how these principles influenced the dynamics of organizational legitimacy of British police.
The British police as a formal, disciplined and organized body, commonly referred to as ‘New Police’ was introduced in 1829. It emerged to replace a characteristically inefficient, corrupt, ungovernable and informal policing system which had virtually proved to be a failure to tackle the complex problems of social control associated with rapid urbanization and industrialization (Schwartz and Miller 1964) (R. Mawby 2006) (Johnston 1992).The failure of existing police in the wake of Gordon riots(1870) when London remained in the hands of rioters for five days provided impetus to the concerns for having a new police, capable of meeting the demands of the Capitalist society. But even the ‘new police’, being perceived as threat to public liberties which were jealously guarded by the British people since the Glorious Revolution, could not earn public support (Emsley 2006). It was Robert Peel who, by incorporating the elements of organizational legitimacy in the police governance, uplifted the British police to the zenith of public approval. However, the period following 1960s witnessed downward trend in the level of public support to the British police. As shown in figure (2:1), BCS, 2000 suggests marked decline in the level of public trust in police between the years 1982 to 2000. This decline is largely attributed to the reversal of principles which earned legitimacy to Peel’s police.
The following discussion will focus upon the impact of the determinants of police legitimacy, as identified in the preceding chapter, on the dynamics of public legitimacy of police in England and Wales.
One, the hostility of the British people towards police was rooted in their experience of policing patterns prevalent prior to the introduction of formal police. These patterns depict police as an informal, private and undisciplined force. For instance, Bow Street Patrols used to provide security to brothels in return for their considerations (Johnston 2000). The new police came out to be a disciplined and professional bureaucratic organization. Entry and promotion mechanisms were made transparent. Training standards of the recruits were also brought in synchronization with public expectations regarding service delivery. Moreover, a clear set of discipline mechanism was put in place to regulate the internal discipline as well as its public disposition. For instance, the police leadership in England and Wales made the wide powers of police under the Vagrancy Act 1824 and Metropolitan Police Act 1839, subordinate to strict regulations within the legal framework to guard against the possible violations of the civil liberties (Reiner 1992).The promotion procedure itself, was instrumental in discipline maintenance as promotions were subject to strict observance of hierarchical discipline (Miller 1977). However, during the 1970s, the British police could not retain its image as an efficient bureaucracy when quality of recruits was compromised as police in terms of a profession, owing to low pay incentives, was no more attractive for well educated youth. Training standards could not be improved to correspond to the demands of modern complex society. Traditional drill and discipline was adversely affected by over-emphasis on corporate style of management (Reiner 1992).This weakening of organizational discipline exposed the British police to corruption scandals whose impact on its public image was so overwhelming that other efforts like Edmond Davies Pay Award, Graduate Entry Scheme etc which aimed at recovering the image of police as an efficient bureaucracy got overshadowed. These corruption scandals included an interception of conversation between the detectives and criminals by journalists of The Times, corrupt activities of Drug Squad and Obscene Publication Squad and corruption in terms of direct involvement of detectives in heinous offences (Newburn 2006).These scandals eroded the police legitimacy which depends upon public perception of organizational authorities in terms of honesty and efficiency (Tyler 1990).
Two, evidence suggests that policy of restrained use of force has close relationship with public legitimacy of police. For instance, the British police could earn public support when its image emerged as an unarmed and civil organization in the mid-19th century. The British police, as a matter of principle, even in the ever worst law and order problems of 1930s used minimal force as compared to other countries and preferred to restrain from violence as much as possible by pursuing Sir Robert Mark’s crowed control strategy of ‘winning by appearing to lose’ (Reiner 1992).However, the public trust in police diminished when during the 1980s public protests and more specifically during the miners’ strike police resorted to unrestrained use of force against the protestors (Newburn 2006). Moreover, as is evident from the Brixton Riots (1981), the importance of the strategy of the use of minimal force as a means to win public legitimacy becomes more profound in a multi-ethnic society like the Britain (Scarman 1982). These riots were triggered by discriminatory and excessive use of force against ethnic minorities especially the black (Bowling and Phillips 2006). Figure (2:2) shows how the policy of excessive and discriminatory use of force has adversely affected ethnic minorities’ level of trust in police.
Three, though police are not the sole agent to control the dynamics of crime (D. J. Smith 2007) yet empirical analysis of crime data of England and Wales corroborates Tyler’s (2004) thesis which emphasise upon mutually inclusive relationship between police performance in terms of crime control and public trust. Figure (2:3) shows that till 1970s crime remained low and correspondingly the level of public trust during this time-frame was high whereas during the last 30 years crime got exponential rise resulting in the downward trend in public legitimacy of police organization. Similarly, the ratio of cleared-up cases being an indicator of police performance has similar impact upon the rise and decline of organizational legitimacy.
Four, equity in service provision to all segments of society irrespective of their social, religious or ethnic backgrounds is intrinsic to the democratic governance of police and thus an instrument of public legitimacy. Its importance becomes more paramount in multi-ethnic societies like Britain. Empirical data on the police governance of ethnic minorities in England and Wales suggests an undeniable link between the discriminatory response of police and diminishing public trust in the organization. Research literature suggests that quality of police services for the ethnic minorities has not been uniform as compared to white people (Scarman 1982) (D. J. Smith 1994).
Moreover, police response to racist incidents has been poor as compared to their response to ordinary crime (Bowling and Phillips 2006). For instance, poor police response following the Stephen Lawrence’s racist murder (1993) reflects discrimination in quality of service to the ethnic minorities (Macpherson 1999). Moreover, as mentioned earlier, ethnic minorities have been more vulnerable to excessive use of force by the police. As shown in Figure (2:4), BCS (1999) suggests that ethnic minorities are more at the risk of victimization as against their white counterparts especially in property offences. Moreover, in UK during the year 2001-02, 70 people died in police custody and ethnic minorities constituted majority of them (Bowling and Phillips 2006). The negative impact of this unequal treatment is evident from the increased number of civil litigation cases against the police. The number of these cases increased from 07 in 1979 to 1000 in 1996.This increase is suggestive of the declining level of ethnic minorities’ trust in British police.
Five, the origin of ‘new police’ in Britain was viewed by the working class not simply in terms of what Reiner (1994) terms as “functional imperative” but also as a move to discipline their lives on factory patterns (Storch 1975). Thus, they developed hostility towards the new police as an instrument to protect the Capitalists’ interests (Robinson, Scaglion and Olivero 1994) (Haas 1982). However, the new police could win public support only when they avoided to be felt partial in service provision by strict adherence to ‘rule of law’. Their impression of being neutral got further strengthened by making their internal recruitment and promotion mechanism transparent and merit-oriented. Subsequently by 1920s, this stance of neutrality consummated into the doctrine of constabulary independence meaning thereby, that in operational matters the chief constable in accountable to none but law (Reiner 1992). However, this image of neutrality got eroded during the Thatcher era when police was used as an instrument to enforce government policy and to maintain status quo during the public disorders especially during the miners’ strike (R. Mawby 2006). Moreover, penal populism which emerged out of inability of police to control the rising tide of crime during 1960s and 1970s also culminated into the politicization of police. In 1978, the Police Federation’s campaign to influence the 1979 elections and similarities of its law and order agenda with the Conservative Party was a watershed in the erosion of its non-partisan character (Reiner 1992).
Six, fair procedure, in terms of neutrality and equality in service provision, demands that the vast discretionary powers of police are subordinate to the philosophy of rule of law. Since the powers which the police enjoy to protect the fundamental liberties of the people simultaneously provide for the potential for their abuse as well (Jones 2006), therefore, the new police in England and Wales restricted the use of discretion by strict adherence to legal procedure. This was a deliberate effort to win public support. For instance, placing the vast discretionary of powers of police under the Vagrancy Act 1824 and Metropolitan Police Act 1839, subordinate to strict regulations within the legal framework suggests that police leadership was convinced even during the initial years that they draw their legitimacy from the law and public consent (Reiner 1992). However, penal populism during the 1970s politicized the issues of police malpractices and violations of legal procedure as well. In case of ethnic minorities there is a well substantiated evidence of the unequal use of discretion against the ethnic minorities especially the black with regard to stop and search practice in UK (D. J. Smith 1994). Similarly, this disproportionate treatment with regard to the use of police discretion is evident in gender perspective as well (Heidensohn 1994).Even serious complaints of domestic violence constituting all ingredients of a criminal act are not dealt with as a crime (Dobash 1979). Moreover, violations of suspects’ rights during police custody became contested issue in the aftermath of Fisher Report (1977). This report highlighted various aspects of suspects’ rights leading to their false confession of the commission of offence (Reiner 1992). Moreover, the number of deaths in police custody also increased manifold in the period following the 1970s (Reiner 1992). These concerns demanded codification of police powers and resultantly the PACE 1984 was introduced which focussed at maintaining a proportionate balance between the police powers and rights of the people (Home Office 2008). However, evidence suggests that in the subsequent period, the violations of legal procedure have rather increased instead of decreasing and thus shook the public image of police.
Seven, as stated earlier, democratic model of police governance requires the police to be a “service” rather than a “force”. During the 19th century, transformation of British police from ‘force to service’ by assuming different roles beyond formal police functions- from inspection of bridges to waking up people in the morning to go to work was a deliberate attempt aimed at winning legitimacy to the organization (Reiner 1992). Though owing to the conflict-ridden nature of police work the effectiveness of police in providing services beyond the conflict resolution is debatable (D. J. Smith 2007), yet there is no denying the fact that provision of such services does have a positive impact on the beneficiaries of these services. However, during the last few decades a perception has emerged in British police that crime fighting is their real task which should not be compromised by social work. The fact remains that service role of police besides crime fighting was an important element which helped new police in securing public legitimacy and to eschew it is to invite predicaments to secure public legitimacy.
Eight, though there was no formal mechanism to which the new police was accountable during the initial years, yet as Reiner (1992) has suggested it was informally accountable to courts as well as to the people in terms of its community-identification, meaning thereby that policing was a social function which every citizen was liable to perform. During the period following 1960s, though the principle of community identification of police continued to exist as rhetoric with the Conservatives (R. D. Mawby 1991) yet the centralizing trends in police governance raised concerns over the local control of police. This centralizing trend is evident in the form of role of central bodies like National Reporting Centre, Audit Commission, National Criminal Intelligence Service and other legal instruments (R. Mawby 2006). The 1964 Police Act provided the basic framework for police governance in England and Wales on the basis of a tripartite structure consisting of local police authorities, Chief Constable and Home Office. Under this Act, though police authorities had the advisory mandate in terms of guiding the Chief Constable with regard to policing the area yet most of the powers of the local police authorities including the appointment of Chief Constable were subject to cooperation of the Home Office (Jones 2006).Moreover, the financial administration of police was centralised as until 1995 Home Office continued administering the financial resources of the police. Thus, accountability model devised by this Act was “explanatory and cooperative” instead of being “subordinate and obedient” (Marshall 1978). Subsequently, Police and Magistrates Courts Act 1994 was introduced to put in place an efficient and effective service delivery mechanism by imposing market discipline on the police service as devised by 1993 White Paper published by the Home Office and Sheehy Committee report on rewards and responsibilities (Walker 2000), (Jones 2006). This Act laid down a complex procedure for the selection of members of the local police authority and their choice fell upon those belonging to professional and business backgrounds (Loveday 2000). Police Act 1996 provided for a new form of managerial accountability by empowering the local police authorities to identify the policing objectives by making annual policing plan and then by monitoring their organizational performance (Loveday 2000). Though Community Consultative Groups created under the PACE 1984 continued to work under the Police Act, 1996 yet their constituents being from upper strata of society were not true representatives of the stake holders. Moreover, with the devolution of financial powers to police chief constable under this Act, the police chief who had now been in the control of both operational as well as financial issues of police services became, in the words of Loveday (2000) became both the “purchaser and provider” of the services. Subsequently, Crime and Disorder Act, 1998, on the trajectory of multi-agency partnership involving police, probation and other public services which were obliged to bring out a plan for the crime reduction, provided for an effective external interference on the part of local authorities to achieve crime and disorder reduction targets side by side with police (Jones 2006). Under the New Labour ‘performance management has become the key to assess the police performance (Waters 2000) In the year 2000, the New Labour introduced the market trends in the police management in the “best value” framework(Leigh 1999). However, in the wake of Police Reforms Act, 2002, the police management came out to be a juxtaposition of centralization, managerialism and marketization with the increased focus on crime control (Jones 2006). Owing to these centralizing trends in accountability mechanism the British police began to be perceived as a national force instead of under local control. Thus the principle of community-identification of police which earned the British police public legitimacy during initial years was replaced by a centralized mechanism of accountability.
Last but not the least, as has been said earlier, the new police was initially perceived by the labour class in terms of Capitalists’ instrument of their exploitation (Robinson, Scaglion and Olivero 1994) (Haas 1982). However, in the subsequent period, with the incorporation of working class into the mainstream of the British society and by non-affirmation of any gulf between the police and the community, it could achieve public approval (Reiner 1992)( Reisig 1997) (Robinson and Scaglion 1987). During the past few decades the cleavages between the British society has re-emerged leading to unemployment especially in the context of ethnic minorities. As identified by Scarman report, majority of the rioters in Brixton (1981) were residing the inner city areas with low social amenities. Moreover, as identified above, police experience of most of the ethnic minorities have been less satisfactory as compared to the white people leading to decline in public trust.
Police Governance in Pakistan: A Question of Public Legitimacy
This chapter focuses upon the context in which Police Order, 2002 was introduced to replace the Police Act, 1861 of Colonial India. The context provides a premise to understand the policing system as insinuated in Police Act, 1861 as well as to figure out the defining characteristics of the broader political order under which the new police was to function. It is in this contextual framework, while identifying the aims of the new Police Order, I shall weigh up its bearing upon the public legitimacy of police organization.
3.1 Contextualizing the Police Order, 2002:
The most peculiar feature of Pakistan’s creation in 1947 was that it never existed in the past as an identifiable political entity. It was rather a part of South Asian sub-continent which used to be the British India. Pakistan inherited the colonial instruments of governance including Police Act, 1861 as an interim arrangement. This act was introduced in United India in the aftermath of anti-colonial uprising of 1857 when the governing authority was transferred to Westminster from the East India Company (Bayley 1985). Designed on the Irish Constabulary model, though, it constituted a response of the imperialist political society to the recalcitrant segments of the Indian people (Kumar and Verma 2009) yet it laid down the basis of formal police system in India. The Irish Constabulary was, over and above, an instrument to coerce the defiance of Irish people into compliance to the Westminster. The source of legitimacy for the constabulary was Westminster instead of Irish people. Moreover, it was subordinate to the political process in Britain instead of any local democratic authority as the chief constable was exclusively answerable to the central government. Similarly, the principal objective of the police, as developed on the basis of the Police Act, 1861 was not service delivery but to safeguard the imperial interests. To achieve this objective the police had to show allegiance to the law as well as to the political authorities. Allegiance to law was believed to be central to the functioning of criminal justice system and subordination to political authorities was considered vital to watch over the colonial interests largely by means of extensive surveillance of anti-colonial public protests and movements (Kumar and Verma 2009). The police performance in both spheres was promising- promising to achieve the defined objectives of colonialism. The criminal justice system delivered well but naturally in the ultimate sense subordinate to the imperial interests. As priorities of the British were above the local level conflicts so a desired level of justice was maintained in everyday life. Moreover, the influence of politics in the administration of justice was non-existent as there was no constituency politics during the colonial era (Khan 2002). Furthermore, owing to its close working proximity with law, the police could create a support base amongst the natives for the raj and thus, proved more effective than even army to serve the British hegemonic agenda (Kumar and Verma 2009).
This act put the police to the subordination to law as well as to the political process by performing two diverse functions: collection of revenue and maintenance of order under the executive authority of the British government through the office of District Magistrate.
Nevertheless, despite radical change in the super ordinate system- from colonial to sovereign- this act continued to subsist for more than half a century when it was replaced by Police Order, 2002.
- Democracy as political system was proclaimed by the ruling elite but democracy as a form of governance could never get hold.
- Pakistan became a praetorian state
- State caught in paradox between democracy as a political system and democracy as form of governance.
- Why military dictator introduced democratic governance of police- question of public legitimacy to military government...even fascist government need legitimacy to survive... basis of legitimacy...if Hitler explored legitimacy in the exploitation of the nationalist sentiments of Germans, Mussolini found it in ------. Similarly, Military government in Pakistan like other dictatorships in the 20th century could not find any ideology to use as a basis for public legitimacy. They explored legitimacy in democracy as a form of governance.
- Impact—why it could not secure legitimacy- because an organization cannot win public legitimacy within an otherwise non-legitimate system.
- Police Order, 2002 was not perceived as legitimate by public itself for not being the reflection of the will of the people but rather the will of a ruler and thus it could not resolve the paradox between ‘the ruler and the ruled’. In democracy, laws are the will of the people as they are enacted by the public representatives.
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