Community Planning, Community Safety and Policing: a local case study of governance through partnership
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The Local Government in Scotland Act (2003) introduced Community Planning as a statutory responsibility in Scotland. The main aims of community planning are described as “making sure people and communities are genuinely engaged in the decisions made on public services which affect them; allied to a commitment from organisations to work together, not apart, in providing better public services” (Scottish Executive, 2003a). For the police, this implied the need to create ‘local solutions to locally identified concerns’ (Strathclyde Police, 2004, p2) and to adopt a holistic approach to community safety which is problem oriented rather than organisation led (Crawford, 1998, p10). The specific and often local nature of problems put forward by communities, is therefore allocated a dominant role in determining the nature of the solution (Goldstein, 1990). This thesis has explored the implementation of community planning and associated community safety policies within a case study area of the former Strathclyde Police. The processes of partnership working and community engagement were found to be central to this approach. Meta- bureaucracy has been used to describe the partnerships activities and linkage to national outcomes presented in this thesis. That is to say, partnership working in this research does not represent a clear growth of ‘autonomous’ networks and governance arrangements as set out by Rhodes (2000) but rather an extension of bureaucratic controls. State actors such as the police service remain pre-eminent within increasingly formalised systems of partnership. Issues of voice, leadership and pragmatic culture were all important findings for the implementation of community planning in practice. However, an implementation gap was identified between the rhetoric and lived experience of those entrusted to deliver these policy goals. Compared to more recent developments of a national police service, issues of professionalisation, operational autonomy and reduction of effective local accountability – all supported police focus on enforcement led policing as opposed to partnership working and community safety more broadly.