Populist policing and speedy decisions

Apologies for the light posting this week. I’ve been in Northern Ireland where I met someone who was studying criminology. Her key concern was the question of local control of policing and populism: Would devolved policing result in a deterioration into populism.

Northern Ireland is an interesting case in point, given the historic divides. Unionists, with some spectacular exceptions, have often been close to the model of the deferential working class found elsewhere in the UK. Republicans, on the other hand, have a … er … history … of scepticism about the authority of state justice.<<< understatement of the year!

How far would Northern Ireland provide a good model for looking at the general question of devolved policing?

All of this is a prelude to a link to this post on the LGIU blog: Localise criminal justice now. And this brilliant one about waste and decentralisation

The latter link has some interesting implications: How far is the current centralised model of policing (lots of form filling, procedures and risk aversion) predicated on the need to keep highly paid managers apprised of the information that they need to make the right decisions, and to ensure that when the wrong ones are made, that the same managers aren’t blamed?.

The other post I’ve seen that is worth a look is this one about the speed of decision-making. It raises three questions:

  1. Has the active internet forced the speed of decisions up?
  2. Are those decisions better as a result?
  3. Is there a role that public bodies could be playing to deal with this issue?
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Cognitive polyphasia and devolved politics

BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme – and the podcast – are essential listening for anyone with even the slightest wonkish tendencies.

Just after posting on ‘cognitive polyphasia‘ a few days ago, I listened to this programme from their archive about the problems that devolution is creating for parties that were established as ‘national’ parties. One of the talking heads on the programme – Linda Colley –  suggested that few people in Westminster really thought through the consequences of creating a Scottish Parliament.

Well, it’s there now. And it’s forcing politicians to modify their reliance upon monolithic one-size-fits-all policies.

Perhaps more powers should be devolved in different ways without much thought?