Revisiting democratic policing

D. Palmer

Deakin University, Darren.palmer@deakin.edu.au

This paper examines the contemporary settlement concerning the idea of democratic policing in Australia. It does so through the analysis of three broad periods of police (and later policing) reforms: the mid nineteenth century, the democratic turn of the 1970s and 1980s and finally the more recent period from the 1990s to today. To a large extent the article concentrates on state police in the two earlier periods but increasingly shifts towards the inclusion of other policing authorities, in part of reflection of growing policing powers beyond state police. It is argued that current location of democratic policing within the problem of (external) accountability – as important as this is and as hard as it has been to achieve – limits a broader democratic project. Put within the theme of this conference of ‘Horizon Criminology’, it is suggested that there remain considerable challenges in the development of democratic policing within Australia, work that necessitates an understanding of and response to the democratic deficit contained within seeing the problem of democracy as one of accountability.

Biography

Dr Darren Palmer is an Associate Professor in Criminology at Deakin University, Geelong. His most recent book is Global Criminology (2015, with Ian Warren) and has a forthcoming co-edited book National Security, Surveillance and Terror: Canada and Australia in Comparative Perspectives (Palgrave, R Lippert, K Walby, I Warren & D Palmer).

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