The aim of the essay is to describe, analyze and compare the nationalization of the municipal police service in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden during the first half of the twentieth century. Similar arguments for and against a nationalization were put forward in each Scandinavian country. At a theoretical level, the police were seen as the exclusive concern of the state. At a practical level, the many small municipal forces, with too few police constables, prevented development. Bringing the police under national control was seen as a way to develop the police. However, there were also arguments against nationalization that can explain why it took so long time to push through these reforms. The municipal police were regarded as more firmly rooted in the local community and among the general public. There was also a general fear of a nationalized police service. These views provided municipal police services with a strong symbolic meaning which was further strengthened through the connection between municipal policing and local government. The role of local government can also explain why Swedish police services were nationalized much later than in Denmark and Norway.
Several European countries, like the Netherlands, England, Wales and Scotland have implemented or are undergoing major structural changes in order to centralize their police organizations. (Fyfe, Terpstra & Tops, eds. 2013) This goes for the Scandinavian countries as well. As an extra twist, this centralization is presented as decentralization reforms. The purpose of this literature review of the Scandinavian police reforms is to present the studies done so far1Spring 2017. of these reforms. This with a special address to the non-Scandinavian readers. The presentation is limited to studies of the reform from 2005 and onwards.
Most of the monographs are written in Scandinavian languages. Books in English are limited to Degnegaards doctoral dissertation on the Danish police reform. However, four of the authors of the monographs have also presented articles on the studied reforms (Haraholma & Houtsonen 2013; Holmberg 2014; Holmberg & Balwig 2013; Johannesen 2015; Wennström 2013). A general discussion on the Norwegian reform is also found in Christenson et al. (2016). There are also articles in English of more specific studies like Haake et al. (2015) and Vuorensyrjä (2014).
The studies presented are of different character. First there are university and empirically based studies, such as Balvig, Holmberg and Nielsen’s (2011) extensive empirical survey of the Danish reform; Degnegaards (2010) dissertation which covers the same reform, from a management perspective; Haraholma’s (2011) evaluation of the Finnish reform, here presented through an article in Fyfe et al. (2013), and Renå’s (2016) survey report from Norway about police employees’ and managers’ attitudes to Norwegian police reform.
More specific studies are Vuorensyrjä’s (ibid.) study of changes in organizational and occupational stress in the Finnish police force during the police reform years, and Haake et al. (ibid) on expectations on police leaders during major organizational change pressures.
Second, with an empirical base, there are evaluations conducted by a government mandate, such as reports from the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret 2016) and from the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Direktoratet for forvaltning og IKT (Difi) 2017).
Third, there are three books which are primarily based in organizational theory and police science and which analyze the basic assumptions behind the police reforms, often in a polemic and popular way. This goes for Wennström’s (2014) and Björk’s (2016) analyses of the background to the Swedish reform, and Johannessen (2015), who examines the development of the Norwegian police.
This paper analyses the prehistory and short existence of the Danish bachelor’s degree programme in policing. I argue that both the development and the implementation of the programme were characterised by a systematic decoupling of the educational reform from the strategic objectives that it was supposed to accomplish. This explains the programme’s early demise in the politically tense situation that arose in the fall of 2015. However, since the study programme was originally intended as the concluding element in the 2007 police reform, I also argue that the recent restructuring of police training is part of a more general reorientation of Danish policing away from the objectives of the 2007 reform.1Disclaimer: I played a central role in the development and implementation of the Danish bachelor’s degree programme in policing. This means that I have had unique access to documents, meetings and persons involved in this process, and to a large extent this paper may be said to be based on field observations as a supplement to the various quoted documentary sources. However, it also means that my objectivity may be limited by the personal role that I played in the events. I hope to have avoided this danger by drawing extensively on institutional theory and giving explanations in terms of institutional processes and developments rather than in terms of personal agents, their actions and their merit (or lack of it).,2I would like to thank the anonymous referee and two of my former colleagues from the Danish National Police College, who preferred to remain anonymous, for their helpful suggestions and comments to an earlier draft of this paper.
This article deals with the reform named nærpolitireformen, literarlly translated “the near police reform” in Norway. There is a wide gap between the political retorics talking about community policing and the reality, that is bigger centralized units. The article analyses the solutions suggested to make the police local; the police contacts, police Councils and the SLT. It asks does these measures make the police local and what sort of police will we get after the reform?
This in-depth study investigates and discusses how police leaders lead and handle learning from experience. This is done by going into actual cases where police employees are suspected of committing criminal offences on duty and the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs (the Bureau) decides not to prosecute, but still requests of police leaders to address the issue. Based on actual cases, our findings show that police leaders interpret the Bureau’s request as an invite to look into one’s current practice. Still, the way the leaders lead learning from experience in these cases mainly takes the form of “straightening up” practice through instrumental learning measures, i.e., based on the criminal law. The findings also points towards that learning from actual cases, may require leading through opening up for reflection and dialogue concerning the question “is this good police work?”. The main findings are discussed in relation to what may be viewed as conditions for learning of experience.