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Standing on the Inside Looking Out: The Significance of Police Unions in Networks of Police Governance

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 19:20 authored by Fleming, J, Marks, M, Wood, J
Scholars and practitioners now recognise the importance of ‘governing through networks’ if policing agendas are to be promoted effectively and democratically. Central to such an agenda of networked governance is the identification or creation of community-based structures and processes that can be harnessed by, and linked to, other forms of governance in furtherance of security outcomes. However, notions of community have generally been limited to the ‘communities’ outside of police organisations. This article explores the idea of a police union as ‘a community of interest’. We suggest that police unions are ‘communities’ that have the potential to impact significantly on the governance of security. As ‘insider groupings’ police unions are engaged in complex networks of police management, policy decision-makers and civil society groupings both at the national and international level. Given their organisational status, police unions have the potential to constitute themselves as active, forward-thinking social agencies within policing network arrangements. But, in order to do this they need to move beyond the demands of their conservative social base and their preoccupation with industrial issues and embrace the changing world of policing. In addition, they may need to network with a range of agencies beyond the security industry such as social justice groupings and the broad trade union movement.


Publication title

Australian and New Zealand Jounal of Criminology








School of Social Sciences


Australian Academic Press Pty.Ltd.

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright © 2006 Australian Academic Press

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Socio-economic Objectives

Law enforcement

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