Is centralisation the right way to go ? : The case of internal security policy reforms in Switzerland in the light of community policing

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_E25017BFF700
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Is centralisation the right way to go ? : The case of internal security policy reforms in Switzerland in the light of community policing
Journal
International Review of Administrative Sciences
Author(s)
Jacot-Descombes C., Niklaus J.
ISSN
0020-8523 (Print)
1461-7226 (Electronic)
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2016
Volume
82
Number
2
Pages
335-353
Language
english
Abstract
Looking from the angle of the allocation of tasks between cantons and municipalities in Switzerland, this article analyses how security reforms tend to concentrate police institutions at the cantonal level and eliminate local police in order to improve efficiency. As the shift to centralisation is being implemented through consensus-building, cities claim to be special cases and succeed in conserving their local police. The analysis focuses on two cantonal reforms through qualitative data. The results show that institutional changes have led to three main arrangements after reform: the centralisation of police (the municipalities buy the services of the cantonal police); regionalisation (several municipalities implement their policing activities together); and decentralisation (the city conserves its local police). In regard to which arrangement produces the best impact, an evaluation of the perception of actors (citizens and police) shows that the police's work and the feeling of security are better in a decentralised setting.
Points for practitioners Political issues are at the centre of reforms that aim for a new distribution of responsibilities between levels of public authorities in the Swiss security sector. They can strongly influence the new arrangements introduced by reform. Even if cantonal decision-makers have solid arguments to centralise a task, the power of municipalities is stronger. This leads to an asymmetric federalism, where cities can maintain their police and municipalities have to buy cantonal police services. As the decentralised option is better evaluated by citizens and the police, centralisation reforms are difficult to implement where there is a tradition of local police.
Create date
07/06/2016 8:24
Last modification date
20/08/2019 17:06
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