New Article: ‘Holding Police Accountability Theory to Account’

Abstract: Civilian oversight of police has and continues to be the focus of heated debate, in terms of its efficacy in tackling police misconduct. In recent decades, the debate has broadened as some researchers have argued in favour of a ‘holistic’ approach to police oversight. The latter combines the traditional ‘reactive’ functions (i.e. tacking cases of individual misconduct) with ‘proactive’ functions designed to promote organizational changes that might reduce individual misconduct. Advocates believe that policy review and change—the preferred proactive function—can achieve police reform. This article explores the available research into the efficacy of holistic oversight in the literature, particularly in relation to the political factors that influence its success or failure. It also reviews evidence from the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo—a recent example of holistic oversight—and the relevance of certain political factors that influence its ability to achieve police reform.

Full Citation: Harris, F. (2012). Holding Police Accountability Theory to Account. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 6 (3): 240-249 (Available for download with subscription at: 

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