Saturday, November 19, 2005

What are the Police For?

Sir Ian Blair in this year's Dimbleby Lecture (transcript here) has said that the public must decide what they want from the Police.

What the police are for is a surprisingly difficult question. The first time I ever saw it addressed was in a a remarkable article called "Broken Windows" published in the Atlantic in 1982.

Broken Windows has cast a long shadow. It is really the inspiration behind "zero tolerance", neighbourhood policing, and all sorts of initiatives.

You can read it (in Adobe Acrobat format) at

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