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(p. 205) 7. Police Powers and Accountability 

(p. 205) 7. Police Powers and Accountability
(p. 205) 7. Police Powers and Accountability

Robert Reiner

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date: 26 May 2020

This chapter focuses on the debate concerning police powers and accountability in Britain in relation to the problem of how the discretion enjoyed by the police can be regulated. It begins by outlining some fundamental issues about the legitimation of police powers before turning to a discussion of policy-making for the police force — the evaluation of priorities in resource allocation as well as strategy and style — and the street-level actions of rank-and-file officers. It then considers developments in police powers before and after the landmark Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, together with the legitimation of police powers by the principle of fundamental balance between powers and safeguards that was supposedly enshrined in PACE. The chapter concludes by assessing developments in police accountability, paying particular attention to the introduction of a statutory system for complaints and civil actions against the police.

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