Knowledge, politics and the police

Murji, Karim (2010). Knowledge, politics and the police. Policing: a journal of policy and practice, 4(2) pp. 163–168.



This article reflects on the role of a chief officer and in particular the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair. The overlapping political structures in London that he found himself working under led to an expressed wish for simplification. However, the hoped for outcomes can be seen as leading directly to his removal from office; it also forms the context for actual and proposed changes in police governance. His wider involvement in politics leads him to argue that a chief officer should be able to speak in public as a neutral expert. I question that because of the ways in which all kinds of expert knowledge claims are subject to challenge. With wider changes in political control possible or likely, the skill and judgment of chief officers in engaging with politics will become an even higher-profile concern.

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