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Subversive citizensPower, agency and resistance in public services$
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Marian Barnes and David Prior

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847422088

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847422088.001.0001

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Awkward customers? Policing in a consumer age

Awkward customers? Policing in a consumer age

(p.171) Eleven Awkward customers? Policing in a consumer age
Subversive citizens

Louise Westmarland

John Clarke

Policy Press

This chapter explores the problematic relationship between the consumerist orientation of New Labour's approach to public service reform and the organisation of the police as guardians of law and order. Police reform has always been a contentious issue, often provoking resistance and recalcitrance within the police service itself. In this case, the reform process creates potential tensions between the remit of serving the public and the responsibility of exercising legal authority. The discussion draws on empirical work in two English urban settings to consider how both police and public view ideas of a consumer/customer orientation in policing to examine the unsettled relationships between publics and police.

Keywords:   consumerist orientation, New Labour, public service, police reform, legal authority

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