'Standing on the inside looking out': The significance of police unions in networks of police governance

Jenny Fleming*, Monique Marks, Jennifer Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Scholars and practitioners now recognise the importance of 'governing through networks' if policing agendas are to be promoted effectively and democratically. Central to such an agenda of networked governance is the identification or creation of community-based structures and processes that can be harnessed by, and linked to, other forms of governance in furtherance of security outcomes. However, notions of community have generally been limited to the 'communities' outside of police organisations. This article explores the idea of a police union as 'a community of interest'. We suggest that police unions are 'communities' that have the potential to impact significantly on the governance of security. As 'insider groupings' police unions are engaged in complex networks of police management, policy decision-makers and civil society groupings both at the national and international level. Given their organisational status, police unions have the potential to constitute themselves as active, forward-thinking social agencies within policing network arrangements. But, in order to do this they need to move beyond the demands of their conservative social base and their preoccupation with industrial issues and embrace the changing world of policing. In addition, they may need to network with a range of agencies beyond the security industry such as social justice groupings and the broad trade union movement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-89
    Number of pages19
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


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