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Reforming the Norwegian police

A new article by Tom Christensen, Per Lægreid, Lise H Rykkja examines the police reform that culminated with a proposal for new police structure in 2015.

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This article examines the reform of the police in Norway between 2012 to 2015 drawing upon central public reports and official documents leading up to the reform. These include the report from the official Inquiry Commission into the police response to the terrorist attacks in Oslo and at Utøya in July 2011, a report issued by a public commission in 2013 – established to analyze challenges within the police – and the resulting government proposal and parliamentary discussion that culminated in a decision to create a new police structure in 2015. While governance capacity and the need for a stronger emergency police were a main concern throughout the process, the importance of governance legitimacy and of maintaining a community police force became more important towards the end. The organizational thinking behind the reform is explained in terms of a structural and an institutional perspective. The analysis shows that both cultural and structural change was seen as prominent instruments for improving the police force, but they were emphasized differently at different points during the process. The analysis demonstrates that political context, agenda settings, attention shifting and situational factors as well as path dependency were important drivers of the reform.

Read the full article here.