When Police Go Shopping

Julie Ayling, Peter Grabosky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Purpose - This article aims to alert readers to the procurement and acquisition activities of police agencies, to the risks that these entail, and to mechanisms for their effective management. Design/methodology/approach - The article explores the ways in which acquisition by police is conducted and regulated. It examines these relationships between police and the private sector from the perspective of their benefits, such as costs and efficiency gains, and the risks they entail, including overdependency, corruption and lack of accountability. Findings - Shopping by the public police is on the increase. Through procurement and outsourcing, police harness resources needed to cope with increasing demands on their services. Increased police activity in the marketplace, driven by changing ideological, economic and pragmatic considerations, represents a fundamental structural shift in policing. The article identifies appropriate institutional and procedural safeguards, and raises questions about the implications of commercial relationships for the future of public policing. Originality/value - This article makes a contribution by flagging the increased reliance of police on externally provided goods and services, and by suggesting ways in which the procurement process can be managed to ensure both accountability and value for money.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-690
    JournalPolicing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management
    Issue number4, 2006
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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