Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This chapter examines the operational realities of the police executive linkages—beyond the official dictates of the law and the desired position expressed in ideological discourses on police independence. Paper draws primarily on historical and criminological literature and research, and public inquiries.

The central argument of this paper is that, while there may be a somewhat clear-cut division between the’ policy’ versus the ‘operational’ control of the police by the State in law and in rhetoric, the reality is quite different. The relationship between the State and the police is a dynamic relationship that changes to reflect the nature of the policing that is being carried-out, the political interests of the party in power, and to some extent the personalities of the key players within both the police services and in politics at a specific period in time.

This research indicates that looking for the ‘smoking gun’—i.e. the memo or document that in writing acknowledges a directive from the executive to the police—sidesteps the reality of the on-going partnerships between politics and policing.