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Mind the implementation gap? Police reform and local policing in the Netherlands and Scotland.

Terpstra, Jan; Fyfe, Nicholas R


Jan Terpstra


In 2013 the governments of the Netherlands and Scotland established national police forces, replacing a tradition of largely autonomous regional police organizations. In both jurisdictions, these radical reforms have raised concerns about the consequences of these national police structures for local policing and for relationships with local communities and local government. Drawing on documentary sources and interview material from each jurisdiction and informed by insights from the policy implementation literature, the key question addressed in this article is how has the legislation that created the new national police forces been put into effect at a local level? Focusing on the impact on the governance, organization and delivery of local policing, the article reveals how the implementation in both jurisdictions involves interpretation and discretion by multiple actors so that gaps are emerging between the national ‘policy promises’ set out in the legislation and the ‘policy products’ experienced in local contexts.


TERPSTRA, J. and FYFE, N.R. 2015. Mind the implementation gap? Police reform and local policing in the Netherlands and Scotland. Criminology and criminal justice [online], 15(5), pages 527-544. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 19, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 19, 2015
Publication Date Nov 1, 2015
Deposit Date May 25, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 25, 2021
Journal Criminology and criminal justice
Print ISSN 1748-8958
Electronic ISSN 1748-8966
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 5
Pages 527-544
Keywords Governance; Implementation; Netherlands; Police; Reform; Scotland
Public URL


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