Many of us would find it difficult to imagine a police car with commercial advertising on its sides. The practice would strike some as preposterous, an affront to the dignity of the police service. At the end of 2006, we asked a senior Australian police officer if this could ever happen in her country. “Never say never” was her reply.
This book is about the dramatic transformation in police management that is occurring at the beginning of the twenty first century. The change is astonishing. In some jurisdictions, to commence an investigation, or to introduce a crime prevention project, requires one to present a ‘business case’. A senior Singapore police officer recently mused that he was as much a businessman as a policeman, and suggested, not entirely metaphorically, that the Singapore Police might one day be listed on the Stock Exchange. He predicted a bull run.
There was a time, not that long ago, when policing in English-speaking democracies was very different from what it is today. It was done almost exclusively by career public employees, known commonly, if not universally, as ‘police.’ They tended to join the ranks at a relatively early age (the late teens in some places) and after a brief period of instruction and physical training at a police academy, to learn their craft on the job.