Civilian Oversight of Police: Advancing Accountability in Law Enforcement, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Civilian Oversight of Police

Advancing Accountability in Law Enforcement, 1st Edition

Edited by Tim Prenzler, Garth den Heyer

CRC Press

276 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-11-03
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Exploring the complex and controversial topic of civilian oversight of police, this book analyzes the issues and debates entailed by civilian oversight by using worldwide perspectives, in-depth case studies, and a wealth of survey data. Integrating and summarizing decades of research from many locations around the globe, Civilian Oversight of Police: Advancing Accountability in Law Enforcement uses a very clear and consistent pattern of findings to address the overall management of police conduct.

The book examines the history and performance of oversight agencies in multiple jurisdictions around the world. The evidence used includes:

  • Citizen, complainant, and police views on oversight
  • Stakeholder experiences with different types of responses to complaints
  • Data about police conduct

Emphasizing the concept of shared responsibility for effective police integrity management, the book discusses what does and does not work in maximizing police management and performance. It presents a best practices model for managing police conduct and describes the impact of oversight agencies on police policy, including innovative means by which agencies can work with police departments to improve police conduct.

Civilian Oversight of Police provides a critical resource on police conduct for professionals as well as academics. It makes practical recommendations for achieving a "win-win" balance in addressing the needs and interests of all parties involved with the police complaints and accountability process. It also marks a starting point to stimulate further research as well as increased collaboration between researchers and practitioners to enhance the stock of knowledge for effective police integrity management and democratic accountability.

Table of Contents


Scandal, Inquiry, and Reform: The Evolving Locus of Responsibility for Police Integrity

Tim Prenzler

Independent Minded: The Role and Status of "Independence" in the Investigation of Police Complaints

Stephen P. Savage


Democratic Policing, Public Opinion, and External Oversight

Tim Prenzler

Complainants’ Views of Police Complaint Systems: The Gap between Aspiration and Experience

Louise Porter and Tim Prenzler

Police Views on Processing Complaints against Police

Tim Prenzler


Civilian Oversight of Police in Africa: Trends and Challenges

Julie Berg and Simon Howell

Police Accountability and Citizen Oversight in Emerging Democracies in Asia

Mahesh K. Nalla

The Interface between Human Rights and Police Complaints in Europe

Graham Smith

Citizen Oversight in the United States and Canada: Applying Outcome Measures and Evidence-Based Concepts

Geoffrey P. Alpert, Tyler Cawthray, Jeff Rojek and Frank Ferdik

Police Independent Oversight in Australia and New Zealand

Garth den Heyer and Alan Beckley


Police Professional Standards Units and External Oversight Agencies: Can There Be Productive Collaboration?

Louise Porter

Managing Police Conduct: Finding the Ideal Division of Labor between Internal and External Processes

Tim Prenzler

About the Editors

Tim Prenzler is a professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, where he is program convenor of the Bachelor in Criminology and Justice. He was a chief investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, based at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, where he managed the Integrity Systems Research Program. He was also a member of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. He is the author of Police Corruption: Preventing Misconduct and Maintaining Integrity; coauthor, with Adam Graycar, of Understanding and Preventing Corruption; editor of Policing and Security in Practice: Challenges and Achievements; and editor of Professional Practice in Crime Prevention and Security Management.

Garth den Heyer is a qualitative researcher whose interests include police organizational reform and performance and police service delivery effectiveness. He is an inspector with the New Zealand Police, a lecturer with Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a senior research fellow with the Police Foundation in Washington, DC. He has a doctorate in public policy from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. He has published extensively on police reform and is the author of The Role of Civilian Police in Peacekeeping: 1999-2007 and Use of Econometric Modeling and Analysis to Support Operational Policing.

About the Series

Advances in Police Theory and Practice

Presenting volumes that focus on the nexus between research and practice, the Advances in Police Theory and Practice series is geared toward those practitioners and academics seeking to implement the latest innovations in policing from across the world. This series draws from an international community of experts who examine who the police are, what they do, and how they maintain order, administer laws, and serve their communities.

The series eeditor encourages the contribution of works coauthored by police practitioners and researchers. Proposals for contributions to the series may be submitted to the series editor Dilip Das at

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology