Defunding the police in the UK: Critical questions and practical suggestions

Fleetwood, J and Lea, John. 2022. Defunding the police in the UK: Critical questions and practical suggestions. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 61(2), pp. 167-184. ISSN 2059-1098 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Calls to defund the police emerged from BLM protests of 2020, inspiring US cities to shift funding from policing to social welfare. Here we consider how defunding might translate to the UK, raising critical questions about our distinct funding arrangements, and social welfare traditions. Next, we consider how the spirit of defunding could be adapted in the UK drawing on the left realist proposition of minimal policing, radically restricting police powers and autonomy. In contrast to many abolitionists, we foresee the state continuing to play an important role in ensuring justice through the development of specialist non-police led agencies to respond to serious crimes and residual conflicts.

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Policing; racism; Black Lives Matter; defunding

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18 August 2021Accepted
27 February 2022Published Online
June 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

03 Feb 2022 16:23

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2022 13:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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