Exploring Community Policing as Social Innovation. Democratic Governance, social needs, social change, and implementation challenges. The cases of Badalona and Pamplona (Spain)

Masters project for Artur Rubinat (Department of Administration and Organization Theory at UiB)

My master thesis reads Community Policing as Social Innovation. In the Police service this means to link democratic governance mechanisms (citizen and community participation), with meeting security needs to produce social change. I study the Local Police reforms in the cities of Badalona and Pamplona (Spain) (2015 – 2018). The cities share common past problems in relation the Police service, but also a new philosophy to apply.

I have carried out an explorative multiple case study, using face to face interviews, documents and news review. My work has four main justifications. First, the reforms show that a new direction on police and policing is possible in Spain. Second, it is needed to apply Social Innovation theory to police reform to have new analytical dimensions. Third, in relation to this, we need to better connect democratic governance, social needs and social change in relation the security and police questions. And four, there is always the question of implementation challenges. The main research questions are if the reforms are designed under the ideas of Social Innovation and the practical consequences of this, the implementation factors, and finally, the possible consequences of the results of these two reforms in relation the main policing models.

The results are as follows. First, the Police reforms are defined clearly under the principles of Social Innovation. There are many commonalities, for example, a strong emphasis on democratic governance to define the security needs of vulnerable social groups. As for the practical (street level) consequences of this philosophical principles, I have detected many new different mechanisms in relation the new policing models. In addition to that, I have detected that the four implementation factors proposed have appeared with some differences between cities. Contradiction patterns in the implementation process, is something to consider.

You can access the whole thesis here.