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The advent of public-sector managerialism has brought with it a new principle of police accountability in Western democracies such as Australia and Britain. The new accountability gives emphasis to managerial rather than legal or public-interest standards, favours external oversight combined with self-regulation rather than centralized control, and promotes risk management rather than rule enforcement. This article makes use of the experience of an Australian police force to show that the new accountability has not been successful in holding police accountable, while elements of the old accountability have re-emerged to dominate public debates. It is argued that in the area of police governance, the neo-liberal state does not necessarily pursue a coherent strategy of 'acting at a distance' (cf. Miller and Rose 1990), partly because of the inability of accountability technologies to deliver substantially the promised policy outcomes and partly because of the sensitivity of its political arm to the public's moral outrage against corruption (cf. Garland 1 996).