Institutional failure: policing in permacrisis

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2023 Number 83

Institutional failure: policing in permacrisis
Karim Murji pages 21-33
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.83.02.2023


Recent scandals have once again highlighted ongoing failings in the Metropolitan Police force, for which yet more urgent reforms have been proposed. While police denialism of institutional racism continues to be a problem, the institutional failure that creates the recurring cycles of crisis goes beyond the Met. It is also rooted in a stunted mediascape, and, more seriously, a failing political culture that is addicted to the sugar rush of immediate political news, and mired in an authoritarian and zombie politics of law and order that seeks to manage dissent through producing first shock and then amnesia. This institutional permacrisis underlines the failures of all three institutions to recognise and address institutional racism. It is symptomatic of a failure to go beyond the facile assumption - in the face of decades of evidence to the contrary - that deeply embedded structural problems can be solved through the fix of culture-change programmes or the appointment of a heroic new leader. Recent reports have also found the Met to be marked by institutional misogyny and institutional corruption. This extension of the idea of systemic failure seems unlikely to prompt the kind of systemic and structural change that is needed.

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To cite this article
Karim Murji (2023) Institutional failure: policing in permacrisis, Soundings, 2023(83), 21-33.

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