New Public Management Reforms in German Police Services

By Ritsert, Rolf; Pekar, Mirjam | German Policy Studies, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

New Public Management Reforms in German Police Services


Ritsert, Rolf, Pekar, Mirjam, German Policy Studies


1 Introduction

New Public Management (NPM) has become a standard international model for public administration reform (Schedler and Proeller, 2002: p. 163) during the last two decades. The rise of NPM reforms in Germany had several impacts on the federal and state police services. Against this background, we compare and contrast the development of NPM reforms in the police services to analyze if the NPM concepts of entrepreneurial management are appropriate to reform this special type of executive administration.

At first we depict the competences of Germany's eighteen polices services assigned by the German constitution and present policies' responsibilities defined by federal or state police law. Correspondingly we highlight characteristics and derive implications for NPM reforms.

Secondly we describe global economic forces and socio-demographic change, and the upcoming new management ideas generating reform pressure towards NPM reforms.

Thirdly we summarize the development of NPM reforms and distinct three phases to identify varying NPM implementation measures and NPM variants within the police services.

2 Police Services as a special type of public administration: Characteristics and Implications for Public Management Reforms

We argue that contexts are of outstanding importance when analyzing management reforms (Flynn, 2002: p. 57). The context of the specific German police system presents several implications for the introduction of management reforms which we like to discuss in the following.

Competences of German police services assigned by the German constitution

Under the German constitution (German Basic law) legislative powers on the general police law are assigned to the federal states (Grundgesetz, Artikel 70). Only special police responsibilities are assigned to the federal police services, e.g. the Border Police tasks (Grundgesetz, Art. 73 Nr. 5), the suppression of international terrorism (Grundgesetz, Art. 73 Nr. 9a), and the coordination of federal and federal states' authorities in criminal police matters (Grundgesetz, Art. 73 Nr. 10). Therefore the fundamental responsibility for public security falls under the legislative competence of the federal states' authorities (Schenke, 2007: p. 10).

Hence, each of the 16 federal states enacted its own police law and maintains its own police service (Landespolizei). In addition, the federal government has two specialised police services, namely the Federal Police (Bundespolizei, BPol) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).

Competences of German police services-Implications for management reforms

Because of the separation of competences of police services management reforms are quite diverse and heterogeneous as they are part of the individual states' or federal government's policy programme.

Since police services have been a symbol of the specific state's authority (Terpstra and Van der Vijver, 2006: p. 91) and are perhaps the most political of all bureaucracies, partisan politics influence management reforms. A commonly invoked condition for successful management reforms is the particular willingness of political leadership to drive through radical changes (Flynn, 2002: p. 63) which might be different within governments' initiatives.

Besides, the political context management reform concepts also have to be in line with the historical context of various governments' experience. For instance the reform process began later in the "new" federal states than in the "old" ones as a long period was necessary to transform the East German police forces (Rickards and Ritsert, 2008).

Responsibilities of German police services at the federal states' level (Landespolizeien)

The state police laws define the responsibilities of the Landespo-lizeien. In general, the main responsibility of the Landespolizeien is to maintain public order and security by preventing and detecting crime (Lange and Schenck, 2004: p. …

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