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Community safety in an age of austerity: an urban regime analysis of Cardiff 1999-2015

Cartwright, Thomas 2016. Community safety in an age of austerity: an urban regime analysis of Cardiff 1999-2015. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The political and economic context following the election of the Coalition Government in 2010 has had a significant impact upon community safety work in England and Wales. More specifically, the governmental austerity agenda - the term given to policies aimed at reducing sovereign debt through reductions in public expenditure - and the introduction of locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners present a number of challenges for community safety and the local coordination of multi-agency partnership practices around crime and disorder. In addition, the currently dominant discourses and policies of localism and a decentralisation of power have placed greater emphasis on the role of locally situated actors in having to choose how to respond to the external political and economic constraints placed upon them. Borrowing and adapting concepts from regime theory, this research employs a single-embedded case study of community safety in Cardiff to examine how the Cardiff policy ‘regime’ has sought to respond to the current economic and political climate. Building upon the analytical framework offered by regime theory, and utilising a combination of ethnographic observations, interviews and documentary analysis of policy texts over the last two decades, this thesis explores the changes to the governing arrangements in Cardiff, from a well resourced multi-agency community safety team, to the dispersal of responsibility for community safety under the guise of integration and reducing complexity. Demonstrating the opportunities presented by localism the research finds evidence of an attempt to form a governing regime around a ‘transformative’ strategic agenda orientated around ideas of social justice and civic inclusion. However, illustrating the constraints on this freedom afforded to local governing actors, the realisation of this strategic agenda has been compromised by changes to the governing arrangements in Cardiff that have resulted in a degradation of governing capacity for community safety and the hollowing out of community safety expertise in the city. Accordingly, the research finds evidence of a disparity between the transformative rhetoric of the shared strategic agenda, and the fragmented and divergent operational practices of community safety. This use of regime theory makes an original contribution to the nascent conceptual and empirical debate about the contested and uncertain future of community safety in an age of austerity. It highlights the need for further locally situated case studies that can disambiguate the political agency available to local policy actors and the external political and economic constrains placed upon them.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2016
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2021 12:41

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