My research is broadly concerned with community safety and intergovernmental relations in England and Wales and Italy. Its main goal is to gauge if, and how, the shift towards the local provision of community safety services has contributed to change relations between national and local authorities.
While there is a wide literature on the way in which changes in how the state performs its functions have resulted in transformations in the field of crime control, my research adopts a bottom up perspective. Specifically, I want to understand if the networks and partnerships that have been established at the local level have enabled the creation of mutual channels of communication and exchange that cut through different levels of government.
This project comes at a time of great change for community safety services as a whole. In England and Wales, continuing budget pressures and the establishment of Police and Crime Commissioners are forcing local authorities to reconsider the part they can play in this policy area. At the same time, the move towards devolution can potentially give them the powers and tools to maintain, and expand, their role. Within a context of prolonged crisis and sustained cuts to public spending, the same process is taking place in Italy, where reforms designed to reorganise relations between the state and localities are ongoing. The research will provide the opportunity to analyse this conjunction, while also reconstructing the recent history of the field in both countries.
This project is generously funded by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, from September 2015 to August 2018.