Reforming the Norwegian police between structure and culture. Community police or emergency police?
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This paper examines the reform of the police in Norway from 2012 to 2015 using a qualitative analysis of central public reports and official documents leading up to the reform. These include the report from the official Inquiry Commission into the police response to the terrorist attacks of July 2011, a public commission established in 2012 to analyze challenges within the police and the resulting government proposal and parliamentary discussion that culminated in a final decision for a new police structure in 2015. While governance capacity and the need for a stronger emergency police was a main concern throughout the process the importance of governance legitimacy and to maintain a community police became more important at the end. The organizational thinking is explained based on a structural and institutional theoretical perspective. The analysis shows that cultural change, leadership change and structural change were prominent instruments for improving the police, but emphasized differently during the process. The arguments for the different instruments were not elaborated to any great extent by any of the actors and therefore took on a more symbolic flavor. The analysis demonstrates that political context, agenda settings, attention shifting and situational factors as well as path dependency are important drivers of the police reform.