chapter  13
Welfare professionals in transformation
The case of police officers in Norway
WithChristin Thea Wathne
Pages 23

This chapter examines how New Public Management (NPM) is transforming the police in Norway. My focus of analysis is the transformation of the core tasks, autonomy, public relations and professional identities in the period of New Public Management (NPM)-inspired reforms since the late 1970s. In line with how NPM is often assumed to weaken professions, I argue that this is the overall picture when it comes to the police. As in homecare, the exclusion of tasks has constricted the field; however, for the police, the consequences are largely about shrinking autonomy and discretion. The aim of this chapter is to explore the transformation of professionals’ working life that results from NPM-inspired reforms in the police. In line with the previous chapter, I show how the ideals of police work are changing from help to control and how this affects the orientation of the profession as a whole. I ask how professional autonomy, meaning and identity have been transformed in the course of the periods of modernization since the late 1970s.