, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 419-438
Date: 31 May 2013

Managing to Reinvent Strong Publicness in a Privatized World

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How can a specialized public organization, of which the operational sector has been brutally fragmented and privatized, maintain its unity and publicness? The paper looks at how the British Transport Police (BTP) has adapted to the fragmentation and privatization of British Rail since 1993. The fact that the BTP has remained public and national is all the more surprising since a return to the pre-World War II configuration, with each Train Operating Company (TOC) having and running its own police, could be technically envisaged. The answer to the initial question is quite simple. The police organization under examination has intelligently reinvented its publicness, with the negotiated assent of its referring political and economic authorities.