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  • 1.
    Liljegren, Andreas
    et al.
    Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Berlin, Johan
    University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Social Work and Social Pedagogy.
    Szücs, Stefan
    Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Höjer, Staffan
    Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    The police and ‘the balance’: managing the workload within Swedish investigation units2021In: Journal of Professions and Organization, ISSN 2051-8803, E-ISSN 2051-8811, Vol. 8, p. 70-85Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Professionals within street-level organizations are essential for the delivery of public services to citizens. However, among a number of difficult dilemmas, they have to deal with an extensive workload.The police can be seen as a good example of this; they are expected to solve most crimes, includingthe so-called mass crimes and the more spectacular cases that make it into media headlines, and often on a continually decreasing budget. A key regulating mechanism for investigation departmentsin the Swedish police is the so-called balance. The balance can be described as a basket in whichthey put the cases that there is a desire and potential to work on but not in the immediate term.The purpose of this article is to analyse the balance as a way of rationing the workload within theSwedish police. Working with the balance consists of two processes: limiting and buffering the workload. Limiting is the practice of reducing the work in a situation. Buffering is the process of puttingsome work on hold to deal with later, of which the article identifies five kinds; functional, problematic,quasi, progressive, and symbolic buffering. The exploration of ‘the balance’ contributes to our understanding of how street level organizations attempt to defend their professional jurisdictions, theirwell-being, and their ability to complete their duties.

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