Police powers in Spain during the Francoist regime and democracy: A comparative study from an institutional framework perspective
González Salmón, E.M.
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This thesis investigates the changes on the Spanish National Police by trying to answer the research question “Did the institution of the Spanish police change after the transition to democracy (1975/8)?” and four subsequent sub-questions that focus on its rules, norms and practices and its preferred role. To do that, the thesis uses institutional change theory and the comparative-historical method. Focusing on policing concepts developed and studied by David H. Bayley, Velmer S. Burton and others, I make a small-N, process-oriented narrative comparison that systematically compares the Spanish police under the Francoist rule with the democratic one. The results show a significant change in the formal rules and an intermediate/low change in both the informal rules and the public perception on the institution. The conclusion of this thesis is that some informal elements, most remarkably the maintenance of all the Francoist personnel under democracy, acted as lock-in mechanisms that slowed down the process of institutional change. Change, however, did happen, and the Spanish police after Franco managed to be fairly similar to the rest of its Western European neighbours.