What do you understand by the term “police culture” ?

Occupational civilizations refer to a typical set of traits that set those within an business apart from others, the constabulary civilization being a authoritative illustration. Police civilization is depicted in media such as telecasting play and movies. It features on the intelligence in high profile instances. Even if people haven’t witnessed it first manus, because of media, they are cognizant of a police civilization. This essay aims to research the world of police civilization by looking at three positions to assist understand how it works. The police civilization can steer those new to the force and assist them absorb. Solidarity and steadfast friendly relationships are formed. But the essay will besides indicate out that non everyone is free to accommodate to that civilization. Ranks are closed to those who are different – female, homosexual and black officers have experienced favoritism in an business mostly represented by white males. The essay will advert alterations that have been made, although alterations in jurisprudence and working patterns do non needfully intend that the civilization itself has changed.

First, it may be utile to specify “culture” , although its definition is contested. Brooker ( 2003 ) defines civilization as a socially constructed set of patterns which define a peculiar societal group, state or period in clip. Social groups may be differentiated from each other by premises, values, beliefs, frock, linguistic communication or other characteristics. The constabulary uniform is a portion of the civilization of the officer – distinctive but recognizable to those outside of the civilization, meaning power and authorization. In order to assist increase apprehension of police civilization, three positions will be examined – anthropological, sociological and psychological. Each usage of import constructs to increase apprehension of police civilization.

The anthropological position is the survey of human sort, relationships and societal groupings. Advocates of this position suggest that people have a position of where they see themselves – a “world view” . Anthropologists suggest that the constabulary have an attitude of “us and them” , “us” being the constabulary force and “them” being the civilians. This suggests solidarity which is frequently reserved for subcultures. The constabulary force have a mostly mute system of values which epitomise a civilization. Anthropologists would name this an “ethos” and the value system within a constabulary force may include courage and liberty. The constabulary besides have a system of beliefs, which in anthropology is called a “theme” . These beliefs regulate and guide relationships within the civilization and are particularly helpful to new recruits. One illustration would be that the constabulary officer is ne’er off responsibility. These beliefs finally help fledglings to incorporate and go like others within the force in that they adopt the same values and work moralss.

The sociological position topographic points great importance on the term “cynicism” seeing establishments such as the constabulary force as holding a really hard-boiled attack and suggest that there are four phases to the civilization – over-idealism, defeat, disillusion and cynicism. Skolnick ( 1966 ) uses the term “brotherhood” , proposing that an onslaught on one officer means an onslaught on all officers and consequences in direct action. Military officers develop the accomplishment of recognizing danger and possible attackers by agencies of categorization. Skolnick besides introduced the construct of the “working personality” intending the differentiation between on and off responsibility. “Stress” is the cause of the administration bring forthing the sorts of personalities that it needs, thereby puting great emphasis on the person.

The concluding position is the psychological position. This places great accent on “authoritarianism” , a construct mentioning to a set of attitudes and beliefs that insist upon regard to those superior and the attachment of guidelines. It is frequently associated with Fascism as it is measured by the F-scale. Neiderhoffer ( 1967 ) argued that intuition is healthy, cynicism is unhealthy whilst dictatorship is a personality trait. With respects to emphasize, in contrast with the sociological position, the psychological position would reason that the administration attracts people with the personalities it needs instead than the administration turning them into what they need. Therefore, they would reason that the constabulary force expression for people with autocratic personalities.

So far, the essay has examined three positions of police civilization – anthropological, sociological and psychological. A police civilization does be but as the positions show, there are different positions as to what it constitutes and how it manifests itself. It is besides of import to advert that a police civilization is non inactive. Each station has its ain alone history on which cultures physique and will change from part to part.

The following subdivision will analyze new recruits and police civilization. Authoritarian personality or non, each new recruit starts in the same topographic point – at the underside of a rigorous, regimented, military manner hierarchy. The constabulary environment generates a strong occupational civilization ensuing in new recruits going socialized rapidly ( Holdaway, 1996 ; Chan, 1997 ; Waddington, 1999 ) . It is suggested that new recruits learn from more experient officers whilst sitting in the patrol auto or in the canteen, therefore the term “canteen culture” . Part of the civilization is larning to sort people between law-abiders and felons ( Smith & A ; Gray, 1985 ; Young, 1991 & A ; 1993 ) .

Military officers do hold a just sum of liberty, despite the regimentation. The jurisprudence is equivocal which sometimes calls for speedy determination devising and discretion about which offenses to move upon and which to overlook. For illustration, collaring a street bargainer may non be a productive usage of clip or resources when there are far more serious offenses. Police civilization acts as a guideline for new recruits to develop their ain theories of justness and distinguish between “real” policework and work that they can overlook ( Young, 1991 ) .

As there is ever menace of onslaught every bit good as moral dangers such as corruptness or inappropriate engagements with victims ( for which there are serious reverberations ) , trueness to the alleviation is an imperative portion of the civilization. Reporting another officer to the higher-up may assist publicity but will non assist their repute ( Graef 1989 ) . Another portion of the civilization is misgiving of others within the jurisprudence such as attorneies and Judgess – they control the result of constabulary attempts ( Graef, 1989 ) .

Smith and Gray ( 1985 ) suggest that the constabulary tend to utilize a discourse of force to reenforce their authorization. Even officers who have ne’er experienced force upon their individual used violent discourse. New recruits found it exciting and even glamourous.

It has been seen so far that police civilization can be differentiated from other professions. The civilization is used to reenforce power and authorization. From a psychological position, an important personality may be good. From a sociological position, it moulds the new recruit. The anthropological position is besides supported – the universe position of “us” and “them” . However, there has been grounds of divisions within the constabulary. Not everyone is accepted into police civilization. This can include adult females, homosexual and black officers. Campbell ( p.20 1993 ) referred to the force as “the most masculinised enclave in civil society” . Smith and Gray ( 1985 ) suggest that the “canteen culture” of the constabulary force represents a “cult of masculinity” . This influences behaviour towards female officers.

Up until the Sex Discrimination Act ( 1975 ) separate policewomen’s sections were in being and there were concerns on both sides about the merger of male and female sections. Females knew they would be undermined by male co-workers. Male officers were concerned about assorted issues. They were worried about the presence of female officers seting them at greater hazard during violent state of affairss due to adult females holding less physical staying power. There were concerns about disciplinary jobs in that higher-ups may be softer on adult females. Superiors were worried approximately adult females as an economic investing as they may set matrimony and kids before the occupation. Then there was the trouble of sexual kineticss and the controlling of male officers. Heidensohn ( 1992 ) comments that it is impossible for adult females to work their manner up through the ranks without bid experience, which is difficult to derive as they are non included in the “network” . Women officers are frequently left with admin. functions or as they are considered more compassionate, looking after sexual offenses victims or immature wrongdoers. Concerns have been raised about whether adult females are to the full represented by the assorted constabulary federations. Taking into history regional fluctuations, few adult females officers were available to help younger female officers and senior female staff were really few and far between. Round 87/1989 by the Home Office implemented equal chances and it was around this clip when a few high profile instances came to visible radiation of women’s negative experiences in the force ( Halford, 1990 ) . A Home Office survey ( 1993 ) found that about all adult females surveyed had suffered some signifier of torment. A study by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate ( 1993 ) reported that breaches in equal chances were frequently instigated and defended by senior officers. Both studies felt that adult females officers spent a batch of clip pull offing male co-workers taking to emphasize, hapless public presentation, absenteeism and a feeling of demoralization. Both studies demanded alterations.

Gay officers have besides experienced the negative side of police civilization. However, the homosexual community have long held a negative position of constabulary ( McLoughlin, 1996 ) . It was felt that they didn’t respond to violent incidents against homosexual people, that they targeted and raided homosexual nines and used entrapment techniques such as lounging in public lavatories frequented by cheery work forces in order to collar them. Police publications have shown ill will towards homosexual officers, proposing they could non transport out the function as they would impact ability to keep authorization, to further trust and prevent corruptness. Awareness of the masculine civilization raised concerns about the deployment of homosexual officers, keeping authorization and subject every bit good as the overall moral unity of the constabulary. In 1991, the Lesbian and Gay Police Association was set up. It campaigned to do sexual orientation an issue within the force and to protect homosexual officers ( regardless of rank ) from favoritism.

Troubles have besides been faced by black officers. McCloughlin ( 1996 ) inquiries why anyone would desire to fall in an establishment that some see as inherently racialist. Black people know they may non suit in to the civilization of the constabulary force which is enormously over-represented by white males which likely explains why there are fewer black recruits. The Scarman study ( 1981 ) was released following race public violences in assorted UK metropoliss. It requested that more attempt be made to enroll officers from the cultural minorities. Surveies have shown a unusually high turnover in black officers ( Smith and Gray, 1985 ; Holdaway, 1993 ) . High Numberss of officers were go forthing the force due to racial favoritism and pigeonholing go forthing them experiencing stray and vulnerable. In 1994, the Black Police Association was set up, taking to better the working environment of black officers. The Black Police Association contributed information to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry ( 1998 ) which looked into constabulary handling of the instance of murdered black adolescent Stephen Lawrence in 1993. The information from the BPA connected “institutionalised racism” with the occupational civilization. It stated that white officers merely run into black people in confrontational state of affairss which leads them to pigeonhole. The fact that the bulk of officers are white means the civilization is based on “the white experience, the white beliefs and the white values” ( cited in Macpherson, 1999, Para.6.28, p.25 ) .

It is of import to observe that non everyone who is female, homosexual or black experiences favoritism within the constabulary. Nor is it just to presume that all white male constabulary officers are sexist, homophobic or racialist. But academic survey from different positions show that a police civilization exists. The civilization can be seen every bit positive as it helps fledglings fit in and prepares them for a really hard demanding function. The essay has looked at those discriminated against and how the constabulary have had to accommodate to new Torahs, displacements in working pattern and the altering societal clime. Associations for minority groups within the force are available and calling development programs are unfastened to all officers to offer them an equal opportunity to come on. However, despite these alterations, each new instance of favoritism reinforces how strong the constabulary civilization is.

Word count: 2004


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Internet Beginnings

Website Address:H ttp: //faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/205/205

Title of web site:Police Culture and Behavior

Mentions from this web site: –

Brooker, P ( 2003 )A Glossary of Cultural Theory,2ed, London, Arnold

Neiderhoffer, A ( 1967 )Behind the Shield,New York, Doubleday

Skolnick, J ( 1966 ) ,Justice Without Trial,NY Wiley