Chair: Professor Mike Rowe

Police education and professionalisation: Critical international perspectives

Building: E
Room: 01


Author: Martin Denise, University of the West of Scotland

Andrew Wooff, Edinburgh Napier University
Title: Treading the Front-Line, Tartanisation and Police Academic Partnerships
The ways in which police officers are educated and trained is changing across the UK, including in Scotland. While the ‘professionalisation agenda’ is a core element of these changes, the context in Scotland is different to that in other European countries. With a single police force in Scotland, the organisational context is distinctive, while the policing principles in Scotland focus on enhancing community wellbeing and collaboration. One such collaboration is the relationship between Police Scotland and the Scottish Institute of Policing Research (SIPR). SIPR has played a key role in contributing to evidence-based approaches in policing, contributing to police education, professional development and organisational learning; and building research and analytical capacity in policing and universities. This partnership has led to the recent development of four new policing pathways and degrees in higher education institutions (HEIs) in Scotland. The aim of this paper is to examine the particular relevance of the partnership between SIPR, HEIs and Police Scotland in shaping both the professionalisation and educational agenda of policing in Scotland since centralisation. It will outline the recognisable development of police and academic partnerships in Scotland while also analysing the Scottish context. Lessons will be drawn from the experiences of developing recent educational policing programmes in Scotland to the wider international police professionalisation agenda.
Keywords: Police education, police professionalisation, partnerships
Author: Cockcroft Tom, Leeds Beckett University

Title: the Role of Police Culture in the Police Professionalisation Agenda
This paper seeks to extend our understanding of the role played by police culture in debates around police professionalisation. In particular, it will seek to position the contemporary police professionalization agenda as a direct result of the shift towards post-Keynesian policing over recent decades. In doing so, this paper will argue that this transformation has signalled a distinct form of professionalisation which, in a break with more traditional forms of occupational professionalisation, has sought to limit and control the discretion available to practitioners. This, it will be argued, is directly linked to attempts to control behaviours associated with police culture. From this foundation, the paper will present the findings of a research project investigating police officer experiences of engaging with degree level study to highlight structural and cultural challenges related to using Higher Education as a tool with which to promote police professionalisation.
Keywords: Police culture, police professionalisation, police education
Author: Rowe Mike, Northumbria University

Emma Williams (Canterbury Christchurch University), Jenny Norman (Canterbury Christchurch University)
Title: Police Education and Professionalism: Potential and Pitfalls
In England and Wales police training is undergoing significant restructuring, much of which is characterised by increasing the exposure of initial recruits and those undertaking mid-career development to greater engagement with the Higher Education sector. Regardless of the specific nature of these reforms, they reflect a long-term and international shift towards enhancing police professionalism through university education. Often the consequences of police education are regarded axiomatically as positive, and so this paper provides much needed critical reflection on the potential that such reforms might have for police services. Drawing on a century of research and policy literature from various jurisdictions the impact of education on police service delivery, recruitment, and officer development are is critically assessed. Following that review, data is presented from a survey of officers engaged in an education programme at an English university, and the impact that this has on their professional identity and practice is reviewed. It is argued that the potential and pitfalls of police education need to be understood in the wider context of organisational working practices, which can enhance or detract from the impact that such programmes might offer.
Keywords: Police education, police professionalisation, professional practice
Author: Oddsson Gu?mundur, University of Akureyri

Andrew Paul Hill (University of Akureyri), Ólafur Örn Bragason (University of Akureyri), ?óroddur Bjarnason (University of Akureyri) and Kjartan Ólafsson (University of Akureyri)
Title: Iceland as a Microcosm of the Effects of Educational Reform on Police Students’ Social Background
In 2016, Iceland changed how it recruits and educates prospective police officers by closing its Police Academy and moving police education to the University of Akureyri. Before education reform, Iceland, with its vocational approach and one-year training, was an exception to the Nordic model of police education (a longer education period and more academically rigorous). Iceland is no longer an exception, as students must now complete a two-year university diploma. This change offers an opportunity to shed light on an important question: are police officers educated at the university level different from students in vocational programs at the upper secondary level? By comparing RECPOL data on the social background of police students from the Police Academy and the University of Akureyri, this paper examines whether prospective police officers have become more representative of the general population after education reform. The findings show that police students at the university level are somewhat different from students at the vocational level and more representative of the general population. University education attracts a significantly greater share of women than vocational training. Police students also come from more educated backgrounds than the general population and slightly more so after education reform (the latter is not statistically significant). These findings should interest police educators and policy makers who are considering reforming police education.
Keywords: Police education, police reform, police professionalisation
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