Policy Ideals for a Reformed Education: Police Students’ Occupational Attitudes in a Time of Change
2015 (English)In: 9th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning: 9-11 December 2015, School of the Arts Singapore, 2015, 1-15 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
This paper examines discrepancies between educational objectives expressed in police vocational education policy and police recruits’ views on knowledge and anticipatory occupational expectations. From a global perspective, police institutions in many countries are currently undergoing substantial professional reorientations in light of societal developments such as transforming demographics, increased societal diversity, changing public demands on police service delivery and crime patterns that are increasingly transnational and globalised. In sum, these developments have been suggested to be leading to increased complexity in the police’s fulfilment of their professional obligations and new demands on police professional knowledge. In the context of police education, these shifts are visible on a policy level wherein experiential approaches to policing are increasingly substituted for problem-oriented and evidence-based policing which builds on theory, evaluation and utilisation of research. On the level of police educational curricula, traditional subjects, such as law enforcement, investigation and crime control, are increasingly complemented with subjects such as cultural awareness, communication and gender and diversity training. Given these broad developments, the present study investigates how the uptake of new educational ideas and practices is perceived by students undergoing police education. Previous research has put forth that educational content at variance with the occupational practices and culture of the police runs a considerable risk of being disapproved by police recruits and by extension has little or no impact on student learning. Drawing on a Swedish national survey (n=369) targeting Swedish police students in their fourth term of police education, the present paper investigates discrepancies between policy objectives and students’ attitudes towards ‘new’ subjects. The survey measures students’ values and attitudes towards different areas of police educational content. The results indicate that skill areas such as communication, flexibility and diversity are considered more important to emphasise in education by female students than male students. Based on the results, the authors discuss how ideas regarding policing which are promoted on a policy level may influence the development of new kinds of skills in police practice. Discrepancies between official rhetoric and police educational practice are discussed in terms of how such gaps may counteract the development of new kinds of expertise and knowledge within the occupational community of the police.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. 1-15 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118586OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-118586DiVA: diva2:914195
9th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning, 9-11 december 2015,School of the Arts Singapore