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Policy Ideals for a Reformed Education: Police Students’ Occupational Attitudes in a Time of Change
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
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)
Abstract [en]

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.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118586OAI: diva2:914195
9th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning, 9-11 december 2015,School of the Arts Singapore
Available from: 2016-03-23 Created: 2016-03-23 Last updated: 2016-04-08Bibliographically approved

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Kohlström, KirsiRantatalo, OscarKarp, StaffanPadyab, Mojgan
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