Police Culture and Socialisation within a UK University

Cox, Carol (2015) Police Culture and Socialisation within a UK University. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The previous UK Coalition government (2010-2015) made significant efforts to professionalise the police service in England and Wales. One of their approaches was to require police students to study at university, before becoming police officers. It has been hypothesised that requiring police students to study at university may ensure that professionalism develops within these students/officers, with the higher education received. At the same time as developing professionalism within these officers it has been suggested some of the negative aspects of police culture may diminish. Whether or not these hopes are borne out by university training of police students was the central research question for this project. This original research examined socialisation and culture of police students, within a UK university institution. It evolved by utilising reflexive grounded theory to examine the student perception of the police service, using questionnaires, focus groups and content analysis of completed essays, by Foundation in Policing Degree students. In summary the findings of this research suggested that university training of police students may not have the desired effect on professionalism, as police culture appears to develop regardless of the setting. Further to this, minority ethnic students continue to report being less attracted to the police as a career choice. A number of reasons are suggested for these findings and future recommendations are set out. Ultimately, this research concludes that the way a police officer is trained and/or educated requires reviewing, as simply moving the process to a university setting does not automatically deliver the intended outcomes, and in fact can result in the police culture simply flourishing elsewhere.

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