New Recruits in the Police: Summary

Millie, Andrew and Hirschler, Steven (2018). New Recruits in the Police: Summary. Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK.


Key Findings
1. The recruits in this study brought with them a breadth of experience in terms of age, education and prior work experience - including former PCSOs, special constables, and recruits from other occupations - that gave them specific skills and informed their attitudes and beliefs in ways that are useful for the service. Following the introduction of the Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) by January 2020, such diversity of experience may become less possible and is something that police managers will need to watch.
2. Many recruits claimed that they came to the job already having values and beliefs that aligned with the College of Policing Code of Ethics. In particular, many emphasised the importance of honesty and integrity. The recruits saw evidence of police ethics and integrity in action, both in training and on division - although on division things were “more relaxed”.
3. Empathy was seen as a vital element of policing - a sort of ‘empathetic policing’ that could be promoted across the service - where officers try to see things from the others’ perspective, be they victim, accused, or someone else. After six months on the job, some found it difficult to empathise with repeat calls for service and a few thought some senior colleagues were losing their ability to empathise; yet most saw empathy as essential.
4. Most enjoyed the training and the practical work on division. Recruits had been taken on as either Early Action or immediate response officers. However, due to unforeseen deployment issues, many Early Action recruits were redeployed to immediate response. For some recruits, poor or late communication of redeployment was an issue, and a few felt the details of what it meant to be an Early Action officer remained imprecise. It was recognised that change may be unavoidable - but it is a question of how this is handled and communicated.
5. Before joining, many recruits thought the police were crime fighters. After they joined, views on police roles expanded to include various social service and peace keeping functions, with particular emphases on mental health issues and vulnerable people. Consideration is needed regarding the suitability of roles and specific skills required for such work.
6. A few recruits identified cynicism and the cliquey qualities of some colleagues, especially towards the Early Action recruits. Empathy was seen as a brake on cynicism. That said, in general, the recruits’ perceptions of ‘police culture’ appeared to challenge dominant narratives as they felt they were part of a police ‘family’, they were well-supported and observed colleagues acting professionally.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions