Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Perspectives on the police profession: an international investigation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Karen ElliottORCiD



Purpose.Our study aims to clarify the diversity of professional perspectives on police culture in an international context.Design/methodology/approach.In a first step we developed a standardized instrument of 45 occupational features for comparative analysis of police professional views. This set was inductively created from 3441 descriptors of the police profession from a highly diverse sample of 166 police officers across eight European countries. Using this standardized instrument, Q-methodological interviews with another 100 police officers in six European countries were conducted. Findings.We identified five perspectives on the police profession suggesting disparities in officers’ outlooks and understanding of their occupation. Yet, our findings also outline considerable overlaps in specific features considered important or unimportant across perspectives.Research limitations/implications.Our study emphasizes that police culture needs to be described beyond the logic of distinct dimensions in well-established typologies. Considering specific features of the police profession determines which aspects police officers agree on across organizational and national contexts and which aspects are unique. Practical implications. Our feature-based approach provides concrete pointers for the planning and implementation of (inter)national and inter-organizational collaborations as well as organizational change.Originality/value. This study suggests an alternative approach to investigate police culture. It further offers a new perspective on police culture that transcends context-specific boundaries.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bayerl PS, Horton KE, Jacobs G, Rogiest S, Reguli Z, Gruschinske M, Constanzo P, Stojanovski T, Vonas G, Gasco M, Elliott K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Policing: an International Journal of Police Strategies and Management

Year: 2014

Volume: 37

Issue: 4

Pages: 728-745

Print publication date: 14/11/2014

Acceptance date: 30/04/2014

Date deposited: 29/03/2016

ISSN (print): 1363-951X

ISSN (electronic): 1758-695X

Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing


DOI: 10.1108/PIJPSM-11-2013-0112


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric