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  • 1.
    Haake, Ulrika
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Rantatalo, Oscar
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.
    Lindberg, Ola
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Police leaders make poor change agents: leadership practice in the face of a major organisational reform2017In: Policing & society, ISSN 1043-9463, E-ISSN 1477-2728, Vol. 27, no 7, p. 764-778Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The present article examines expectations on police leaders during major organisational change pressures. Based on policy analysis and interviews with 28 police leaders, the paper seeks to answer the following question: How do police leaders' accounts of leadership practice relate to expectations from higher ranks (above), subordinates (below) and police policies concerning leadership? The results of the paper indicate that police leaders are squeezed into a position between demands from above (top  management) and demands from below (lower organisational tiers). Some of the perceived expectations and practiced leadership actions are also gendered. For example, women feel the need to prove their credibility as leaders and to act in both a caring and daring manner, something that is not evident for male police leaders. Furthermore, the material indicates a considerable mismatch between the different sets of demands expressed in interviews and expectations regarding leadership expressed in police policy discourse, wherein core values and leadership criteria are articulated. In conclusion, the findings indicate a discrepancy between official rhetoric and practice, where the leadership constructed at a policy level deviates from leadership constructed in practice. This discrepancy is argued to represent an effective barrier for change initiatives, and hence the idea that police leaders will be able to function as agents of change promoting organisational reform is highly uncertain.

  • 2.
    Inzunza, Miguel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.
    Wikström, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
    European police recruits' views on ideal personal characteristics of a police officer2019In: Policing & society, ISSN 1043-9463, E-ISSN 1477-2728Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As societies are becoming more heterogeneous and complex, the role of the police is becoming more demanding. To fulfil this role, police officers need several widely recognised skills and personal qualities, but less is known about how they are valued by police recruits. Thus, we have examined views of police recruits in six European countries on three competencies or characteristics of known importance for police work: knowledge, leadership, and the ability to form good relations with citizens. We have also explored variations in views of recruits in different organisations and changes in their views during their training. For these purposes, we used survey data collected in the RECPOL project. Since the data were collected from different populations and at different times, the analysis is based on measurement invariance methodology, and one of the aims was to highlight the importance of rigorous appraisal of the quality and comparability of similar survey data using such methods. The results reveal both differences and similarities in views of recruits in the surveyed countries and changes during training. Police culture appears to be a significant factor, as more items in the applied instrument could be validly used in comparisons of recruits in organisations with similar police traditions. The results also showed interesting contrasts, e.g. new recruits in Sweden rated good relations with citizens more highly than recruits in organisations with a more military history, but this pattern changed during training, presumably due to influences of the recruitment process, training and culture within the organisations.

  • 3.
    Landström, Lena
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.
    Eklund, Niklas
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Naarttijärvi, Markus
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.
    Legal limits to prioritisation in policing: challenging the impact of centralisation2019In: Policing & society, ISSN 1043-9463, E-ISSN 1477-2728Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article illustrates, through a combination of administrative and legal perspectives, how ambitions to centralise prioritisation decisions within a police organisation can be limited by the legal rules relating to crime investigations and public order policing. As a case study, we use the centralisation of the Swedish Police, a reform intending to reduce the previously far-reaching operational independence of regional police authorities in favour of a centralised and uniform single authority. Through this case study, we analyse the interaction between the legal and institutional frameworks of policing and prosecution, including positive obligations enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. We conclude that legal responsibilities affecting the Swedish Police may significantly limit the possibility for managers and officers to de-prioritise many cases and public order concerns, which, in turn, may limit the ability to divert resources to other—centrally prioritised—tasks. Failure to account for such limits may cause reform ambitions to collide with legal responsibilities in day-to-day operative policing. The results indicate that research into organisational reform and police prioritisation may benefit from a more systemic analysis of the legal and institutional factors limiting institutional discretion.

  • 4.
    Rantatalo, Oscar
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.
    Media representations and police officers’ identity work in a specialised police tactical unit2016In: Policing & society, ISSN 1043-9463, E-ISSN 1477-2728, Vol. 26, no 1, p. 97-113Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A growing body of research has highlighted how media representations of policing and contemporary police work are interconnected and influence each other. An under- explored dimension of this relation is how mediated representations of policing transfer meaning to police officers’ sensemaking of their occupational identities. With the aim of advancing knowledge on this issue, the following article reports a case study of a tactical police unit and explores what roles media representations of the unit play in serving police officers’ narrative ‘identity work’ relative to their work and their organisation. Methodologically, the article draws on an analysis of newspaper articles about the studied police unit and interviews with police officers working within the unit. The findings indicate that positively biased representations depicting the unit as heroic and elite had self-enhancing effects on police officers’ identifications, whilst critically oriented media narratives spurred reframing and projection of local counter- images of occupational work identity. These findings add to the present understanding of how the media affect real-life policing, by highlighting how these representations convey meanings to police practice and occupational identification.

  • 5.
    Saati, Abrak
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Eklund Wimelius, Malin
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Building peace abroad and coming back home: experiences of Swedish police officers2018In: Policing & society, ISSN 1043-9463, E-ISSN 1477-2728, Vol. 28, no 9, p. 1050-1064Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Ever since the Swedish Police Authority established a unit for Peace Support Operations in 2000, approximately 70–110 Swedish police officers have participated in peacebuilding missions around the globe on an annual basis. This signifies that a substantial number of Swedish police officers have gained practical experience of assisting post-conflict states to rebuild their societies, reform their security sectors and establish a police force that acts in accordance with the principles of democratic policing. However, to date, there is no research that has set out to investigate these police officers’ experiences; not only of building peace abroad within the framework of democratic policing, but also of coming back home to reengage in Swedish police work. In this paper we begin to address this research gap. We do so through a number of qualitative interviews with Swedish police officers who have recent experiences of participating in peacebuilding missions in Liberia, Kosovo and Haiti. The findings show that despite certain obstacles, the police officers find ways to conduct police work in a manner that they believe supports the advancement of a democratic police force, and that their overall sentiment of building peace abroad is positive. However, their experiences of returning home to reengage in Swedish police work are less satisfactory. Officers express frustration that new insights and new knowledge gained abroad do not seem to be valued by the Swedish Police Authority. This is a finding that aligns with results from previous studies on Canadian and Australian police officers.

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