Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Fair Cop

Fair Cop: Learning the Art of Policing

Chris Devery
Sally Doran
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 336
  • Book Info
    Fair Cop
    Book Description:

    Police forces everywhere have been undergoing major social and organizational changes. In this, one of the few longitudinal studies of police socialization, Janet Chan, Christopher Devery, and Sally Doran present the complexity of police socialization under these changing conditions. Following 150 new police recruits through two years of training and apprenticeship, the authors question the traditional model of socialization that assumes a degree of stability and homogeneity in the organizational culture. They suggest that recruits' developmental paths can be much more varied and police culture is increasingly vulnerable to change.

    Drawing on interviews, observations, and questionnaires, the authors depict the complex processes by which recruits adapt, redefine, cope with, and make sense of the positive and negative aspects of their training and apprenticeship. Bringing together rigorous quantitative analyses with rich ethnographic description,Fair Copprovides new empirical data and theoretical understanding about the reproduction and change of police culture.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7478-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. 1 Organizational Socialization and Professionalism
    (pp. 3-40)

    This book is a study of police socialization at a time of change. Traditionally, socialization is conceived as the process through which a novice learns the skills, knowledge, and values necessary to become a competent member of an organization or occupation. In policing this involves not only learning the laws, procedures, and techniques of law enforcement and order maintenance, but also acquiring a range of organizational skills, attitudes, and assumptions that are compatible with those of other members of the occupation. Successful socialization often involves a personal metamorphosis – and not always a positive one. Research has consistently shown that...

  5. 2 Research Organization and Methods
    (pp. 41-61)

    There have not been many systematic studies of police socialization. Van Maanen in the United States (1973, 1975) and Fielding in Britain (1988) conducted significant and groundbreaking research in their own time, but their findings need to be tested on more recent data.¹ The research that forms the basis of this book examines the experience of a cohort of recruits during their first two years in a police organization. In particular, this research focuses on how recruits learn to become competent in their work and how they develop concepts of professionalism. Of special interest are the importance of training and...

  6. 3 Joining the Organization
    (pp. 62-79)

    Organizational socialization does not begin at the recruitʹs entry to the police force. The processes of ʹanticipatory socializationʹ (Merton 1957; Van Maanen 1976) occur much earlier. From childhood to adulthood, citizens of modern societies are continually exposed to images and stories about police work through personal experience, conversations with friends and relatives, crime news, and popular culture. These images and stories provide the basis of a mythic vision (Martin 1999) of police work – one that embodies action, bravery, physical strength, emotional control, and, above all, authority. The courageous crime fighter – in the frontlines of the war against crime,...

  7. 4 Learning at the Academy
    (pp. 80-144)

    Recruitsʹ first sustained encounters with the police organization occur at the police academy. After months and, for some, years of anticipation, entry to the police academy represents a highly significant event for them. It involves the crossing of a boundary¹ – from being an outsider to being an insider in an organization they have longed to join. It matters little at this initial stage that they occupy the outermost fringe of the organization or that their continued membership depends on the successful completion of training. This is the stage of organizational socialization when recruits are likely to experience a ʹreality...

  8. 5 Learning in the Field
    (pp. 145-200)

    By the time they began their field training in Phase 4, recruits were glad to discard the lowly status of ʹstudent police officerʹ and assume the new rank of ʹprobationary constables.ʹ With this new status, they crossed all three types of boundaries (Schein 1968b): vertical, radial, and circumferential. They had moved higher in rank, closer to the centre of policing, and to a new set of duties. Since first being exposed to operational police work in Phase 2, they had gone through a second wave of anticipatory socialization: all of Phase 3 was in preparation for ʹrealʹ police work in...

  9. 6 Taking On the Culture
    (pp. 201-247)

    Van Maanen (1976) describes the final stage of organizational socialization as one requiring some form of metamorphosis on the part of the recruit in order to meet the demands of continued membership in the organization. His research shows that recruits generally followed ʹthe line of least resistanceʹ (1973: 415): to survive in the organization, they adopted many of the values, assumptions, and strategies found to have ʹworkedʹ for operational police. In other words, ʹsuccessful socializationʹ implies that recruits have internalized the norms of the organizational culture. Yet as Manning and Van Maanen (1978: 271–2) have argued, we cannot assume...

  10. 7 Negotiating the Field
    (pp. 248-275)

    In chapter 6 we concluded that by the end of their training, recruits had taken on many attributes of what the literature refers to as the ʹstreet copʹ culture: a more cynical view of police work and police management; a greater tendency to stereotype people on the basis of appearance; and a more suspicious, less trusting mentality that justified the need for them to protect themselves at all times. We also noted that these changes were not automatic or unconscious – recruits were not simply following ʹthe line of least resistance.ʹ They remained reflective about what constitutes ʹgoodʹ and ʹbadʹ...

  11. 8 Doing Gender
    (pp. 276-300)

    Female recruits made up one-third of the cohort in this study. Their experience requires special attention and analysis because the active recruitment of women in recent decades was intended to produce a radical change in the field of policing. The policy of equal employment opportunity encourages women to become police officers, but women who join the police are highly conscious of the fact that they are entering an occupation that is traditionally dominated by men. The literature on women in policing has long recognized the significance of gender to the occupational culture of policing. As Martin observes:

    Gender is deeply...

  12. 9 Conclusion: Learning the Art of Policing
    (pp. 301-316)

    All newcomers to an organization experience a period of adjustment and reorientation before they feel comfortable. The socialization process provides new members with ʹknowledge, ability and motivation to play a defined roleʹ in the organization (Van Maanen 1976: 70). In most cases, ʹsuccessfulʹ socialization involves individuals taking on new self-images, new involvements, new values, and new accomplishments (Caplow 1964, cited in Van Maanen 1976: 75). Yet as Schein (1968) points out, outcomes of socialization can range from ʹrebellionʹ to total ʹconformity.ʹ Neither of these extremes is necessarily beneficial to the organization. The socialization of police recruits is a case in...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 317-324)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 325-334)
  15. Index
    (pp. 335-342)