European Journal of Policing Studies

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Issue 2, 2013 Expand all abstracts


Authors Antoinette Verhage, Lieselot Bisschop and Wim Hardyns

Antoinette Verhage

Lieselot Bisschop

Wim Hardyns

Professional disobedience

The impact of technology and multilevel dispatching on police practice

Keywords Professional disobedience, police, GPS, SDS, situational awareness
Authors Bas Böing
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article draws on a field experiment that took place in Amsterdam in 2012 to examine the impact of technology on police practice. The experiment consisted of four simulated robberies in which the use of the global positioning system (GPS) and short data service (SDS) were systematically varied (in a 2x2 between-subjects design) with different levels of operational command. The experiment resulted in faster coordination and less radio traffic. But this experiment also showed something else: almost all operational units displayed more or less disobedient behaviour. They deliberately deviated from orders to go to particular locations in the city to search for the suspects. In this article it is argued that this behaviour can be explained through officers’ situational awareness and the use of SDS. Additional interviews and group discussions further indicate that the lack of trust and hierarchical control may also have contributed to this behaviour. It is the question whether the findings of this study covers the current state of police practice in the Netherlands and perhaps beyond. This remains a subject for further study. The results from this experiment can be valuable for analysis in social behaviour studies among police units.

Bas Böing
B.S. Böing is researcher at the Amsterdam Police Department in the Netherlands. He started working as a police officer in Amsterdam (2002). After office hours he studied political science and went to law school (2004-2010). After graduation he started working as a researcher to advise police management on police-related issues (2010) (corresp: bas.boing@amsterdam.politie.nl).

Burnout as predictor of aggressivity among police officers

Keywords Aggressivity, burnout, police officers, patrollers, Portuguese sample
Authors Cristina Queirós, Mariana Kaiseler and António Leitão da Silva
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper aims to understand the relationship between aggressivity and burnout among police officers, more precisely, it investigates whether burnout is a predictor of aggressivity among police officers. The study focuses on the relationship between burnout and aggressivity, using regression analysis to identify aggressivity predictors. The Maslach Burnout Inventory was used to measure burnout, while the Aggression Questionnaire was used to measure aggressivity. A cross-sectional study collected data from 274 male police officers (from PSP – Portuguese Police of Public Security) exercising urban patrol tasks in Porto or Lisbon. Low burnout and moderate aggressivity levels were found, with positive significant correlations. Regression analysis reveals that burnout, more than socio-demographic characteristics, predicts 13% to 22% of aggressivity. In particular, feelings of high depersonalisation and low personal accomplishment are the burnout dimensions that most strongly explain anger and aggressivity, whereas emotional exhaustion only explains 4% of verbal aggression. The study highlights the need to develop prevention strategies of stress, aiming to avoid the development of burnout as occupational chronic stress, and decreasing the risk of developing aggressivity among police officers. Despite the wide literature in the area of police officers’ burnout and individual characteristics (e.g. aggressivity proneness as a personality trait), there is limited research on the relationship between burnout and aggressivity. Within democratic societies where excessive use of force by police officers is criticised, aggressivity predicted by burnout reinforces the need to prevent occupational stress that leads to burnout.

Cristina Queirós
Cristina Queirós holds a PhD in Psychology. She is a teacher in the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, Portugal; co-director of the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Laboratory (FPCEUP/ESTSPIPP); and coordinator of the Health and Rehabilitation research line of the Centre of Psychology at the University of Porto (corresp: cqueiros@fpce.up.pt).

Mariana Kaiseler
Mariana Kaiseler is a chartered psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS). She is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, on a grant provided by Marie Curie Action and the Foundation of Science and Technology, Portugal (FCT).

António Leitão da Silva
António Leitão da Silva is graduated in Police Sciences, with a Master in Psychology of Deviant Behaviour and a PhD in Psychology. He is the Commander of the Municipal Police of Porto, Portugal and teacher on police themes in several high schools.

Frontex and Denmark

Keywords Frontex, Schengen, European Police Cooperation, Denmark, Opt-outs, Justice and Home Affairs
Authors Henrik Stevnsborg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Denmark, as is known, maintains four EU cooperation opt-outs as a result of its Maastricht Treaty referendum on 18 May 1993. In spite of this, Denmark remains an active partner in matters relating to the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, known as Frontex. The facts are that the Danish police have maintained a staff of Seconded National Experts (SNEs) in Warsaw since Frontex’s operational launch in 2005, and that Danish police regularly provide staff for Frontex Joint Support Teams (FJSTs) and are consequently also involved in related – and quite extensive – joint exercises. Denmark also contributes to the central Frontex registry for technical equipment for use in specific operational theatres, the so-called Centralised Record of Available Technical Equipment (CRATE), and it is no great secret that Denmark contributed to Frontex’s rapid border intervention team when Greece requested emergency assistance from Frontex because of the stress caused by immigration along the Greek-Turkish border from November 2010 to February 2011. Given Denmark’s judicial opt-out, how did Denmark come to participate in this type of cooperation? That is a question which is examined in greater detail in the article, which shows how the Danish Frontex cooperation is based upon interpretation of the notion to ‘build upon’ in the Protocol on the Integration of the Schengen Rules into the European Union, annexed to the Union Treaties.

Henrik Stevnsborg
Henrik Stevnsborg is professor in policing and police law at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen (Denmark). He obtained a Ph.D in 1979 (dissertation on the Copenhagen Police in the 18th century), a Dr.phil. 1992 (dissertation on the Danish Police during WWII). He has taught legal history and legal philosophy. Since 2007 he is professor in policing and police law (corresp: henrik.stevnsborg@jur.ku.dk).

Corruption and trust in the police

A cross-country study

Keywords Corruption, impartiality, trust, cross-country study
Authors Gunnar Thomassen
AbstractAuthor's information

    International surveys show that trust in the police varies substantially between countries. This study investigates the underlying causes of this variation, and in particular the effect of perceived corruption in the public sector. A regression analysis of 50 countries worldwide suggests that both perceived corruption in the public sector and trust in government are important predictors of trust in the police. The homicide rate is also statistically significant but seems to have a more modest effect on trust. The findings are compatible with previous research findings that procedural concerns trump outcomes in explaining trust. Moreover, a correlation analysis suggests that perceived corruption in the public sector is more damaging to trust in the police than to trust in other government institutions. A plausible explanation for this is that many consider the police to be an indispensable institution for social order, and corruption is antithetical to this mission.

Gunnar Thomassen
Gunnar Thomassen is researcher at the Research Department of the Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, Norway. He holds a Cand.polit/MSc degree in Political Science. His main research topics are police accountability, trust and legitimacy. He has previously published in Policing and Society and Crime Prevention and Community Safety (corresp: guntho@phs.no).

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