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Dyslexia and policing: Understanding the impact that dyslexia has in the police service in England and Wales

Stephen J. Macdonald (School of Social Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)
Faye Cosgrove (School of Social Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 30 April 2019

Issue publication date: 9 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of officers/civilians with dyslexia serving in the police service in England and Wales. Although there has been a growing body of research which has analysed the experiences of offenders and victims with dyslexia, there have been few studies focusing on the experiences of police officers/civilians with this condition. This study employs the social model of disability to conceptualise the experiences of these police officers/civilians from a disability rights perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This applies a quantitative methodology to analyse data on disabling environments experienced by officers/civilians serving in a police service situated in the North of England. The paper collected data from 56 police employees previously diagnosed with dyslexia.

Findings

The findings reveal that a significant number of officers were reluctant to disclose that they had dyslexia to their police service. The choice to disclose was a key concern for officers/civilians, as this was directly linked to their experiences of stigmatisation, as well as the risk of their competences being questioned at work. The analysis presents evidence that, although officers/civilians have legal protections under the Equality Act 2010 (c15) in the UK, very few had experienced any form of “reasonable adjustment” in the workplace.

Originality/value

Drawing on the social model of disability, the paper concludes that the police service must improve access to reasonable adjustment, for example, through the use of assistive technologies, to create a more inclusive and supportive working environment for their employees.

Keywords

Citation

Macdonald, S.J. and Cosgrove, F. (2019), "Dyslexia and policing: Understanding the impact that dyslexia has in the police service in England and Wales", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 634-651. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-11-2018-0218

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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