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Police misconduct and social media: perceptions of aspiring future police officers

James Turner (University of South Wales - Glyntaff Campus, Pontypridd, UK)
Colin Rogers (International Centre for Policing and Security, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK)
Ian Pepper (College of Policing, Coventry, UK) (International Centre for Policing and Security, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 27 February 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

The research aimed to explore the perceptions of aspiring future police officers studying at a university in relation to the actions to be taken with regards to typical posts on social media by a fictitious off and on-duty police officer. This in turn would inform future police workforce requirements.

Design/methodology/approach

Policing students who expressed their aspirations as future police officers were recruited. A total of 99 students studying the College of Policing licensed Professional Policing Degree at the University of South Wales, took part in Hydra Immersive Simulations to ascertain their perception of social media posts by a fictitious serving police officer. The students were asked to rate the appropriateness of the social media posts as groups, and as individuals.

Findings

The findings suggest that, whilst the majority of students identified misconduct issues in the social media posts, the response to how the fictitious police officer should be dealt with varied. In addition, it would appear that there may be a need for those involved in policing education to reinforce, in an ongoing basis, knowledge of the College of Policing Code of Ethics, misconduct rules, regulations and increase awareness of unacceptable social media posts.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted with professional policing degree (PPD) students from one university.

Practical implications

It is important to reinforce The College of Policing Code of Ethics, expected professional standards and an understanding of what constitutes unacceptable social media posts throughout the education of aspiring police officers. As this has the potential, if recruited, to impact on the service.

Originality/value

Limited research has been conducted in relation to the College of Policing licensed higher education programme, the PPD, equipping aspiring police officers to successfully join the service and influence the cultural change.

Keywords

Citation

Turner, J., Rogers, C. and Pepper, I. (2024), "Police misconduct and social media: perceptions of aspiring future police officers", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-08-2023-0214

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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