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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2021

Garth den Heyer

The purpose of this research was to examine which factors increase the risk of post-traumatic stress in police officers to assist with identifying strategies that will…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research was to examine which factors increase the risk of post-traumatic stress in police officers to assist with identifying strategies that will minimize its occurrence.

Design/methodology/approach

This study of constabulary and non-constabulary members of the New Zealand Police has been based on an 80-question electronic survey, which was sent to all serving, resigned and retired members of the New Zealand Police Association, which number approximately 18,000. The survey included a series of questions that measured the post-traumatic stress that participants experienced.

Findings

Variables associated with post-traumatic stress were examined using logistic regression modeling techniques. The study found that post-traumatic stress was prevalent among serving, resigned and retired police members and exposure to trauma, especially prolonged exposure, was significantly associated with post-traumatic stress. More than 49% of participants were found to have some post-traumatic stress symptoms and more than 14% of participants indicated a presumptive clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the research included not include questions relating to the Social Provisions Scale (SPS) and General Health Questionnaire, nor did it include police officer recruits. A further limitation was that it was a cross-sectional study.

Originality/value

An understanding as to which variables influence or increase post-traumatic stress disorder is important for police officers and the police institution. The findings from this study indicate that exposure to trauma is strongly associated with high levels of post-traumatic stress, while good sleep and relaxation decrease the influence of such variables.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2018

Garth den Heyer and Jonathan Mendel

The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence about the factors shaping the police workforce, commissioned by the Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Institute…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence about the factors shaping the police workforce, commissioned by the Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Institute for Policing Research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses the theory of strategic fit to assess the available evidence relating to reshaping the police workforce and brings together the most relevant recent reviews of police organisations and empirical studies on these issues. The use of the theory enabled the strategies that have been adopted by police agencies in recent years to be evaluated in relation to the current political and economic environment.

Findings

The authors find that here is considerable uncertainty and while there has been previous discussion on the benefits of larger or smaller forces there is not robust evidence that a particular force size is optimal for either efficacy or efficiency, although very small forces may struggle in some ways. There is also mixed evidence about whether increasing police organisation resourcing to allow more officers to be employed reduces crime levels, and there is a relative lack of evidence about the impact this has on the other areas of community life in which police are involved.

Research limitations/implications

There are major weaknesses in research relating to police organisational reform: there is no accepted theory of police reform, no accepted method as to how such a reform should be evaluated nor have there been any comparative studies of earlier police civilianisation programs (Braithwaite, Westbrook and Ledema, 2005).

Originality/value

Previous work on this topic often focuses on which organisational structure – whether in terms of workforce mix or size – is most efficient or effective. This research takes an alternative perspective and argues for a shift in the research agenda to take account of the friction involved in processes of organisational change, both in order to build a stronger research understanding of these important aspects of change and to more effectively inform policy. The paper provides a basis for the development of theories for understanding police reform in general – and workforce restructuring in particular – alongside appropriate methods for researching it.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Garth den Heyer

The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of new public management (NPM) as a major strategy for democratic police reform in transitioning, developing and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of new public management (NPM) as a major strategy for democratic police reform in transitioning, developing and post‐conflict nations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the literature and history of the use of NPM in the public sector and policing in Western nations and considers its use in programs of police reform.

Findings

The review identifies that NPM can be used as a strategy in police reform and is able to be used in conjunction with policing approaches such as community‐oriented policing. However, the adoption of NPM must be culturally specific and implemented within local capability constraints.

Practical implications

Police reform, transparency and accountability are an important concern for all post‐conflict and transitioning police agencies; therefore, the findings of this research are useful for implementation or planning of police reform and restructuring programs.

Originality/value

With its focus on police management accountability in post‐conflict or transitioning nations, this article expands research on strategies of democratic police reform and capacity development.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 May 2008

Garth den Heyer

Abstract

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

Tim Prenzler, Tyler Cawthray, Louise E. Porter and Geoffrey P. Alpert

From 2002 to 2014, the Portland Police Bureau reported large reductions in complaints against officers and use of force indicators. The purpose of this paper is to develop…

Abstract

Purpose

From 2002 to 2014, the Portland Police Bureau reported large reductions in complaints against officers and use of force indicators. The purpose of this paper is to develop a case study to document these changes and explore possible influences.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper maps the changes in conduct indicators against the developing relationship between the Bureau and the Portland Independent Police Review Division, and changes in policies and procedures.

Findings

Public complaints reduced by 54.4 per cent, while the rate of specific allegations per officer fell by 70.1 per cent. Quarterly use of force incident reports were reduced by 65.4 per cent between 2008 and 2014. Annual average shootings decreased from a high of nine per year across 1997-2002 to just below four per year in 2009-2014. Fatal shootings also trended downward but remained two per year in the last three years on record. Reforms instituted during this period that may have influenced these trends include a more rigorous complaints process, an early intervention system (EIS), enhanced external and internal review mechanisms, policy changes and training initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

The researchers were unable to control for a range of additional variables that may have influenced the findings, including police deployments and changes in officer demographics.

Practical implications

The study provides support for strategies to improve police conduct including external oversight, diagnostic research, training focussed on de-escalation and minimal force, and complaint profiling and EISs.

Originality/value

There are very few studies available showing large long-term reductions in adverse police conduct indicators.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 2 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

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