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The Copper and The Customer: an examination of police officers’ attitudes toward neighbourhood policing in a changing landscape

Fenn, Liam (2019) The Copper and The Customer: an examination of police officers’ attitudes toward neighbourhood policing in a changing landscape Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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This thesis examines police officers’ attitudes toward neighbourhood policing and the customer-focused ethos it embodies. The support of police officers is essential to the effective delivery of neighbourhood policing. Whilst much has been written about the low status afforded to this style of policing within the occupational culture, more empirical evidence is needed to understand the ‘drivers’ of officers’ attitudes and how police managers might encourage support for such strategies. The research is informed by the voices, experiences and perspectives of officers serving in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Using a mixed methods approach drawing on survey and interview data, the study assesses the cultural, organisational and wider contextual determinants of officers’ alignment to neighbourhood policing. In so doing, this study makes an important contribution to the existing literature, extending our knowledge about the barriers and conduits to the implementation of neighbourhood policing and the factors shaping the variations in officers’ cultural attitudes. Findings suggest that most MPS officers consider neighbourhood policing to be ‘real’ policing. Positive attitudes are strongly linked to officers’ organisational justice perceptions, attitudes toward serving the public and openness to their involvement. Senior ranking officers, women and those deployed in neighbourhood roles are highly supportive. Nevertheless, the results also expose that neighbourhood policing is often considered an inferior form of police work relative to other ‘specialisms’ and that rank-and-file officers do not always embrace the language of customer focus. It is argued that several organisational and contextual factors are undermining the positive sentiments most officers’ hold toward neighbourhood policing. This includes systems of performance measurement; specialisation opportunities; the composition of neighbourhood teams; training provision; role ambiguity; a perceived de-prioritisation of the neighbourhood function and declining organisational justice perceptions in the context of austerity. Ultimately, this has implications for officers’ commitment to their role and service provision.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Fenn, Liam
Date : November 2019
Funders : Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00853096
Contributors :
Depositing User : Liam Fenn
Date Deposited : 20 Dec 2019 08:48
Last Modified : 20 Dec 2019 08:49

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