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Describe Psychological Findings Relating To Police Personality.

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Geoff Walker

Practice Essay

Describe Psychological Findings Relating To Police Personality

        Psychologists have found various psychological factors which influence a police person’s personality. The culture and ideas taken by a person to the position may be similar to other people who are attracted to the police force, as they may have similar personalities, which makes the police force appeal to them. The training which takes place as you enter the police force was argued to change and mould individuals into having similar personalities. The way the public perceive the police force may be why we believe them to have similar personalities, as the stereotype of the police in the area you live may have made you judge the police as a whole instead of individuals.

        In a psychological study which was carried out in 1977 found police recruits to be more conservative than the general population,. But after the training period which takes place at the begging of an officer’s career proved to change the individual who then became less conservative. Cook’s (1977)

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        Canteen Culture, otherwise known as locker-room culture was studied by Holdaway (1983), suggests that the lack of supervisory control of the lower ranks generates a strong internal system of norms and values between the junior ranks which were characterised and named as the locker-room culture. This culture between junior ranks supports malpractice by emphasizing the goals of fun, challenge and action in the police force.

        In this culture a lot of discussions of ‘the chase’ exiting high speed action will take place where as the memory of the story in not important. The sense of importance and excitement is there, speed being central to the occupational culture. With officers discussing their jobs in this way, it may mould personalities into thinking it is part of the job to cause friction when on the job, or maybe it is a way of releasing stress from a stressful hard job. (Holdaway 1983) During the earlier ranks they will prefer to cause friction in the job e.g. radioing for back up when the situation could be sorted out through discussion.

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All of the factors have a role in the police personality, as studies carried out have all presented findings that show all to be important factors in a personality. The people entering the police force have a similar personality which makes the police force appeal to them. The training will mould the recruits into thinking the same values and norms. People’s perception of the force will always be a big factor as we use the term personality in a way that implies enduring attributes within people that influence the way that we experience them and interpret their behaviour. It is hard to change a person’s perception of a personality once they have already been influenced.

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