Evaluating the role of training in police socialization: A British example

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Abstract

Socialization into an occupation proceeds through both formal and informal channels. In the case of the police, the formal agency is the training school, and the informal process results from assignment to operational service. In the UK, the latter begins early in the training period and occupies the bulk of the 2 years that a Police Constable is on “probation.” It is important to know how police training and the experience of policing affect the views of recruits if one is to assess the relevance of efforts at improvement and reform. There is a need to assess how the recruit acquires a “realistic” understanding of the police role. This article seeks to document in detail the evolution of the recruit's attitudes during socialization into the police role. The measures of attitude change gathered on a sample of recruits who were moving through the probationary period demonstrate a movement toward increasingly pragmatic conceptions of policing as work.

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