REPRESENTATIVE BUREAUCRACY, GENDER, AND POLICING: THE CASE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARRESTS IN ENGLAND

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Abstract

Drawing on theories of representative bureaucracy, we examine whether increased representation of women in police forces in England leads to a higher rate of domestic violence arrests. To do so, we use panel regression techniques to analyze the links between gender representation and variations in the arrest of domestic abuse perpetrators when controlling for a range of other relevant variables, including the relative prosperity of the local population and the size of the police force. Our statistical results suggest that the rate of domestic violence arrests varies in terms of the authority and discretion accorded to women police officers. We find that the presence of a female police chief constable is positively associated with the domestic violence arrest rate, but that increased representation of female police officers makes a difference only when they are accorded greater opportunity to carry out frontline police work.

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