Police cultures

Authored by: Louise Westmarland

Handbook of Policing

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843925002
eBook ISBN: 9780203118238
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308529


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Police culture, or cultures, as many authors have commented, is difficult to define. Despite this difficulty, police culture, cultures or what is sometimes termed ‘cop’ or ‘canteen culture’ is one of the few ‘academic’ terms from police studies that has entered common parlance. Another problem is that in recent times ‘police’ and ‘policing’ have become much more diverse with the ‘police family’ being extended to a wide variety of uniformed officers and other auxiliaries without full legal powers (Crawford, this volume) and the recognition that police functions are carried out by people other than ‘blue coated, public police officers’. These ‘policing’ cultures, although relevant for their many parallels with public policing, are beyond the remit of this chapter, which will concentrate on the history, debates and voluminous research on ‘police’ cultures.

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