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Different ladders for police progression? reviewing black and minority officers' progression in the police service

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The Police Service has a strategic priority to improve approaches to progression forunder-represented groups; however, it is facing continued challenges for this priority, as there is a lack of progression for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) officers. There are implicit suggestions in policy that increasing BME officers in the police would improve police culture in the form of attenuating the racism that may be creating barriers to recruitment and progression.
Reform efforts have taken place in the UK Police Services in the last decade to have a more diverse workforce, especially with regard to race, sex and sexual orientation.However, contemporary research has repeatedly demonstrated that there are inherent problems in assimilation of officers that are not white males (Holdaway and O’Neill,2004; Bolton and Feagin, 2004; Cashmore, 2001). The common themes from previous research are that BME officers face barriers of stereotyping, police culture and racism that affects their working environment and prospects of progression.
This thesis examined BME senior officers perceptions of progression in the British Police Service. The research was conducted within a qualitative paradigm to examine barriers to career progression that affected BME officers so that professional knowledge is improved for police leaders to consider alternative employment practices. This thesis focused on BME and white Superintendents working in the United Kingdom.
BME Superintendents were excluded from the sub-culture of progression, which contained informal practices that were rooted to covert institutional racism. The predominant informal practice found was networks that operated covertly and were linked to chief officer sponsors who could provide mobility. Within the networks there was axiomatic knowledge providing vital dissemination of information for progression.BME Superintendents were negatively impacted by exclusion from these informal practices and exhibited physical and psychological behaviours such as working hard,anxiety and having a lack of confidence. A model describing the cause and effect of BME progression in the British Police Service was developed through this research and is presented as new professional knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Phil Clements (Supervisor)
Award dateApr 2015

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