Friend or foe? exploring police and offender relationships in integrated offender management: a challenging issue in a challenging environment.
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
As key partners within Integrated Offender Management, police officers routinely perform an offender supervision role which works not only as a deterrent against reoffending, but in support of offenders to help them turn their lives around. In order to achieve this aim, they develop a working relationship with their offenders which this study explores through an in-depth analysis of fourteen semi-structured qualitative interviews with seven pairs of police officers and offenders who have developed relationships with each other. Conducted as an exploratory study, this thesis makes a unique contribution to knowledge by exploring these relationships in the context of multi-agency arrangements, police culture, criminological theory and sociological theories of relationships. Using grounded theory to analyse interviews, this study found that what makes these relationships distinct is the correctional context in which they exist, which despite adversarial boundaries of crime control allowed a variety of predominately positive relationships to succeed. Furthermore, police officers in this study worked with offenders to support positive change with methods which included the use of their relationship as a therapeutic intervention. Finding that these relationships reflect the complexity of all relationships and can be similarly understood through typologies which characterise relationships by how behaviourally interdependent they are, this study concludes that in a criminological context these relationships are ultimately beneficial for supporting both compliance with the law and offenders efforts to desist from offending. This study therefore has implications for both policy and practice, as well as research into desistance from offending within a multi-agency setting.
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