Police Culture: A Product of Policing or Society?

Arvind Verma, Indiana University
Ernest Nickles, Indiana University
Daniel Richard King, Indiana University, Bloomington
Curt Griffiths, Simon Fraser University
Christopher Murphy, Dalhousie University

ABSTRACT
Research suggests there are some distinct characteristics of police officers. The threat of constant danger, the need to ensure unchallenged authority, the distrust of people outside the immediate circle and a defensive attitude towards constant criticism are traits commonly found in several research studies. Most of the research suggests that these are linked to the nature of work done by the police and the relationship the officers have with the citizens. However, such traits have been reported from foreign police departments also. This suggests that officers' perceptions are shaped perhaps more by organizational activities than by external factors. A comparative study of three police departments in Canada, Japan and India was undertaken to compare the perceptions of officers about a variety of organizational issues. The same set of questions was administered to judge if responses vary across the nations. The findings suggest that despite clear differences in the nature of society and culture the police personnel share similar concerns. The research supports the idea that it is the nature of policing rather than economic, social, political and cultural factors that influence the officers. Several implications of this study are suggested.

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Updated 05/20/2006