Dr Sarah Charman, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, has published a paper in the Perspectives on Policing series which shows 'police officers’ perceptions of what they consider to be their role has altered, affected both by their length of service and the changing realities of policing work in more challenging economic times'.
Reconsidering the role of the police
This research has revealed that police officers’ perceptions of what they consider to be their role has altered, affected both by their length of service and the changing realities of policing work in more challenging economic times. It could be argued that much of this change derives from a fundamental change to the arena of policing where the focus is much more upon the congenial activities such as citizen protection, public reassurance and safeguarding rather than on the more combative activities such as fighting crime and catching criminals. However, it could also be argued that 13 Reiner (1978, 2010); Crank (1998); de Lint (1998); Scripture (1997); Loftus (2008, 2009). 14 Crank (1998); Chan (2003); Steyn and Mkhize (2016); Sollund (2008). 15 Atherton (2012). historically, police officers have always liked to portray the crime-fighting image despite most evidence suggesting that this has only ever constituted a small part of a police officer’s role. This is what Manning has referred to as the “drama of control”16 of the police where the symbolism of the police is as important as their actions. The narratives of policing then have never quite matched the actions.