Research Focus

The AIPM Research Focus publication is a quarterly research paper that focuses on a key contemporary topic.  This publication is designed to provide concise insight and inform our students, Alumni and the broader police and emergency service network on current research.

Diversity and inclusion in Australian policing

Where are we at and where should we go?
(Vol 5, Issue 2)

While the promotion of women in policing has long been on the international agenda, in the Australian context a significant increase in attention to women in policing has occurred in recent years, framed largely in terms of the business benefits commonly associated with organisational diversity. Notably, major independent reviews of organisational culture and sex discrimination have been commissioned by Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and South Australia Police, and a number of jurisdictions have announced 50/50 male-female recruitment targets. These initiatives have been simultaneously welcomed and resisted by both men and women (sworn and unsworn), raising a range of questions about how best to promote gender equality in our nation’s policing institutions.

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The AIPM National Police Research Inventory: A Summary of Findings

(Vol 5, Issue 1)

There continues to be much debate about the value of research to policing. The evidence-based policing (EBP) movement has gained significant traction across the world, and it is increasingly commonplace to hear about police organisations engaging with the body of knowledge when thinking about changes to policy and practice. Responding to this trend in late 2015 and early 2016 the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) held a series of three roundtable discussions on the topic of police research (see Herrington, 2016, for a summary). Attended by 51 individuals representing 16 organisations, these roundtables explored some of the key challenges for those interested in police research. Download the attached paper and learn more about the four key themes in these discussions.

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Engineering a Safer Society

(Vol 4, Issue 2)

Evidence based policing continues to be an important area of discussion among police organisations across the world, and parallels are often drawn with medicine as a means to describe how a profession can be enhanced through a commitment to evidence based techniques. The use of the medical analogy in policing does not have everybody convinced, however, and there are those who argue that rather than molecules, bacteria and disease, we are dealing with the complexity of human behaviour, meaning simple cause and effect may always be difficult to establish. In this Research Focus Professors Nick Tilley and Gloria Laycock of the Jill Dando Institute at University College London extend this thinking and suggest that a better professional parallel might be drawn with engineering. Arguing that a process of evidence based trial and error might be more effective in policing than the experimental testing of narrow hypotheses, Professors Tilley and Laycock provide an important and thought provoking addition to the ongoing evidence based policing debate.

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Creating adaptable and innovative police organisations 

(Vol 4, Issue 1)

On Thursday 17th March 2016 the AIPM held a masterclass on ‘Creating Adaptable and Innovative Organisations’, drawing on the expertise of Visiting Scholar from the United States, Professor Joseph Schafer. The one day Masterclass involved formal presentations from Professor Schafer, group discussions and debate amongst Masterclass participants, and a ‘panel of experts in change’ comprising two Assistant Commissioners: Assistant Commissioner Carlene York from NSW Police Force; and Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius from Victoria Police. The Masterclass was attended by 41 people drawn from 13 organisations.

In a departure from our normal format, this document captures in summary the key themes that were touched on during the day. While the summary is necessarily brief, further reading is recommended at the end of this document.

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Enhancing Police Legitimacy 

(Vol 3, Issue 4)

Evidence based policing is based on grounding public safety work in sound scientific evidence, not just tradition. Evidence comes in many shapes and sizes. Some questions call for robust methodologies such as randomized control trials. Other questions call for more exploratory methods to help us understand the problem at hand before trialling a solution. Whatever the method, there is little doubt that the importance of evidence in policing and public safety will only get stronger. In this Research Focus we provide an insight into how evidence based practice can help inform decision making and achieve organisational goals.

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New leadership for new environments 

(Vol 3, Issue 3)

The policing environment has changed considerably in recent years, and police organisations face new challenges from crime; new expectations from communities; and a new array of constraints implemented by governments across the world. What does this mean for police leaders? This Paper is a summation of the conversations, ideas and questions around the new global, security and political environments for police leaders and the new leadership required for these new environments.

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Toward a profession of police leadership 

(Vol 3, Issue 2)

Police leaders are increasingly expected to run efficient businesses that effectively prevent as well as investigate crime. Thus, the skill sets required of police leaders in shaping their organizations today differ greatly from those required 20 years ago. This paper articulates

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Privatisation, pluralization and the globalization of policing

(Vol 3, Issue 1)

Police, as a formal institution, operate as a part of a three way relationship with the community and the state. In this research paper, Philip Stenning and Clifford Shearing explore how changes in both the community and the state may reshape both the institution of the police and the role of policing. This paper extends the conversation from our previous 2013 publication ‘Public Private Policing’ which was based on a forum held at the AIPM in the same year.

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Debating how wide or narrow should the police’s remit be?

(Volume 2, Issue 4)

The Second International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health in Amsterdam in October 2014 held a debate between Professor Andrew Millie of the UK’s Edge Hill University, and the AIPM’s Dr Victoria Herrington. This paper documents this debate on the breadth of the police role, with particular reference to the intersect between law enforcement and public health.

Professor Millie sets out the potential opportunities for policing to recast its role in society as a result of contraction enforced through austerity, and with it to reconsider police involvement in a range of non-crime issues. Dr Herrington argues a counter-position, suggesting that by recasting the issue of law enforcement and public health from being the responsibility of one organisation or another, to being a collective responsibility with the opportunity to engage other agencies in public safety.

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Perceptions of ineffective police leaders? 

(Volume 2, Issue 3)

This paper describes those qualities that can lead to ineffective leadership. In this paper Professor Schafer explores officer perceptions of ineffective leadership, and concludes by helpfully grouping these shortcomings into those that we might be able to intervene with through leader development, and those less receptive to change.

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Maintaining democratic policing: the challenge for police leaders 

(Volume 2, Issue 2)

This paper reflects on the recent changes in the policing landscape in the UK, and considers whether some of these changes give rise to unintended consequences for the democratic policing approach. The paper discusses whether the increasing pressure for the rationalisation of services reduce police legitimacy.

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What is the value of education? Measuring the impact of the AIPM graduate programs in public safety leadership 

(Volume 2, Issue 1)

This paper describes the results of research undertaken to measure the impact on leadership behaviour that the AIPM graduate programs had. There is considerable anecdotal evidence to suggest that the AIPM’s graduate certificate and graduate diploma courses are well received by participants, and valued by sponsoring jurisdictions, although the programs have never been formally evaluated for their impact on leaders’ behaviour, and the flow-on benefits to organisations. Until now.

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Organisational justice: Implications for police and emergency service leadership

(Volume 1, Issue 2)

This paper describes the role that organisational justice has in shaping individual perceptions about the fairness with which they are treated by their organisation, and how this has flow on benefits for organisational outcomes including levels of misconduct, job satisfaction, and extra-role behaviour such as ‘going the extra mile’. This paper discusses whether organisational justice can be achieved in our police and emergency service organisations, and provides some practical advice for how this might be done.

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Police Leaders and Leadership Development

(Volume 1, Issue 1)

What do we want from our police leaders? This is a deceptively simple question. Answers can be drawn from a multitude of sources and actors, including the police, the environment they operate in, and police stakeholders. In this paper the authors present findings from a systematic review of the research literature to answer three related sub questions: What do we know about who police leaders are? What do we know about what police leaders do? And what do we know about how best to prepare and develop police leaders? The purpose of this systematic literature review is to synthesise what we know, empirically, about police leadership. This systematic review is a step forward in establishing a foundation for devising, improving and implementing training to reflect the needs of police leaders.

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