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NCJ Number: 78234 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Social Isolation of Police - Structural Determinants and Remedies
Journal: Police Studies  Dated:(Fall 1980)  Pages:14-21
Author(s): B Swanton
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on research studies of American, Australian, and British police and their families, this article explores the social isolation that often accompanies police employment and then proposes remedial strategies.
Abstract: Surveys have shown that lower class communities tend to treat police officers and their families with reserve, suspicion, and even overt hostility. Middle class individuals may express their resentment of law enforcement tactics by denying services to police employees. According to studies of police families in England, Australia, and the United States, many individuals feel that police connections limit social relations, although they accept the situation as an unavoidable consequence of the work. Police administrative structures further complicate normal social relations, particularly shift work, the likelihood that vacations can be canceled on short notice, and long hours. Moreover, police regulations control officers' behavior while off duty, and the effects of work experience carry over into officers' private lives. The suspicion and cynicism that are required in police work affect attitudes toward other social contacts. Rural police feel a greater need than their urban peers to maintain some social distance as protection for their authority. While few police and family members suffer mental or physical illness as a result of social isolation, their general life satisfaction can be reduced. Because this affects recruitment and performance, police administrators should consider prevention strategies. More research on social isolation and other sources of police occupational stress is needed. Training courses could help police increase their capacities to interact harmoniously with citizens whenever possible and understand their own motivations and social needs. Other suggestions include improved methods of arranging schedules and realistic career development programs. The article contains 28 references.
Index Term(s): Australia; England; Job pressure; Police attitudes; Police management; Police occupational stress; Socially challenged; United States of America
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