POLICING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West,
© 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia


Miran Mitar

In the article practical, theoretical and empirical sides of the determination of educational aims of CPSS in Slovenian 1989 - 1995 are discussed. The first were sketched the changes of study program, in which the determination of aims was neglected. Three sets of variables (initial conditions, external factors, strategy) are described, which influenced the development of CPSS. Three main approaches to curriculum planning and education are presented (content-based; goals- based; process-based). Goals of police education are discussed at five levels (societal, organisational, job, individual, education itself), then some research results about curriculum of CPSS showed the discrepancy between democratic orientations and reality.

Also two main future possibilities of development are presented. One is the continuation of the old policy of very slow steps, other, less possible, is the selection of one of the theoretically proposed approach to curriculum planning and evaluation and setting relatively autonomous organisational unit with responsibility for curriculum planning and evaluation. Also some recommendations of "Sherman report" (about why, what and how of police education) are presented. Then it is stressed, that education alone cannot change the police, but new organisational designs, better management and appropriate control over police work are also necessary. At last, it is stressed, that CPSS can become an initiator and catalysator of change, if it decides to support the process of professionalization of police work (at individual, organisational and societal level) with relevant (fundamental and applied) research and education.

Keywords: aims, police, education, College for Police and Security Studies, planning, evaluation.

What are we trying to do when we teach? This is the most important question any educator can ask. (Smith, 1955:1)

Rather than helping to change the police, police education appears to support the status quo, teaching what the police do now instead of inquiring what they could do differently.(Sherman,1975:19)


College of Police and Security Studies (in text: CPSS) has been after the beginnings in the 1973 (as the Higher school of Internal Affairs) subject to quick organisational, personal and functional growth. The growth of the college was marked not only with the growth of numbers (of students and teachers), but also with the changes of whole curriculum (including study program). After 1991 the CPSS was opened also for students, which weren't not employees of uniformed police, criminal investigation service, security agency or other governmental agencies (e.g. Ministry of defence).

But the changes weren't primarily expression of the democratic orientation and proactive standpoint of majority of staff, but were predominately reactions to the demands of environment (Ministry of Interior, University of Ljubljana, Ministry of Education and Sport, State Council of Education et.), growth of the number of students and ambitions for transformation of formal organisational status (from so called "higher school" - with two year - program - to "high school" - with three-year program). There were several changes of study program (1985, 1991, 1995) which were dominantly experience and content - oriented. Usually contents and amounts of teaching hours of the some study subjects are changed (regarding to the status and power of professor) without co-ordination among various subjects.

The questions of aims and objectives weren't posed until 1989, when research project "Evaluation of study program of CPSS" was started (Mitar,1989). It wanted to evaluate existing study program as the base for decision-making about future changes. Some theoretical and empirical researches were made (Mitar, 1990; Fekonja&Mitar 1991), but the critical results - especially the posed questions about explicit determination of aims and goals (or values) as necessary starting point for planning and evaluation of study program - weren't enthusiastically accepted by leadership and majority of teaching staff.

Also the leadership (including majority of teachers -with little knowledge of curriculum theory and practice) was assured, that the planned approach to change the program wasn't possible. So in the following years some changes were made, but the changes were dominantly experience and content - based, the questions of aims (or objectives or values) were absent, in spite of the fact that in this time Slovenian society was in the process of transition from socialist to pluralist democracy. So the question of determination of educational aims for the needs of policing in pluralist democracy wasn't posed in the changes of study program in 1991, but was considered later in the first half of the year 1995 (after getting little majority in the process of voting).

The changes of the study program were (in the year 1991 and also in 1995 - when the college started with three-year program) predominantly experience and content - based, so that "the new" study program was more cosmetic enlargement of the old, than planned transformation with the view of needs of policing in pluralist democracy.


The approach to sketch conditions of development of CPSS in the period of transition is made with the help of a simple analytical scheme, which contains three sets of variables (similar scheme was first used by Balcerowicz, 1995:46). The first is the set of initial conditions, which are the legacy of the past. The second are the conditions, which are external to curriculum changes and development of CPSS. The third is strategy, whenever there exists any conscious plan (or elements of it), which has a vision of a desired (end) state and also the knowledge and availability of means how to get from the initial conditions to this desired targeted system,i.e., the sequence, the type and the timing of steps.

In the period 1989 - 1995 it existed sound theoretical knowledge about the methods of curriculum planning and evaluation in Slovenia. In 1986 Sagadin described the main models of curriculum planning and evaluation - Tyler's, Stake's, Stufflebeam's, Glass's, Lewy's, there were important research endeavours of the Centre for the development of University of Ljubljana, some recommendations of the work-group of The Project Longterm Development of Higher Education in Slovenia (Mitar, 1991), but not enough will and knowledge among leading and teaching staff of CPSS. In spite of this fact some members of teaching staff gave lot of attention to the theoretical, empirical and practical problems of planned innovative approach to curriculum change. But these endeavours were restricted by prevailing poor knowledge (of curriculum planning and evaluation) and status quo orientation of leadership, including majority of tradition oriented teaching staff.

Besides unfavourable initial (inner) conditions (lack of knowledge, prevailing traditional status-quo orientation, old-fashion authoritarian style of leadership et.), there were some external conditions, which restricted the processes of change. One of the most important condition was the war for emancipation of Slovenia (1991) from former Yugoslavia, in which also some teachers and majority of students had various more or less important functions, so the amount of time devoted to curriculum change was small. Another has been the absence of social consensus about concept of police work and organisation appropriate to the needs of pluralist democracy. So Slovenian parliament hasn't accepted yet new law for police (police tasks, organisational structure, responsibilities and accountabilities et.). The third was subordinated and ambivalent organisational status of the school as the inner subordinated organisation sub-unit within Education centre of the Ministry of Interior, although at some time CPSS (the then Higher school) was also the member of University of Ljubljana. The fourth important set of external conditions were legal and organisational changes in the structure of higher education in Slovenia, which required quick organisational adjustment, if CPSS wanted to access status of school with three year program in short run (status of the College) and with the perspective of becoming faculty (with four year program) in the long run.

At last but not least there was missing explicit comprehensive and innovative approach to change. The members of leading staff did not explicitly declare or publish the strategy of CPSS (until 1996, when short information about CPSS and its mission is published). The strategy was hidden or non-existent. The steps undertaken were more very careful adjustments than proactive seeking and exploring new solutions. Maybe this reactive (or passive) standpoint contributed to some positive results (maybe minimal not optimal) in the period of uncertainty, maybe this sort of approach also has some advantages in the future. One of the main thesis of the article is, that the modern approach to curriculum evaluation and planning requires "mixed" approach (Etzioni, 1976: 90), i.e. "clear strategy" and also appropriate adjustment to environment.


In the process of theoretical and empirical study and in the process of several practical trials of implementation of research results (with limited influence on decision - makers in CPSS) was crystallised insight about three main possible approaches to curriculum planning and education (Kelly, 1989:curriculum as content and education as transmission; curriculum as product and education as instrumental; curriculum as process and education as development).

At first it was recognised the difference between pure experience and intuition based planning (mere reaction to environment) and between some form of planning (proactive standpoint). Then it was acknowledged the difference between content based planning and goals based planning (or planning by objectives), at last it was recognised the third approach to curriculum planning and evaluation, so called process model (Kelly, 1989:84) and some similar possibilities (concept based planning, problem-oriented planning, skill-based planning)(Kroflič, 1992).

In the real process of change of curriculum (including study program) in CPSS (both 1991 and 1995) prevailed experience and intuition based planning, with main accent on adjustments of content of study program to new circumstances (new constitution, novelties in criminal justice, new political and economic system). The questions of aims and objectives weren't even asked. The requirements of goals-based planning and Kelly's process model weren't known to leadership and to majority of teaching staff.

Because the two approaches (goals-based planning, Kelly's process model), which were neglected, give great accent to the determination of aims and objectives, it is important to show some differences between them. The main characteristic of some goals-based planning approaches (linear and hierarchical sequencing, objectives as behavioural, value neutrality) are often such, that can reduce learners to passive beings (Kelly,1989,64: endemic instrumentalism of this model) or recipients of given truth (danger of indoctrination).The remedy for the shortcomings of the second model was not only asking questions about the effectiveness of a program in attaining its objectives but also about the desirability of the objectives themselves (Kroflič, 1992: 107), to provide the data for their subsequent modification. The starting point for educational planning of process model is not a consideration of a nature and/or culture to be transmitted or a statement of the ends to be achieved, but a concern with the development of learner. The starting point for curriculum planners must be to seek agreement on the principles of procedure that will guide the conduct of any particular curriculum project and to concern themselves not only with prespecifying goals but with determination of the norms and principles that will inform the activity of both teachers and learners in the endeavour for learners' development, which hasn't an end, but is an end itself.


Educational goals for (police) education (and training) must be discussed at least at three interdependent levels (individual, organisational and societal development). Here we as starting point used five levels of evaluation suggested by Hamblin (cited in Cohrane& Phillips,1988:45), when we are faced with basic question - what is the education (and training) for.

At societal level we need to discuss the purpose of policing and deal with the question of what kind of police force we wants or needs in the 21st century.

At organisational level police education must be evaluated in terms of achieving organisational goals and purposes, the philosophy , ethos and image. The third level is that of the actual job or organisational role. This requires an analysis of the job as it is perceived by those within organisation, particularly by the immediate managers and supervisors of those carrying out the role.The fourth level is the level of the individual as he or she operates within the role. Here the need is to consider the skills, knowledge and attitudes, which are necessary to meet role requirements as set out before him or her. On this level we must not reduce individuals to the narrow requirements of their present roles. The fifth level is the police education (and training) itself. It implies considering what educational (and training) interventions are likely to be most successful from the view of selected criteria. At last it must be considered also the possibility of contradictions among levels (e.g. between the education for vocational or professional or organisational goals and between the education for autonomous and broad development of individual)(Donald, 1990: 25).

At societal level there is (and must be) the difference between the purposes (and practice) of policing in (open) democratic society and the purposes (and practice) of policing in (closed) pre - democratic society. Theoretically difference is clear (or black and white), but in reality there exists grey middle ground between the former and the latter.

The main characteristics of latter must be clear determination of responsibilities and accountabilities of the police, the balance between police powers (formal and material) and human rights and there must exists open channels of constitutionally determined channels of societal (local, regional, national level) influence on the police. One of the most important difference between open and closed societies is the type of the relationship between police power and control of that power (Behr,1994:110).

Organisational goals, purposes, philosophy and image must be explicitly declared and under the permanent scrutiny of democratically constituted political bodies, which use the help from various disciplines of human and social sciences and which also consider public opinion. Various controls (on local, regional and national level) must be established to ensure that policy-making and operations of the police would be in accordance with the norms of democracy. Special attention must be given to the form of organisation, i.e. the question must be explicitly posed, if the decentralised form of police organisation is better (or less dangerous) for democratic society than centralised form. The answers can be found out of present comparison of developments of community-oriented policing in North America, Japan and some European countries (Dölling&Feltes, 1993), also out of historically - oriented comparisons of the organisational structure of police of Nazi's Germany with Germany in the period of denacification under Western rule, and also out of comparison of police organisation in West and East Germany before and after the fall of Berlin wall in 1989. Possible organisational structures must be studied (vertical, line-staff, project and matrix organisational design) and at first some mix must be experimentally implemented (some combination of territorially organised general field-units and functionally organised supporting specialised units) . Also the new modes of doing police work (community oriented policing, community problem-solving) must be planned and evaluated (Goldstein, 1990). Special attention must be given to introduction of project work (for organisation of safety of various public meetings, for organisation of preventive and reactive actions on various fields and levels). Also the sufficient attention must be given to various fields of police operations (public order, traffic safety, crime prevention, classical and organised criminality et.), the social consensus (among political bodies, police managers and experts, human and social scientists and public opinion) must be achieved and relevant mix of resources (personnel, means -formal and material, time, money) must be determined and secured.

We must also study the requirements of particular jobs, from the view of work and relations at work (with clients, peers, subordinated and superiors). The limits to authority of rank and file and their superiors must be set (inner and outer organisational control, appropriate complaint procedures, peer review, police union, vocational and/or professional societies, parliamentary and other forms of control). The requirements of jobs aren't static, but dynamic. Here we must give enough endeavours to discern the routine and creative sides of particulars jobs (constable, criminalist, traffic police officer et.) and discern the key vocational and professional elements of police work. Also the police officer must understand, that in a democratic society in which individual liberty is highly prized, restraints must be placed on the officer if he is not to intentionally or not unintentionally to overstep his boundaries of action. It is not uncommon, for instance, for service institutions to become organisationally oriented instead of client oriented (Harris, 1973:27). The police officer must learn not only how to do under the authority, but also how think critically about authority.

At individual level we must discern between the narrow education (and training) for the immediate job (or organisational role) and the broader education (and training) for comprehensive development of individual, development of his (or her) attitudes, knowledge and skills, which he (or she) can creatively and successfully use in processes of problem-solving at work and in life generally.

At last but not at least we may pose the questions about education itself. Is it such that guarantees the reflection of its goals, means and results and that also enables creative inclusion of learners in the processes of decision-making why, what and how of their education.


Quick look at some research results from research projects realised in the period from 1989 to 1996 in CPSS show the discrepancy between declared democratic orientations (or aspirations) and reality. In 1989 it was found, on the basis of survey of graduated students of CPSS, that the majority (93,9% of included) missed in the study program the discussion of problems of (in that time non-existent) codex of police ethics (Fekonja&Mitar, 1991:125). This conclusion also, among other factors, contributed to the start of the project, which have later resulted in the acceptance of the Codex of Police Ethics (1992). In 1994 survey of students' attitudes about some characteristics of study program (Meško&Mitar 1996:19) showed, that the quality of program is at the best "average", that there are many things, which can be improved (poor material conditions, frontal teaching methods, authoritarian relationships of some teachers to students, poor library et.). Majority of students declared, that the acquaintance with the role of CPSS in our police was bad, similar opinion student had about the acquaintance with the aims of study program (program 1991). Specially interesting were the assessments of the characteristics of relationships between teachers and students. Opinion prevailed, that the most frequent type of usual relationship is authoritarian, next is laissez faire- laissez passer type of relationship.

The review of statements of goals in the official programs (1988, 1991, 1995) enables the next conclusions.

In the description of the wanted profile of graduate in the study program 1985 was declared, that educational program shapes the skilled expert, which is class-aware and devoted to socialist self-management. This written aim of police education in that period was practically realised through the authoritarian leadership of school. It was said before all teaching staff (first declared by the then Minister of Interior and repeated by the then dean in 1990), that the aim of the school must be formation of subordinated, obedient and guidable graduates. It was clear, that on the first place in that period were the goals of the hierarchical organisation, all other goals were more or less on the second place or neglected.

Study program 1991 described the knowledge and skills of profile of the graduate, but there was no explicit determination of educational aims. Here we can add some conclusions of pedagogical expert about "hidden curriculum" as opposed to official curriculum (Bergenhenegouwen, 1987:353). Hidden curriculum doesn't refer only to content of curriculum, but also denotes what is implied in the principles and organisation of education (e.g. the problem of order in class and group situations) and in the pattern of communication and interaction in school. Where explicit determination of goals is missing, there is the place for hidden curriculum (or the continuation of old practice of indoctrination).

Study program 1995 explicitly accepted the aims of the police education in accordance with the needs of pluralist democracy, but the contents of study and methods of teaching and all organisation of study weren't essentially changed. "The new" program was based on "old" experience-based approach, where more accent was given to reform of content of some subjects, but less attention to the program as a whole, which must be appropriately planned, co- ordinated and also evaluated by explicitly determined criteria. Here we must add the recognition (Kroflič, 1992:26), that there must be also coherence between wanted aims and immanent intents of chosen contents and methods, otherwise we can have a typical example of the study program, which have ideal aims, goals and objectives (the development of autonomous, critical and creative persons et.) but selected contents and pedagogical methods show the factography on the first place (Kroflič, 1992:26).


After six years of theoretical, empirical and practical work with the problems of improvement of curriculum, there are possible questions not only about the current state of curriculum, but also about where we want to go. Because the future has always several possibilities, here we can say, that the first is the continuation of the old policy of very slow steps toward improvements (so called incrementalism).

The second, maybe less possible in current circumstances (which is conditioned by the distribution of power inside and outside the school), is the change of old policy, the decision to explicitly define the aims and principles of education, then select one of the approaches to curriculum planning and evaluation (e.g. Lewy's or Kelly's model or some other mix) as relatively permanent approach to formative and summative evaluation. For realisation of this way the new organisational unit must be set, which has responsibility for the introduction of continuous work (in co-ordination with leading staff, cathedras, research-centres and administration) with the problems of curriculum planning and evaluation and also for the introduction of continuous work with the problems of evaluation of research projects (in co- ordination with research centres). There are also possible some other functions of this unit (counselling to students and younger assistants about learning and teaching styles et.). This organisational unit was proposed (Mitar, 1994:93) as unit for analyses and development of CPSS, but until now prevailed the old way of doing work.

Besides the previously proposed changes (introduction of planned approach and new organisational unit) there must not be neglected some questions about the content of curriculum (Should the curriculum offer training or education; should education be specialised or general; is there a sufficient knowledge base for specialised education; which skills should be taught; should police work or police management topics dominate; how should values be treated; is "criminal justice" the most useful disciplinary framework for police education; what level of conceptual abstraction is most appropriate; should students be educated for present or future jobs and should decisions be based on consumer demand or educational judgement et.).

Here we can consider the conclusions of so called "Sherman report" (Sherman & the National Advisory Commission on Higher Education for Police Officers, 1978) to the Police Foundation, which are based upon a critical review of 1.070 various curriculums for police officers and which gives 37 recommendations with regard to purposes of higher education of police officers (fostering basic change in policing), quality of police education (curriculum, policy of colleges and faculties, status of students), changes in the police organisation and at last but not least proposed the changes of police education.

Although there are many differences, which don't enable blind or mechanical imitation of American experiences, we must seriously discuss them. Besides the purposes of police education, we must discuss the recommendations for improvement of curriculum Sherman et all.,1978:3-5):

  1. All college programs focusing on issues in policing and criminal justice should provide a broad education that is useful for many careers and for living through an uncertain future.
  2. The required number of specialised courses in police and criminal justice in any police education program should not exceed one fourth of the total course work for a degree.
  3. Police education programs that offer vocational training courses (courses that train students to perform specific police tasks) should replace those courses with more analytical and conceptual courses on issues related to those tasks.
  4. Police education programs at the undergraduate level should give greater emphasis to the major issues in doing police work and less emphasis to issues of police management and supervision.
  5. Every police education program should include in its required curriculum a thorough consideration of the value choices and ethical dilemmas of police work.
  6. Police education programs using a "criminal justice system" framework for their required curriculum should also include comprehensive treatment of the most commonly performed police work, which fall outside of the criminal justice system.
  7. College courses on policing should be continually revised to reflect and incorporate the rapidly growing body of research findings on police behaviour.
  8. The U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (or any successor organisation) should establish a research program on relationships between different college curriculums and both the individual performance of college-educated police-officers and the organisational performance of the departments they serve.

Due attention must be given also to the several recommendations for changes of policy of police, especially was emphasised the importance of personnel policy and management ("Police departments should place less emphasis on educating the recruited and more emphasis on recruiting the educated. The organisation, policies, and practices of police departments should be modified to make better use of educated personnel.") and also introduction of appropriate organisational design of police agency ("Police departments should conduct properly evaluated experiments with new organisational designs more appropriate for college-educated personnel.").

At last but not least there are also important recommendations for changing police education, among them we must seriously reconsider the proposal that (1) Police education faculty members should seek more control over academic decisions in order to promote the objective of educating the police institution for change and that (2) College administrators should strengthen police education as a force for change, especially by protecting police education programs from the pressures of local agencies.


No matter how high the quality of police education, education alone cannot change the police (Sherman, 1978:2). New organisational designs, better management, and community leadership are also necessary conditions of change. The potential contribution of higher education to police work will not be realised until police department policies generally treat education as a resource rather than a threat.

One of the possible approach to change the police in accordance with the needs of pluralist democracy is to give the support to the process of profesionalizaiton of police with relevant (fundamental and applied) research and education endeavours (general and specialised educational programs). The process of professionalization must be studied from the view of individual (knowledge, skills, attitudes, values,...), from the view of form of police organisation (centralisation-decentralisation, the role of project work et.) and from the view of role of the police in the society (controlled used of police powers on various levels and fields of activity). This doesn't suppose the glorification of professionalization (without regards to possible limitations and shortcomings), but stresses the importance of social division of labour also for police work (for the improvement of quality of police work) without ignoring the problems of co-ordination (territorially and functionally) of police work and problems of control over police work. With the support of professsionalization of police work CPSS can become an initiator and catalysator of change of police work and organisation, because the process of professionalization results in a questioning of current organisational structure (Dale, 1994:213), which is vertical (Pečar, 1990, 1993). The best way to educate the police institution for change is to develop the capacity of the police to use knowledge to solve problems. The art of using knowledge includes the habits of working with written and spoken ideas, computational tools, and information gathered from many resources to produce and test new conclusions (Sherman et all., 1978:1).

This step for CPSS isn't easy, because there are seldom simple solutions of complex problems, what the police work and police education undoubtedly are. But this cannot be excuse for waiting, but must be motivation for CPSS (for younger and younger in their heart and mind) to seek and possibly find (or create) viable solutions (although in inconvenient circumstances). At last we must not forget, that (Sherman, 1978:194) in order to change the police through higher education, police education must itself be changed.


  1. Ideas and views presented in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the oficial position of CPSS (College of Police and Security Studies).

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