Does Higher Education Police Training Make a Difference in the Field?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:48
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Pal WINNAESS, Norwegian Police University College, Norway
Norwegian police education provides the academic degree of bachelor, and several other countries are now looking to Norway when reforming their police educations. Denmark, and possibly soon Sweden, has now remodeled their police education, partly by inspiration from Norway. The Norwegian police education system is therefore an interesting case in the examination of modern day police education and policing.

An expectation when settling police education in a higher education context has been to make use of academic, research based knowledge both to create a more efficient police force and to get a more reflective and democratic aware police. The proposed paper examines the extent to which these expectations, or rather ideals, hold water in meeting the reality of police training in-the field. An adequate question will then be: Does higher education police training make a difference on the beat? And vice versa: how does in-the-field-training live up to the standards of the curriculum?

Traditionally, studies of both police students’ and police officers’ attitudes characterize them as anti-academic (among other characterizations). Do modern Norwegian police students’ actions and attitudes differ qualitatively from this, in the way that they embrace academic, research based knowledge and do the curriculum rub off so as their way of policing are characterized by this “new” paradigm. Data for the study has been collected from in-depth interviews with 35 police students (4 times over 3 years) and from a fieldwork, following, as an observer, 6 of the 35 informants in their on-the-field training doing patrol work.