Police Education Past and Present: Perceptions of Australian Police Managers and Academics
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In an effort to modernise police organisations and professionalise policing, it is becoming increasingly common for police today to obtain formal university qualifications. Within the Australian context, the National Police Professionalism Implementation Advisory Committee (NPPIAC) recommended in 1990 that police pursue full professional status reflecting national education standards underpinned by university qualifications. This paper explores, from a national perspective, key stakeholders’ perceptions about police university education and professionalism. Forty in-depth interviews were carried out with police managers and academics occupying pivotal positions in police education from across Australia. Both police managers and academics had generally favourable views towards university education for police and working together in the delivery of policing courses. However, in contrast to the NPPIAC recommendations, perspectives about the professional status of police and the actual role of university education in police organisations, differed. In addition, there were a variety of views about imposing mandatory requirements on police to complete university courses. This paper is part of a larger study into university education for police managers and presents the preliminary findings of one phase of the study.