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Police culture in a diverse society: provincial police force in transition?

Loftus, Bethan

Police culture in a diverse society: provincial police force in transition? Thumbnail


Bethan Loftus


Ian Loader


This thesis is an ethnographic investigation into the occupational value systems and practices of contemporary police officers in a provincial English police force. Situated in the local context of Staffordshire Police, the thesis revisits the notion of ‘police culture’ in the light of recent changes to the social, economic, political and organisational context of policing in Britain. Drawing on direct observation of operational police work across two contrasting policing areas, the thesis tracks the narrative of Staffordshire Police as it has attempted to effect cultural change, in respect to improving both the working conditions of personnel inside the organisation and the delivery of an effective and equitable service to the various ‘publics’ outside the organisation. The thesis identifies a number of new features of police culture which have, hitherto, gone unnoticed. In particular, the thesis provides a principal insight into how contemporary police officers have responded to a new policing environment in which respect for diversity and recognition of cultural and gendered identities has become salient. It is demonstrated that the altered policing realities have transformed police culture in some important ways. However, the way in which officers have responded to the new policing landscape is neither universal nor uniform. While aspects of police culture are sensitive to the reorganisations which have taken place in the national and local context of British policing, it is illustrated that the persistence of entrenched ways of thinking and behaving serve to challenge efforts to reform the police. With these contrasting responses in mind, the thesis concludes that the story of contemporary police culture is one of both change and continuity.


Loftus, B. (2007). Police culture in a diverse society: provincial police force in transition?. (Thesis). Keele University. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 12, 2024
Public URL
Additional Information School of Criminology, Education, Sociology and Social Work.
Award Date 2007


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