How does joining the police affect a candidate's social identity and social network?

This project aims to identify how joining the police affects a person's identity, social network and both physical and mental health.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Gareth Stubbs
Police region
South East
Collaboration and partnership

Lancashire Constabulary.

Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

A research project undertaken in Lancashire indicated that prospective police recruits who know police officers were more successful in the recruitment process. This PhD research has been designed to gain some understanding of the reasons for this.

When recruits join the police, there is a period of assimilation as they 'become' police. This period may affect social networks and social support frameworks that they have previously relied on. What does this change look like, and what does it mean for police recruitment, their wellbeing, and their identities?

Research methodology

This research will follow a cohort of recruits through their probationary period. It will map their social networks, and the level of contact with them, together with indicators of identity change, and physical and mental health.

The tools will be drawn from social psychology (adapted SONAR Survey) and have previously been used in the analysis of identity change in therapeutic communities during addiction rehabilitation.

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