How to increase female representation in specialist tactical roles

This research will explore the lack of representation by females in certain policing roles within the Police Service of Northern Ireland and consider ways in which the balance might be redressed.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Ashleigh Bennett
Police region
South East
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

Within the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) significant effort has been made to address diversity and inclusion. However there are still some areas of policing that are traditionally viewed as ‘masculine’ and ‘male dominated’.

Roles such as specialist firearms and specialist tactics roles remain significantly under-represented by females.

What works to increase female representation within specialist tactical roles?

  1. Explore the reasons why females are not applying to specialist tactical roles.
  2. Conduct literature review to explore the issue and establish what has worked in other specialisms or organisations.
  3. Identify potential solutions to address the issues.
  4. Apply the solutions to future selection processes.
  5. Evaluate which interventions are effective in increasing the number of successful female in role.

Research methodology

The research will gather both quantitative and qualitative data to ensure a more complete and comprehensive exploration of the research area. It is intended that corroboration between the quantitative and qualitative data will ensure the validity of the data.

Qualitative methods

  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Observation
  • Case studies

Quantitative methods

  • Measures in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions
  • Surveys and questionnaires
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