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Diversity and inclusion within police firearms teams

Cox, C, Panter, HA, James, A, Boulton, L, Hagan, R, Craven, J and Silverstone, DM (2023) Diversity and inclusion within police firearms teams. Project Report. Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool.

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Seeking to better understand the underrepresentation of minority groups and to encourage more female officers to consider joining firearms teams, the Diversity and Inclusion in Firearms National Group (DIFAG) of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) commissioned a Liverpool John Moores University research team to examine: (i) cultural perceptions of armed units; (ii) the ways in which those perceptions impact diversity within firearms roles; (iii) barriers to recruitment to firearm roles; and (iv) the extent to which issues associated with uniforms, equipment, or training have an impact on achieving an inclusive and representative armed workforce. The research team framed those requirements in the research question, ‘Why are minority groups underrepresented in police firearms teams'? The team collected research data in three ways. First, via a comprehensive review of relevant literature. Second, using an online survey, advertised across the PSEW and other police forces/agencies with armed officer capability, to collect officers’ views and experiences. Third, via focus groups that allowed the team to engage with AFOs and to delve deeper into the survey responses. All data were sorted and coded to enable them to be analysed thematically. The study found that a high proportion of the sworn police workforce would never, under ordinary circumstances, consider joining a firearms team. Realistically, the pool from which firearms teams can draw, probably is less than half the size of the operational police workforce. AFOs, believe they deserve greater financial rewards for performing the role. A particular concern for Female AFOs. Many have had or are still having to make do with ‘hand me downs’ or Male kit and uniform that does not meet their needs. This is not just a performance issue; it is a matter of officer safety and well-being. It also is a negative indicator of the value a force puts on a member of its staff. Female AFOs left or did not consider applying for the role because they could not reconcile performing it with fulfilling their family or caring responsibilities. Macho culture is endemic in firearms teams. It has a corrosive effect on the team dynamic; on relations between Male AFOs and AFOs who identify with other groups; and on relations between the teams and officers in mainstream policing. There is an urgent need both for cultural and behavioural change in the firearms environment.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Firearms; Police; Police culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV7231 Criminal Justice Administrations
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV7231 Criminal Justice Administrations > HV7551 Police. Detectives. Constabulary
Divisions: Justice Studies (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Liverpool John Moores University
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2023 16:38
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2023 16:38
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19429
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