Canadian police officers are dedicated to improving their level of professionalism in order to provide top-notch service to the people they serve in their communities, according to results of a groundbreaking national study by two Carleton professors released today.
The report, called Professionalism in Policing, was written by Stephen Maguire and Lorraine Dyke alongside the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). The three-year policing study is the first of its kind in the world and examines what drives professionalism within Canadian police services. The report includes a survey of more than 10,000 respondents from 31 forces across Canada.
“Police have a lot of discretionary judgment when it comes to choosing how to react on the ground,” said Maguire, acting director of the Centre on Values and Ethics. “No one has ever looked at what engages the front line nor have they identified what are the drivers of what makes cops act they way they do.”
The study aimed to uncover factors driving professionalism, and then attempted to answer the question of how to shape and influence the culture of an organization. The survey asked respondents to rate their work environment and conditions, decision-making, supervision, management and community engagement, as well as support, communication and training.
“There are three take-home messages for senior managers,” said professor Lorraine Dyke, director of the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work at Carleton’s School of Business. “First, that organizations need to demonstrate great support for employees. Secondly, that the basis for decision-making needs to be clarified and ethical considerations need to be explicit. Third, that communication is critical – enhancing two-way communication between managers and employees will pay long-term dividends.”
Based on the findings of the survey, interviews and a wide-literature review, 52 recommendations were made.
“This isn’t a study that any private-sector company would undertake because it takes a hard look at leadership,” said Maguire. “It asks some hard questions. And the answers will lead to better policing.”
Key recommendations in the report include:
- Developing a program for managing ethics
- Setting standards to guide discretionary judgment
- Developing in-house ethics expertise and interactive ethics training sessions
- Providing more professional development
- Providing more support for the front-line officers and timely training for supervisors
For the full list of recommendations, visit: www.cacp.ca/index/news.
For more information:
Acting Director, Centre on Values and Ethics
Associate Professor of Management and Strategy, Sprott School of Business
Director of the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work
613-520-2600, ext. 8718