From legalist to Dirty Harry: Police recruits’ attitudes towards non-legalistic police practice
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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This study provides a test of the presumption that police recruits with a diverse background, undertaking comparatively long academic training, will refrain from non-legalistic practices. This is tested by longitudinal survey data, covering two cohorts of Swedish police recruits. The results show stable support for the legalistic perspective during academy training. However, during on-the-job training, the recruits become more positive towards non-legalistic practices. This reorientation takes place quite irrespective of the type of duty to which they are assigned. Additionally, neither the recruits’ nor their parents’ level of education seems to matter. There is some effect of age and gender; young male recruits are somewhat more prone to adopt Dirty Harry-inspired measures—that is, achieving essential ends by tarnished means.
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