© 2017

Police Socialisation, Identity and Culture

Becoming Blue


  • Adds significant depth to academic and professional discussions of police culture

  • Focuses on understanding the culture of police organisation changes during austerity

  • Investigates the important influences in shaping police officers’ beliefs, attitudes and values about the nature of their job


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Sarah Charman
    Pages 1-10
  3. Interpreting Police Socialisation, Identity and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Sarah Charman
      Pages 39-61
    3. Sarah Charman
      Pages 63-90
    4. Sarah Charman
      Pages 127-167
  4. Researching Police Socialisation, Identity and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 169-169
    2. Sarah Charman
      Pages 171-187
    3. Sarah Charman
      Pages 223-250
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 345-387

About this book


This book reinvigorates the debate about the origins and development of police culture within our changing social, economic and political landscape. An in-depth analysis and appreciation of the literature surrounding police socialisation, identity and culture is combined with a comprehensive four-year longitudinal study of new recruits to a police force in England. The result offers new insights into the development of, and influences upon, new police recruits who refer to themselves as a “new breed” of police officer. Adding significantly to the police culture literature, this original and empirically based research also provides valuable insights into the challenges of modern policing in an age of austerity. Scholars of policing and criminal justice, as well as police officers themselves will find this compelling reading.


Organizations Organizational change Criminology Criminal Justice Policing Police Officer Police Reform Austerity Police recruits Budget cuts

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of PortsmouthPortsmouthUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Sarah Charman is Reader in Criminology at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, UK.

Bibliographic information


“Charman has produced an impressive book on the early years of new police officers - motivated to make a difference - which is well researched, interesting and opportune. She traces their development encountering a demanding profession and an institution in flux. They enjoy the work and camaraderie but face the dilemmas of front-line policing in a dangerously under resourced institution: they are constantly stretched and miss back up while around them is frustration, stress and demoralization. This book deserves a wide reading from students, academics and serving officers but especially - before the wheel seriously comes off - by policy makers and politicians.” (Maurice Punch, Senior Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics, UK)

“What is known as police culture has long been seen as immutable, unchanging and reactionary. This notion, hung on ideas from some fifty years ago and often repeated, is challenged here with new and imaginative research. Change is emergent in data drawn from a four year panel study of English constables. Worried about their job security, troubled by dealing with missing persons and the mentally ill, they remain committed to communication as their tool; compassion and empathy as their guiding stars, and somewhat dubious about “law enforcement” as their primary mandate. The work suggests that “police culture” is more a loose configuration of ideas than a thing. This is an important, well-written and argued book.” (Peter K. Manning, Elmer V.H, and Eileen M. Brooks Professor of Criminal justice and Criminology, Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

“Analysing data from a four year longitudinal study in which quantitative and qualitative data were gathered, Sarah Charman has charted the socialisation of police officers in an English constabulary.  New insights into their understandings of policing and key questions about the resistance of the occupational culture to change are explained clearly.  This is a mu

ch needed book that will be acknowledged by criminology’s research community and take a prominent place on student reading lists.” (Simon Holdaway, Professor of Criminology, Nottingham Trent University and Professor Emeritus of Criminology and Sociology, The University of Sheffield, UK)