Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

History of Police Unions

  • Joanne Klein
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_463



Giving police officers a voice within police organizations raised vexing questions. In many nations, police officers were to “police by mutual consent” with the public but often did not experience mutual confidence between senior officers and the rank and file. They needed a satisfactory outlet for their grievances, an advocate to protect their interests, and input into their occupation. A union could hinder arbitrary power from above, but authorities worried that unions undermined the organization. However, officers without an authorized union worked at the mercy of superior authorities and were more prone to strike.

The earliest organizing efforts in nineteenth-century Europe, America, and Australia aimed not only at pay, pensions, and regular days off, but also at the “right to confer.” They insisted that officers had the right to be consulted by police authorities on policy and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA