An exploratory international comparison of professional confidence in volunteer policing

Ross Wolf, Ian Pepper, Adam Dobrin

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    Police volunteers are an important asset to communities and policing agencies, but have been relatively understudied in academic literature. Similar models of police volunteers have developed in the United States and the United Kingdom, but differ in the level of their operational preparedness and training. Across England and Wales standardized policies have been established which govern the recruitment, training, and deployment of volunteer police officers, but in the United States there has been consistent resistance from local governments to develop national standards for reserve and auxiliary police. This current study examines the confidence of volunteer police officers serving in two police forces, one within the North East of England, and one within central Florida. The study utilizes vignettes to describe realistic situations that might be encountered by volunteer police on patrol in either country, and asked respondents to report their confidence within the scenario to perform certain functions based upon aspects drawn from the National Occupational Standards (NOS) expected of a regular police officer across the UK. Results of the study show that while both groups of volunteer officers in the study are confident in their professional abilities to handle issues at a policing scene, differences in training may have resulted in UK volunteer officers feeling less confident about interviewing and administrative paperwork skills than their US counterparts. This paper adds to the very limited literature about volunteer policing and identifies recommendations in relation to volunteer officer training and confidence to perform certain functions of their policing roles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)-
    JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2016


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