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Does Higher Education Affect Perceptions Among Police Personnel?: A Response From India

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 25 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2009 Pages: 214-236
Julia Scott; Doug Evans; Arvind Verma
Date Published
May 2009
23 pages
This study examined whether police in India with a higher education differed from police without it in terms of their perceptions of their role, work values, stress, and management issues.
The findings indicate that higher education in itself does not produce more desirable work attitudes and performance. Indeed, officers with a higher education were apparently more rigid and less idealistic in their attitudes. They were less likely to be effective in the enforcement of law, resolving disputes, and protecting citizens’ rights. Officers with more education apparently questioned departmental rules and regulations and were more likely to experience frustration and cynicism in their work. Officers with higher education reacted more intensely to being maligned in the media and being disrespected by citizens. Moreover, they tended to blame agency management for not improving work conditions. Although higher education may not improve the work attitudes of police officers, the findings suggest that such officers may become instigators of reform in police agencies out of frustration with existing policies and organizational structure. The study does not recommend making higher education a mandatory requirement, since this would exclude many qualified and motivated individuals without a college degree and also increase police salary costs. The study sample was drawn from Delhi police agencies. A total of 1,300 questionnaires were distributed by mail to police personnel in Delhi. Stratified random sampling took into account all the police units and ranks up to deputy superintendent of police. Of the questionnaires mailed out, 73.6 percent (n=957) were completed and returned. Regarding education, respondents were categorized as having at least a high-school education (the majority of respondents) and as having postsecondary education. The two groups were compared on their perceptions of and attitudes toward the police role, working values, stress, and management issues. 2 tables, 44 references, and appended questionnaire


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