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Study of Cadets' Motivation to Become Police Officers in China

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 11 Issue: 3 Dated: Autumn 2009 Pages: 377-392
Yuning Wu; Ivan Y. Sun; Michael A. Cretacci
Date Published
16 pages
Using survey data collected from cadets in a Chinese police college, this study examined the cadet characteristics, the factors that motivated them to choose the police profession, and the link between personal characteristics and motivations to join the force.
Most of those in the cadet sample of 182 were young single men from middle-class families. They were likely to have some college education, but their parents typically attained a lower educational level. Motivations for joining the force included job security and benefits, the opportunity to help people, the desire to enforce the law, and parental influence. The cadets' background characteristics were weak predictors of their motivation for joining the force. The nature of the current police education system in China may contribute to the attraction of a young cadet population with no work experience. The system is characterized as the "degree education" in which high school graduates are admitted into undergraduate programs in police universities and colleges. Upon completion of 4 or 3 years of study, they are awarded associate's or bachelor's degrees. Apparently, the undergraduate degree education will continue, but Chinese police colleges and universities are now encouraged to recruit more police officers from college graduates as well as military personnel instead of primarily high school students. Parental influence to go into policing was especially strong, since the authority of parents in China is very important, providing a cultural pressure for children to follow their parents' wishes in making major decisions. Data used in this research were collected from cadets attending a prominent police college in an eastern Province. Survey data were collected between December 2007 and January 2008. The questionnaire contained 63 structured questions designed to obtain information on the issues targeted by the study. 5 tables and 29 references