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Policing as a Virtue; Moral Alignment and Legitimacy

Manning, Mark L (2020) Policing as a Virtue; Moral Alignment and Legitimacy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis presents the findings from narrative analysis of oral history interviews with 16 participants, retired and serving police officers, who joined the police service between 1965 and 2015. Informed by a theoretical and analytical framework of virtue ethics - formulated by MacIntyre (2012), the interviews sought to gain a greater understanding of the participants’ perceptions concerning moral alignment, legitimacy and the practice of virtues in support of morally good policing. The narratives revealed how 11 of the 16 participants regarded their authority, power and legitimacy to derive from the rule of law, their oath of allegiance to the Queen and from the constitutional significance of the ‘Office of Constable’. This perception was, to an extent, inconsistent with the wide body of literature concerning procedural justice and legitimacy. However, analysis also revealed a number of narrative insights from the participants’ childhood and early years and the development of virtues which motivated, aided or frustrated them in their quest to deliver morally good policing. These included the influence of religion on heightening understanding of community; justice and injustice; discretion; and mixed outcomes from procedural justice encounters. The narratives also revealed how the advent of policing risk, coupled with policies which reduce discretion, have resulted in a remote understanding of policing communities and a confused understanding of policing by consent.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Mark Manning
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2020 13:40
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2020 13:40
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27356

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