Diversity within police forces: a framework for comprehensive policy analysis

by Anne R. van Ewijk

Working Papers WP 10-12
September 2010
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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The police are a special public institution to study with regard to diversity: although in theory every officer can become police chief, empirical data on police forces in Europe shows that the level of diversity (in terms of gender, migrant background, and sexual orientation) is not representative of society upon entry into the force, and diminishes as rank increases. Academic literature indicates internal factors as the cause, but also as the main anchor points to improve this relation. Thus, it is important to study organisational diversity policies. However, this field of study contains some serious gaps. First, comprehensive studies are scarce: most publications focus on only one or two of three important policy areas (recruitment, promotion and retention). Second, comparative studies are rare, although these provide the necessary information to formulate new hypotheses. This article presents a framework of policy areas, types and measures to study and compare diversity policies within police forces in a comprehensive way.

Key words: police, diversity, diversity policy, organisation, HRM, framework

Anne R. van Ewijk obtained a MSc in Public Management (Radboud University,
Nijmegen - cum laude) and a MSc in Public Safety Governance (Universiteit Twente, Enschede) and is currently researcher with the GRITIM (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), research partner for the MPI-MMG, and consultant on cultural change for &samhoud (www.samhoud.com).