Becoming a Police Academic: Practitioner to Educator

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

266 Downloads (Pure)


This research was the first of its kind to explore the lived experience of police
practitioners that transition to academia in the United Kingdom and Australia. A
significant context for this process of transition and for the research was the
professionalisation of policing. The push towards the transformation of the status and practice of the occupation of policing into a profession has necessitated a greater engagement between policing and higher education, with some entry-level and professional development programmes for policing moving to the higher education sector. Policing is therefore a relatively new area of study within universities and has yet to be legitimised as an academic discipline or a fully acknowledged profession through the process of professionalisation.

The inclusion of policing within higher education has necessitated universities to recruit police practitioners to transition to employment in higher education as part of the academic workforce. They are required to develop and deliver professional and practice-based education university programmes for policing. To date, this career pathway has tended to be haphazard and problematic. Although police academics face many of the challenges encountered by other occupational groups in transition into university employment, the experiences of police academics are unique and multifaceted, and are compounded by the contextual issues involved in the complicated marriage between policing and higher education.

This research examines the transition of police practitioners into academia from the perspective of those people that have undertaken this process. In order to illuminate the lived experience of transition for ‘police academics’ situated within their specific cultures and contexts, a research approach was specifically developed that blended aspects of hermeneutic phenomenology and ethnography. The research identified that the transition experiences for these practitioners are unique and personal and yet there are core themes across these experiences that illuminate a deeper understanding of practitioner transition. This research makes a significant contribution to knowledge of policing higher education and the experiences and needs of those who provide this education. It presents a framework for scaffolding and enhancing the transition of police
practitioners into academia. This framework has implications for both policing and higher education to develop strategies for the future (including recruitment, induction and professional development) for how best to scaffold the transition of police practitioner into academia. Pursuit of these recommendations is of key importance to the enhancement of policing higher education, to the quality of professional experiences of policing academics and to the consequent education of future generations of police personnel through university programs. Implications for future research are presented.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Higgs, Joy, Co-Supervisor
Award date01 Jun 2016
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Becoming a Police Academic: Practitioner to Educator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this