Rethinking recruitment in policing in Australia: Can the continued use of masculinised recruitment tests and pass standards that limit the number of women be justified?

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Abstract

The representation of women in policing has come a long way but still has a long road to travel before women equal the representation of men. The masculinisation of policing and the emphasis on masculine attributes and skills such as strength, physical performance and agility in the recruitment process, disadvantage women and serve to limit the numbers of women in the policing profession. There is much debate about how relevant the physical requirements are to the job of policing which is primarily sedentary in nature and rarely involves the type of physical exertion that is focused on in recruitment. The skills that are most often called on in modern policing are communication, conflict resolution, and referral, which are skills that women tend to have a greater aptitude for but these skills are given little attention in the selection process. This paper analyses and discusses the physical performance and agility tests that are used to select officers and argues that these are unnecessary and unrelated to the modern policing role. It is recommended that an objective review of recruitment requirements are undertaken by police departments as part of their strategy to increase the representation of women in policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-56
Number of pages23
JournalSalus Journal
Volume3
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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