The reality of being a police officer

Victoria Herrington, Philip Birch

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This volume has explored academic thought and practitioner experience on a range of topics important to the new or young in-service police officer. The chapters draw together the expertise of and discussion in the academic and practical policing worlds. Each of the chapters has given the reader an appreciation of the theoretical grounding behind much of what police do, while the end-of-chapter practitioner reflections illustrate how such theory is applied in the real policing world. It would be naive, of course, to argue that reading and study is any substitute for practical experience, which is one reason why police officers have a probationary period to learn on the job. A probationer may be an excellent student, but the reality of policing is far removed from study; for example, reading about or role playing being faced with an aggressive and potentially dangerous member of the public and trying to effectively communicate with them, does not compare with the real thing. It is important, then, in concluding this volume, to try to fast forward the reader to the reality of policing once in the field. This is the aim of this chapter, which draws on the experience of four senior police officers of superintendent rank or above, serving with either a state or federal force. These officers-who have had 128 years' policing experience between them-were asked to reflect on their careers in the job, and share the lessons learnt along the way and the advice they wish they had received as they moved from the academy to policing for realY
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicing in practice
EditorsPhilip Birch, Victoria Herrington
Place of PublicationSouth Yarra
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781420256468
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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