Professional policing and the role of autonomy and discretion in decision-making: A qualitative study from a virtue ethical perspective

Andrew Maile, Sarah Ritzenthaler, Aidan Thompson, Kristján Kristjánsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

621 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Within an overarching identified construct of ‘autonomy and discretion’, this paper uses four themes to discuss how 30 interviewed UK police officers respond to challenging, ethically charged situations and what frameworks guide and structure their decision-making. These themes, elicited through qualitative thematic analysis, are personal judgement, doing the right thing, effective and adaptive communication, and emotional regulation. The relevance of these themes is discussed in the context of police professionalization and the Code of Ethics in England and Wales. The findings illustrate that the professional autonomy of police officers, when grounded in virtue ethics rather than more formulaic deontology, supports morally good policing and safeguards police legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberpaac086
JournalPolicing: A journal of Policy and Practice
Early online date26 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Professional policing and the role of autonomy and discretion in decision-making: A qualitative study from a virtue ethical perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this