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Title: Beyond cop culture : the cultural challenge of civilian intelligence analysis in Scottish policing
Author: Atkinson, Colin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 5113
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2013
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The central contention of this thesis, and its original contribution to the subject area, is that the recent development of civilian intelligence analysis in Scottish policing presents a challenge to an otherwise hegemonic ‘cop culture’ in police intelligence work. In advancing this argument this thesis develops the existing literature by recognising that academic research to date on ‘police culture’ has focused almost exclusively on the cultures of sworn police officers, and particularly those ‘cops’ engaged in ‘frontline’ policing. Civilian police staff groups have been excluded from existing cultural accounts, despite their long-established position in many police forces, particularly those in Scotland. Drawing upon five years of qualitative sociological fieldwork, and taking inspiration from the theory and research of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this thesis highlights how civilian intelligence analysts – as office-based, young, predominantly female and embodying a new ‘academic’ knowledge that is divorced from experience – have become increasingly essential to the effective functioning of intelligence-led policing. The integration of civilian intelligence analysis into police intelligence work in Scotland, however, is inhibited by the persistent hegemony of a cop culture that privileges masculinity, physicality, solidarity, cynicism and, above all, the experiential knowledge that the ‘crime-fighting’ cop has gained from policing ‘the streets’. The cultural challenge of civilian intelligence analysis, emerging from within wider processes of civilianisation and pluralisation, has provoked a patriarchal response from police officers. This response is characterised by masculine domination and the exertion of symbolic violence within the wider ideological construction of the ‘police family’. This patriarchal response has also contributed to the infantilisation of the intelligence analyst in Scottish policing, as a concomitant form of cultural control. The interplay of these processes of cultural challenge and control contributes to a phenomenon of cultural dissonance – a sense of difference, discord and disharmony – between police officers and intelligence analysts. This cultural dissonance is sustained in everyday practice through the perpetuation and persistence of a ‘them and us’ culture between these groups. This thesis concludes by exploring the future of intelligence analysis in the context of profound and on-going organisational reform, and in doing so identifies recent processes of de-civilianisation in Scottish policing. Although intelligence analysis has remained relatively insulated from de-civilianisation to date, fieldwork disclosed how there has emerged disquiet about the potential diversification of the intelligence analyst role and concern for the future position of the intelligence analyst in Scottish policing as it enters a new phase in its distinctive development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology