Sector Well-Being Differences Among UK Police Custody Staff

Robert Werner-de-Sondberg, Maria Karanika-Murray, Thomas Baguley, Nicholas Blagden

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Abstract

The research explores a new model of staff well-being across UK police custodial services (public and private). These services are unique for the fact that police sergeant custody officers are supported by detention officers who can be publicly or privately contracted, with the latter providing a heterogeneous mix never previously researched. The model informs a survey approach conducted across four English police forces. Drawing on a diverse literature which compares health and criminal justice professions, this study explores the possibility that private sector detention officers will report lower levels of emotional exhaustion and workplace stress and higher levels of personal accomplishment than their public sector counterparts. Multilevel analyses, supplemented by ANOVA and t tests, detected statistically significant differences for private sector detention officers regarding higher levels of emotional exhaustion and lower levels of personal accomplishment and workplace stress (with the stress result the only one in the predicted direction). However, results should be interpreted as sample specific linked to privately contracted detention officer disquiet with their then employer (since replaced). That said, the results provide a good exploration of the model’s utility together with important lessons for model and survey development in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume33
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Keywords

  • Criminal justice (police custody and prison corrections)
  • Employee well-being
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Organizational culture and climate
  • Public and private sectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Law

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