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.
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- 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