Well-Being of Police Custody Staff: A Multi-Strategy Approach Across Seven Police Forces.

Research output: Thesis (awarded by external institution)Doctoral Thesis


British police custody is one of the most challenging of police environments, with the treatment of prisoners a source of public and media concern, especially regarding deaths in police custody; and where every action by staff is recorded audibly and visually. These kinds of issues threaten staff well-being (measured as role well-being, low workplace stress, mental and subjective well-being, energy and engagement). To address these issues, the study targeted five roles of custody inspector/sergeant, detention officer (public and private) and custody officer assistant in a four-wave panel survey of seven English police forces (with each separated by a lag of five months). Study engagement was 333 (a response rate of 46.57%) across 33 custody sites which, together with repeated returns, provided a quantitative data set of 370. In addition, self-report open comments at the end of surveys and other communications, numbered 178 (i.e. 131 from the current study and 47 from earlier custody-related research). This provided the study with an original multi-strategy approach that was:

1) Quantitative. Informed by an expanded version of a model first introduced in Werner-de-Sondberg et al. (2018); instrumental in identifying cultural subcomponent tensions, influential mediator and moderator relationships, contrasting role well-being and negatively affective vulnerabilities;

2) Qualitative. Conducted as a thematic analysis of self-report open (survey) comments and other communications, where quantitative results were explained deductively and inductively; and

3) Quantitative and qualitative. Where a single (embedded) case study identified eight propositions to be supported or rejected regarding: police custody (officer and police staff) vulnerability/ability to cope; status of custody; staffing levels; ITS inadequacies; large new-build custody sites; twelve hour shifts and private sector outsourcing. In addition, a multiple case study identified five synthesised cross cases in terms of similarity and difference. The study concluded by discussing a range of issues: theoretical; methodological; reflexive; practical; and future focused.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Karanika-Murray, Maria, Supervisor, External person
  • Baguley, Thomas, Supervisor, External person
  • Blagden, Nicholas, Supervisor, External person
Award date28 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020


  • UK police custody; well-being; organisation culture and climate; multilevel analysis


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