The experiences and morale of Metropolitan Special Constables. an analysis of the factors associated with volunteer officer job motivation and retention
Prins, J. 2018. The experiences and morale of Metropolitan Special Constables. an analysis of the factors associated with volunteer officer job motivation and retention. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences
Special constables have a long established history within British policing. Today, they hold full police powers and are an important part of the police workforce across all areas in England and Wales. The Metropolitan Special Constabulary (MSC) is the largest in the country. One in four special constables nationally belong to the MSC and in 2015 they provided London with over half a million policing hours. Since 2012, the number of special constables in the MSC has fallen by 40 per cent. Despite their longevity, special constabularies are under researched and the factors associated with volunteer officer motivation and retention are pooly understood. In spite of the high levels of attrition, successive governments have promoted the benefits of special constabularies in terms of increasing legitimacy, fostering responsibilisation, and reducing costs, and encouraged forces to run regular recruitment campaigns to boost the size and capability of their special constabularies.
This study uses qualitative interviewing to explore the experiences and motivations of current and former MSC officers and to understand the factors that impact upon retention. The thesis uses Clary et al.‘s (1998) functional multifactor model of volunteer motivation, widely accepted in the volunteer field, as a lens through which to analyse the results. The study highlights varying degrees of satisfaction with being a special constable and suggests that training, deployment, integration and recognition are all important factors in the morale of special constables and their commitment to further service. The study suggests that functional motivational principles are not being applied to the special constabulary. The thesis concludes by making a number of recommendations to the Metropolitan Police Service to assist in improving the morale and retention of MSC officers.
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|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||03 Jan 2019|
|Accepted author manuscript|
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