Perceptions of armed policing: barriers and motivations to becoming an eAuthorised Firearms Officer

Masters Thesis

Joe Simon 2019. Perceptions of armed policing: barriers and motivations to becoming an eAuthorised Firearms Officer. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Law, Criminal Justice and Policing
AuthorsJoe Simon
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameMSc by Research

Police constabularies in England and Wales are under increased scrutiny to ensure diversity and representation across all aspects of policing business. Armed policing, however,has historically been understood a an exclusive,highly masculine and dangerous enterprise.This research examined police officers’ perceptions of the motivations and barriers to becoming and Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO).Based on a survey of 287 respondents,this research found that there was little difference between males and females on the value placed on gendered nature and aspects of the AFO role.

However,findings also reveal enduring perceptions of firearms units are inaccessible,the work characterised in terms of threat,risk and dangerousness.For many underrepresented groups therefore,this leads to a sense of feeling unwelcome in firearms units. In order to improve perceptions of firearms as a policing activity, and the diversity within firearms units,police constabularies should seek to ensure that these units improve accessibility and inclusivity in addition to being cognisant of the impact that culture continues to have on the ability to recruit.

KeywordsArmed policing; Authorised Firearms Officer; Motivations; Perceptions; Barriers
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Publication process dates
Deposited19 May 2020
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