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The relevance of spirituality in policing: a dual analysis
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 12:45 authored by Jonathan A. Smith, Ginger Charles
Operational policing is demanding and threatening. Repeatedly dealing with death, serious injury, horrific crime scenes, the need to be constantly alert whether on or off duty, and being ostracised by communities, friends and family, are only some examples of what officers encounter. All take their toll on police officers: on their health, fitness and well-being, and on their view of people and the world. The toll also extends to those who are served by these officers. While this toll is recognised, there are still high levels of sickness absence, ill health, alcohol/drug-related problems as well as suicides. These are clear illustrations of the challenging nature of policing. If we look at the deeper issues of these challenges nature of policing and its struggle for good; not being recognised as whole people; not being treated as valuable parts of a community; the reality of facing death and destructiveness on a daily basis we see that, at a fundamental level, these have a spiritual component to them. This is an important but often unrecognised aspect of policing. Forces emphasise the physical and mental well-being of officers but neglect their spiritual well-being. There are sound reasons for a greater focus on this area. It is morally appropriate to address this area. This paper draws from two PhDs. It identifies the issues related to coping strategies and officer fitness, highlights how the spiritual dimension may assist in the development of coping strategies, and identifies how these issues might be taken forward.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Police Science and Management