DOI link for Mirroring society
Mirroring society book
It is an outspoken ambition in many European countries to recruit broadly and have a police service that reflects the general population. This focus has contributed to the diversification of police forces in many European countries, particularly in terms of demographic factors such as gender and ethnicity. However, if the goal is to stimulate a plurality of perspectives and increased police competence, then the social and political diversity is equally important. The aim of this chapter is twofold: first, to find out to what extent police recruits are representative of the general population in terms of political orientation, and second, whether police recruits are equally representative or diverse across Europe. This chapter measures and compares political orientation using a left-to-right scale across the seven RECPOL countries. We show that police students in all countries and regions, except for Catalonia, place themselves, on average, to the right of the political center. Police students place themselves, on average, also more to the political right compared to their general population. The only exception is Belgium, where we find no difference. When we compare police students to citizens in their same age category, the differences increase further, but they are still quite modest.