Police Officers understand about human rights, don’t they?

Alan Beckley

Western Sydney University, School of Social Sciences & Psychology

*corresponding author: a.beckley@westernsydney.edu.au (alternative e-mail: 17895604@student.westernsydney.edu.au )

This presentation covers a subject of vital importance to society, in particular vulnerable members of society; how police officers understand human rights and incorporate adherence to them in their operational policing duties. The presentation describes research which utilised a detailed survey of over 200 serving police officers comprising of three sections: police ethics and human rights scenarios, responses to organizational justice issues, and a general knowledge quiz on human rights law. The responses from serving police officers were compared against the opinions about policing from other participants employed in criminal justice sector organisations. There are interesting findings from these results and also with comparisons from previous survey results in Australia and other countries. The conclusions from the research indicate that there are areas for improvement in the training and operational practice of police officers in their everyday interactions with members of the public.


Alan Beckley is Acting Director of the Office of Widening Participation at Western Sydney University and also holds the post of Adjunct Research Fellow at the School of Social Sciences & Psychology. He formerly served for 30 years as a police officer in the UK, where he published many articles and books on policing subjects. He is an FBI National Academy Graduate from Session 160 (1990) and is currently studying for a PhD with Western Sydney University on the subject of policing, ethics and human rights.


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