1st Edition

Police, Organization, and Wellbeing An Ethnography

By Jamie Ferrill Copyright 2023
    144 Pages
    by Routledge

    144 Pages
    by Routledge

    Based on the study of a police organization in England, this book explores the role of social relations in the ways that people construct, mobilize, consume, and reconstruct meaning about wellbeing. Wellbeing is a powerful, institutionalized concept in police organizations across England and Wales. With the emergence of numerous policies, strategies, and practices that both explicitly and implicitly address wellbeing in the workplace, the concept has come to feature prominently. Wellbeing is addressed as an issue that needs to be understood intersubjectively by attending to the underlying social issues that shape how it is promoted or denied.

    After a theoretical exploration of police culture and wellbeing, the book traverses ethnographic data and captures insights from individuals across the organization’s hierarchy. It explores what individuals perceive wellbeing to mean and how they make sense of the concept. The book reveals discernible ideological-laden tensions across the hierarchy in terms of wellbeing constructions. By exploring these tensions, there is a potential to understand the constructions of wellbeing and the resultant implications for practice.

    This book will be of interest to academics, researchers, and students in policing, criminology, criminal justice, leadership/management, organizational behaviour, and wellbeing. Given its empirical focus and applicability to practitioners, it will also be of interest to a range of non-academics, including police officers and leaders, public servants, private organizations, policymakers, and human resources professionals.

    Introduction: A Job Like No Other

    1 The Politics of Police and Wellbeing

    2 The Thin Blue Front-Line

    3 Caught in the Middle

    4 The View from the Top

    5 A Fraying Thread

    6 More than a Buzzword

    Conclusion: Discussion and Future Directions


    Jamie Ferrill is a lecturer at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, teaching across policing and criminal justice in Canada, the UK, and Australia. She has nearly a decade of law enforcement experience, having worked for the Canadian Federal Government prior to commencing an academic career.

    "This book is a compelling and critical interrogation of wellbeing within policing. Drawing on rich ethnographic data, the book problematises what we already know about wellbeing and offers an alternative, novel, and theoretically informed account – a must read for academics and practitioners."

    Dr Marisa Silvestri, University of Kent, UK

    At a time when police agencies are facing unprecedented challenges, Dr Ferrill’s book is a thoughtful and significant work contributing to the narrative surrounding the well-being of police officers.

    Key points concerning our understanding of the complexity of well-being, its role in policing and its structural situation are explored, and the work provides for an alternative view to understanding this important concept. This work will influence academics and police practitioners alike. Highly recommended."

    Professor Colin Rogers, The International Centre for Policing and Security, University of South Wales, Australia