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Studying police officers' ethical decision-making process : insights and directions

Yinthe Feys (UGent)
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Abstract
In this chapter, the outline of a doctoral research project in respect of police officers’ ethical decision–making process is discussed. The aim of the project is to explore if there is a discrepancy between how police officers think they make decisions, and how they actually make decisions in practice. After some theoretical findings are presented and the context in which the study will take place is outlined, we describe the different phases of the project, as well as some results from our exploratory phase, and we explain how we will embed these insights in the subsequent phases of the project. One of the main findings of our exploratory interviews with Belgian police officers is that every police function has some specific moral dilemmas, but police officers are also confronted with some more general dilemmas (for instance, a discrepancy between what the law prescribes and a police officer’s gut feeling). Furthermore, we found that different groups of factors are believed to have an impact on the decision–making process of police officers (i.e. the characteristics of the police officer, the characteristics of the civilian, organizational characteristics, and situational characteristics). The relevance of these findings is discussed and the results are embedded in a conceptual framework that will be used throughout the project. We propose a factor–based decision–making framework for police officers, which we plan to test empirically by means of an online survey, semi–structured interviews, and systematic social observations.
Keywords
Police, Ethics, Decision-making, Dilemmas, Mixed-methods research

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MLA
Feys, Yinthe. “Studying Police Officers’ Ethical Decision-Making Process : Insights and Directions.” Challenges of Comparative Criminological Research, edited by Gorazd Meško et al., vol. 6, Maklu, 2020, pp. 10–54.
APA
Feys, Y. (2020). Studying police officers’ ethical decision-making process : insights and directions. In G. Meško, J. Shapland, A. Groenemeyer, & C. Gayet-Viaud (Eds.), Challenges of comparative criminological research (Vol. 6, pp. 10–54). Maklu.
Chicago author-date
Feys, Yinthe. 2020. “Studying Police Officers’ Ethical Decision-Making Process : Insights and Directions.” In Challenges of Comparative Criminological Research, edited by Gorazd Meško, Joanna Shapland, Axel Groenemeyer, and Carole Gayet-Viaud, 6:10–54. Maklu.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Feys, Yinthe. 2020. “Studying Police Officers’ Ethical Decision-Making Process : Insights and Directions.” In Challenges of Comparative Criminological Research, ed by. Gorazd Meško, Joanna Shapland, Axel Groenemeyer, and Carole Gayet-Viaud, 6:10–54. Maklu.
Vancouver
1.
Feys Y. Studying police officers’ ethical decision-making process : insights and directions. In: Meško G, Shapland J, Groenemeyer A, Gayet-Viaud C, editors. Challenges of comparative criminological research. Maklu; 2020. p. 10–54.
IEEE
[1]
Y. Feys, “Studying police officers’ ethical decision-making process : insights and directions,” in Challenges of comparative criminological research, vol. 6, G. Meško, J. Shapland, A. Groenemeyer, and C. Gayet-Viaud, Eds. Maklu, 2020, pp. 10–54.
@incollection{8668270,
  abstract     = {In this chapter, the outline of a doctoral research project in respect of police officers’
ethical decision–making process is discussed. The aim of the project is to explore if
there is a discrepancy between how police officers think they make decisions, and
how they actually make decisions in practice. After some theoretical findings are
presented and the context in which the study will take place is outlined, we describe
the different phases of the project, as well as some results from our exploratory
phase, and we explain how we will embed these insights in the subsequent phases of
the project. One of the main findings of our exploratory interviews with Belgian
police officers is that every police function has some specific moral dilemmas, but
police officers are also confronted with some more general dilemmas (for instance, a
discrepancy between what the law prescribes and a police officer’s gut feeling).
Furthermore, we found that different groups of factors are believed to have an impact
on the decision–making process of police officers (i.e. the characteristics of the police
officer, the characteristics of the civilian, organizational characteristics, and
situational characteristics). The relevance of these findings is discussed and the
results are embedded in a conceptual framework that will be used throughout the
project. We propose a factor–based decision–making framework for police officers,
which we plan to test empirically by means of an online survey, semi–structured
interviews, and systematic social observations.},
  author       = {Feys, Yinthe},
  booktitle    = {Challenges of comparative criminological research},
  editor       = {Meško, Gorazd and Shapland, Joanna and Groenemeyer, Axel and Gayet-Viaud, Carole},
  isbn         = {9789046610367},
  keywords     = {Police,Ethics,Decision-making,Dilemmas,Mixed-methods research},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {10--54},
  publisher    = {Maklu},
  series       = {GERN Research Paper Series},
  title        = {Studying police officers' ethical decision-making process : insights and directions},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2020},
}