Storytelling about rural policing – the social construction of a professional identity –

auteur Jan Terpstra
tijdschrift EJPS (ISSN: 2034-760X)
jaargang Volume 5
aflevering Special Issue: Observing the observers: Ethnographies of the social world of the police
onderdeel Articles
publicatie datum 30 mei 2017
taal English
pagina 17
keywords police culture, police

Rural police officers try to construct the identity of rural policing by telling stories. In their stories
they explain how rural policing works and what its strength is. According to these stories, relations
between police and citizens are different from what is usual in the cities. Rural police officers are
more used to solving problems by ‘talking’ and not by ‘escalation’. Rural officers work on a broad
range of problems, including all kinds of service tasks. Two factors are often mentioned why the
rural police have a different (and ‘better’) way of working. The long patrol distances make that
it takes a long time before assistance will arrive, so initially officers have to deal with problems
on their own. The social density of rural communities makes that police officers have different
positions compared with city officers. As a result rural officers are more focused on peace keeping
than on rule enforcement.