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Challenges for police leadership: Identity, experience, legitimacy and direct entry

Hoggett, James; Redford, Paul; Toher, Deirdre; White, Paul


James Hoggett

Paul Redford
Associate Director of Academic Practice

Paul White
Professor in Applied Statistics


© 2018, The Author(s). The police service in England and Wales has developed a new approach to police leadership where individuals from outside of the police service can now enter directly to leadership ranks. Previous research identified that officers place great value on being led by someone who has experience of being a police officer. Adopting a social identity perspective, the current paper reports on quantitative and qualitative data about police officer views on direct entry and existing police leadership captured as part of a wider national survey (N = 12,549) of police officers in England and Wales. The paper identifies the importance that shared identity and credibility play in police follower/leadership relationships. It argues that direct-entry police leaders face credibility issues linked to their lack of shared police identity but also that serving officers perceive existing leaders to be poor because they believe they have forgotten what it is like to be a police officer. This paper develops a new theoretical and empirical approach to police leadership utilizing social and organizational psychology theory and research. The paper suggests that if police leaders understand police identity, then they can create propitious conditions within which police officers will follow their leaders.


Hoggett, J., Redford, P., Toher, D., & White, P. (2019). Challenges for police leadership: Identity, experience, legitimacy and direct entry. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 34(2), 145-155.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2018
Publication Date Jun 15, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 6, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 6, 2018
Journal Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Print ISSN 0882-0783
Electronic ISSN 1936-6469
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 145-155
Keywords Police leadership; Police identity; Direct entry; Police followership; Social identity theory
Public URL
Publisher URL


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