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Accepted Paper:

“When will you go back to ‘real’ police work?” Victim support police officers and their role within the corps  
Ignacio Elpidio Domínguez Ruiz (University of Barcelona) Alèxia Rué (Universitat de Barcelona) Olga Jubany (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

How victim support police officers negotiate their role and value within a police corps allows us to understand policing within the intersection of issues of gender, the politics of care, mental health needs, and organisational culture, particularly regarding changes in a force’s self-image.

Paper long abstract:

Mossos d’Esquadra, the autonomous police force of Catalonia (Spain), has a current public image linked to the self-determination process, as well as to scandals of evictions, the repression of demonstrations, and torture cases. Against this image, the corps’ victim support police officers, and particularly those focused on gender-based and domestic violence, experience a sense of disconnectedness or alienation from the rest of their police force, as they are criticised, questioned, or misunderstood by colleagues who may not see victim support as “‘real’ police work”. At the same time, their own perception of police work seeks to take distance from the corps’ image of repression, highlighting their role of care. Their work within the Mossos d’Esquadra is affected by political and media campaigns that focus on the force’s proximity to the citizens and victims, on the one hand, and a corps-wide self-image that limits discussion over mental health, as well as the appraisal of the tasks linked to victim support, on the other. Drawing from research among victim support police officers of three geographically and socially distinct regions within Catalonia, this paper discusses the needs and challenges faced by these officers within a specific organisational culture. The analysis of how their job is understood and valued within the force is directly linked to issues of gender, the politics of care, and mental health needs, but also to how procedures and priorities may change within the organisation, particularly in order to advance a more humane and closer idea of a police force.

Panel P068a
Police officers at work [AnthroState] I
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -