Care and control : exploring the gendering of emotion management tasks among uniformed police : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Sociology
This study of uniformed police constables highlights the emotion management tasks undertaken as part of the caring and controlling interventions of 'front line' police. In particular, it considers the ways in which the integration of women into patrol work has coincided with a more newly developed emphasis on the caring and responsive veneer of the police organisation. This latter endeavour has been most significant with respect to changing police work styles and practices in responding to incidents of domestic violence and it is in these areas that the convergence of these two changes is most apparent. The result has been the re-emergence of a systematically gendered specialisation of policing tasks. Under this informal system of task segregation, female constables have come to assume responsibility for modern 'care' provision whilst male constables maintain their historic responsibility for 'control'. This pattern of differential deployment significantly contravenes an espoused commitment to equality of opportunity and treatment at the same time as its persistence works to compromise much championed commitments to re-orientating police work styles and police responses to the public. The findings of this study suggest that the police organisation may be able to improve both the quality of work life of its incumbents and the way in which it delivers critical services to the public by more seriously embracing policies of equal employment opportunity.