Burgess, Mark, Fleming, Jenny and Marks, Monique
Thinking critically about police unions in Australia: internal democracy and external responsiveness
Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 7, (5), . (doi:10.1080/15614260601076033).
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This paper considers the challenges for Australian police unions in the 21st century. The empirical evidence is drawn from research conducted by two of the authors for the Police Federation of Australia (PFA) in 2003–2004. The paper first outlines the changing field of policing in which police unions exist, then provides background information on the various state and territory unions/associations and the PFA. The paper demonstrates that while police unions in Australia have won considerable gains for their members and contributed significantly to police reform, their current agendas are somewhat narrow. The paper contends that this is owing to the conservative membership base of police unions, ambivalent identification with the labour movement, and poorly defined conceptions of professionalism. The final section of the paper identifies four central challenges facing Australian police unions and attempts by the police unions to respond to these challenges.
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