The purpose of this text is to discuss the function of police humour, especially in the group of patrolling policemen. The discussion is primarily based on a literature study combined with data from qualitative interviews and participant observations. Basically «joking relationships» are considered a form of play which gives the individuals involved a relative freedom from responsibility. In terms of dealing with frustration with work including resistance against authorities, internal joking can be considered a form of parenthesis behaviour, i.e. it expresses parts of the personality that are suppressed through demands of authoritative and correct behaviour in the outer world. Joking can be seen as a form of diversion, partly through making distance to anxiety provoking situations, partly through rejecting aggressive situations to more neutral ones. Furthermore joking is a way to devalue the world around, to idealize the police collective in order to relieve feelings of guilt, and enhance emotions of moral superiority. In terms of internal relationship joking can be seen as ways of strengthen group cohesion. This is done by marking a boundary to different outgroups. Humour can be a way of establishing norms and giving sanctions for non-accepted behaviours, to investigate what is accepted in the group, to express feedback, to deal with conflicts, distribution of power and status and a mean of socialisation of new members.
The paper discusses possibilities and problems for police research in the nordic countries. Nordic police research is increasing in volume, but it is still dominated by works originating in norway and sweden. A number of threats to future research are defined, among them close ties between police and researchers and the desire from police management to direct research and control it’s output. It is argued that participant observation of the police is getting increasingly difficult to carry out due to overly restrictive ethical considerations. Furthermore, an increasing focus on «what works» may guide researchers away from posing more fundamental questions about the relation between police and society. The paper concludes with the observation that almost all police research in the nordic countries is undertaken by researchers from the same countries as the police forces studied. It is suggested that an increased focus on comparative research may bring new insights.
This article deals with some aspects concerning the use of police methods known under many names. These methods is often said to be new, even if most of them have a long history, as untraditional or extraordinary, hidden, secret and deceptive methods of intelligence, investigation, surveillance or even crime prevention. The main questions analyzed in the text is how does these methods affect policing and the police role in modern societies. What do we know about the effects of these methods, not only on crime, but also on the society and the justice system? The challenges and necessity in relation to research and scientific knowledge on secrete and deceptive methods are raised in the last sections of article.
«What once occurred infrequently and was viewed with disdain as a characteristic pf continental despotism is now routine administrative practice.»
(Fijnaut og Marx, 1995 s. 14)
Domestic violence is especially challenging for the police to deal with precisely because these crimes occur in close relationships. The proximity between the victim and the perpetrator represents a problem for the police at a number of levels. Violent relationships may have been going on for years without anyone knowing about it. In order to make a criminal case the police often have to penetrate a wall of shame, guilt and close ties to the perpetrator. It is also challenging for the police to deal with a tragic, complex and sometimes confusing life story, and simultaneously document and transform it into a written report as a basis for a criminal case. It is well documented that the police experience powerlessness, frustration and despair in dealing with family conflicts, which probably can be traced to lack of knowledge and understanding of this reality. Should the police therefore classify domestic violence as a special field? Domestic violence as a discipline is already specialized to some extent in the police organizations – particularly through the system of family-violence coordinators, domestic violence contacts and specialized investigation teams at some police stations in Norway. In addition the police have also developed some problem-oriented projects like the “Drammen-project” (especially directed against abuse in minority communities) and the SARA-project (Spousal Assault Risk Assessment guide). One danger of further specialization is however that only a few police officers will dear to handle this field. The number of domestic violence incidents reported to the police annually is so large that any police officer must be able to handle them in a satisfactory manner.