Moving towards trauma-informed policing: an exploration of police officer’s attitudes and perceptions towards Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Karri Gillespie-Smith*, Zara Brodie, Kimberly Collins, Kirsty Deacon, Karen Goodall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

In 2018 Ayrshire Division of Police Scotland announced their aim to become a trauma-informed division. Subsequently, all officers and staff took part in a Resilience documentary screening event. This project aimed to examine whether this screening influenced police perceptions and attitudes towards becoming a trauma-informed force. Study 1: Officers from Ayrshire (exposed to screening; n = 58) and Lothians and Borders (not exposed; n = 87) divisions completed an online survey, which revealed no significant difference in attitudes towards trauma-informed care for witnesses/victims or perpetrators. Study 2: Four focus groups were conducted with 29 officers across each area of Ayrshire division to explore attitudes towards the Resilience screenings and wider understanding and
attitudes towards becoming trauma-informed. Discussion: The lack of difference in attitudes in Study 1 may be due to the Resilience screening being awareness-raising, failing to provide a toolkit for officers to translate these principles into practice. Study 2 showed that officers believe there is merit in becoming trauma-informed, however, there is a lack of clarity on what this might be in day-to-day practice and uncertainty regarding where the responsibility lies with regards to trauma-exposed individuals. Importantly, officers are implementing trauma-informed practices which are not necessarily ‘labelled’ as such. Recommendations for practice are made.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherScottish Institute for Policing Research
Commissioning bodyThe Scottish Institute for Policing Research
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • ACES
  • trauma
  • policing
  • police research
  • attitudes
  • trauma-informed

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