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An analysis of the factors influencing detective attrition in the Western Australia police

Voyce, Kara C. (2009) An analysis of the factors influencing detective attrition in the Western Australia police. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The occurrence of attrition is a major concern for any police organisation. Studies undertaken in this area have surveyed current and former officers in an attempt to identify the unique reasons behind police resignations. The majority of research, however, has been conducted using uniformed police officers, while limited studies have examined the attrition of police who specialise in a particular field. Therefore, this study filled the gap by investigating why detectives might be resigning from their positions.

The primary focus of the study was to identify where areas of dissatisfaction may be more prominent, by measuring the attitudes of different detective ranks and posting areas towards five specific attrition factors. These factors were concerned with promotion, workload, resource availability, working conditions and job expectations. Data was collected from 223 current and former detectives from the Western Australia Police using a self-report questionnaire.

The data did not reveal differences between detective ranks in their attitudes towards the lack of promotional position availability. Their negative attitudes did however indicate that this issue was causing discontent for all ranks. The issue of heavy workload was revealed to impact more negatively on higher ranked detectives. Differences in attitudes were also presented between the detective posting areas in their responses towards the lack of resource availability, and job expectations. In both cases, district detectives displayed more negative attitudes, which indicated that they were considerably more dissatisfied with these two factors. Lastly, the negative attitudes displayed towards the working conditions indicated that all posting areas felt their working conditions were unsatisfactory. Additional analysis of qualitative responses revealed that the lack of recognition, monetary rewards, and further training were also causing discontent.

Of particular interest was the finding that current detectives held more negative attitudes than former detectives, suggesting that attrition in the Western Australia Police may continue as a result of the dissatisfaction being experienced from the above factors.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Hall, Guy and Bevan, Jaimie
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