Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 9 Issue 5 (September/October 1999), Pages 321-394

Visible minority applicant concerns and assessment of occupational role in the era of community‐based policing (pages 339-353)


Attempts to recruit minority officers are an integral component of community‐based policing initiatives in Western democracies. To better understand how to optimize these initiatives, 80 African‐Canadian police applicants were surveyed for perceptions of occupational role, career aspirations and obstacles to minority recruitment. Although service to the Black community was a high priority, applicants reported this goal as secondary to providing service regardless of ethnicity. Further, applicants reported they would be as effective policing the White community and more effective policing the Black community than their White counterparts. Racial prejudice on the part of police officers and society were viewed as the most significant obstacles to minority recruitment. Two tests of potential perceptual distortions indicated that applicants perceived African‐Canadian acquaintances to be more frequent targets of police discrimination than they were as individuals, and perceived themselves as relatively less alienated from the police than were the police from their group. Discussion focuses on obstacles to minority recruitment, the fit between applicants' attitudes and the demands of modern policing, and the potential impact of a more ethnically diverse force for police–minority relations. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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