Police Decision-Making Processes When Addressing Antisocial Behaviour Among Young People in England and Poland

  • Monika Baylis

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Policing of antisocial behaviour (ASB) among young people has been a concern for more than a decade in England and Poland. However, examining police decision-making processes when addressing ASB, as well as applying theoretical models and studying legal and extralegal factors that can influence the processes in each country, has been limited. This comparative research aims to fill the gap by using a multiphase sequential exploratory design in a mixed-method approach across three phases.
The first phase involved 16 semistructured interviews conducted in each country with serving police officers and police community support officers (in the English context) and serving police officers and city guards (in the Polish context). The same number of participants (i.e., 32 in total) was used in the second and third phases of the study. The findings of Phase 1 informed Phases 2 and 3, which involved decision-board analysis complemented by semistructured interviews.
In all three phases, similarities and differences between the countries were revealed. In Phase 1, it was found that different terms for ASB are used in each country, namely ASB in England and demoralisation in Poland. Also, the process of understanding ASB/demoralisation is driven by the level of the behaviour, the officers’ perceptions, and legislation in each country. This makes the definition of ASB and demoralisation subjective and ambiguous. Hence, the policing authorities use their discretion, which is part of decision-making processes, meaning that, as concepts, both ASB and demoralisation are broad and fluid. Also, policing of ASB/demoralisation can be challenging in both countries, making the decision-making processes complex and dynamic. The decision-making processes differ in each country and are influenced by different legal and extralegal factors.
The processes and legal and extralegal factors were explored further in Phases 2 and 3 in which it was confirmed that the decision-making process is complex and dynamic and a different approach (i.e., different legal measures and policing style with a victimoriented focus in England and a suspect/witness-oriented focus in Poland) was observed in each country. Finally, in both countries, the rational model cannot be applied fully, which questions the effectiveness of the decisions and courses of actions taken by the policing authorities in each country, and new components (i.e. the legal and extralegal factors) should be added to it.
Based on the key findings, this thesis calls for a greater understanding of decision-making processes and clarification regarding the level of ASB (in the English context) and balancing the rights of the victims (in the Polish context). Responding to this call would not only improve policing of ASB and current legislation in each country, but would also help to highlight the importance of conducting comparative research in general because each country could learn from the other. Finally, by using the multiphase explanatory sequential design in a mixed-method approach and applying a theoretical model to the process of decision making when addressing different scenarios of ASB among young people, some new factors, challenges, and advantages linked to the application of such strategy can be revealed, adding a new knowledge that could be considered in the future.
Date of Award19 Jan 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRachel Armitage (Main Supervisor) & Leanne Monchuk (Co-Supervisor)

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