'Part-time and part-committed'?: the cultural challenges of part-time work in policing

11 Aug 2005

In police services, both in Australia and internationally, attention has been focused on increasing the representation of women. The availability of part-time work has been identified as a key mechanism to retain women who have been recruited. To date however the take-up of part-time work remains low. It is also concentrated in administrative work and non-operational policing work.

In this paper, Sara Charlesworth and Kerri Whittenbury draw on research in Victoria Police around the experiences of, and attitudes towards, part-time work. The research suggests that there are a number of policy constraints to the take up of part-time work, particularly by police officers. There are also significant cultural barriers to both increasing and integrating part-time work, which influence attitudes to part-time work at all levels of the organisation. However, these barriers are reinforced by institutional structures and processes that position part-time work as 'other' and a dominant and gendered conception of police work. In increasing access to part-time work, the challenge for police services such as Victoria Police is to address both institutional and cultural barriers to the integration of part-time and full-time work.

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