Punitive attitudes and victimization among police officers in Switzerland: an empirical exploration

Item Type Journal paper

Policework involves a high level of risk, and police officers are frequently victimized while on duty. However, victimization rates differ considerably within the police corps and depend on a number of personal and situational variables. This research is based on a survey of police officers in the canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland (N = 478). It follows two research paths to investigate the link between punitive attitudes and victimization experiences: punitiveness as a factor in higher victimization rates, and victimization experiences causing an increase in punitive attitudes. The results showed no significant difference between male and female officers in terms of punitiveness, and that punitiveness significantly increased with age. Also, punitiveness was found to decrease as the hours spent on street patrol duty increased. Examining the link between victimization and punitiveness, this study also found a surprising effect that officers without victimization experiences in the three years prior to the survey showed significantly higher levels of punitiveness than their victimized colleagues. Futhermore, officers who experienced victimization were found to become less punitive as the time they spent on the street increased, while the opposite was true for their non-victimized counterparts. These a priori counterintuitive results could possibly be explained by a ‘professionalization’ or a ‘familiarization’ effect and serve as a basis for further research as well as for police practice and training.

Authors Simmler, Monika; Stempkowski, Monika & Markwalder, Nora
Journal or Publication Title Police Practice and Research
Language English
Subjects law
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area LS - Business Enterprise - Law, Innovation and Risk
Refereed Yes
Date 28 November 2019
Page Range 1-18
Number of Pages 18
Publisher DOI 10.1080/15614263.2019.1697264
Depositing User Dr. Monika Simmler
Date Deposited 29 Nov 2019 13:47
Last Modified 04 Dec 2019 09:48
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/258510


[img] Text
Simmler+Stempkowski+Markwalder_Police Practice and Research_2019.pdf
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB)


Simmler, Monika; Stempkowski, Monika & Markwalder, Nora (2019) Punitive attitudes and victimization among police officers in Switzerland: an empirical exploration. Police Practice and Research, 1-18.


Edit item Edit item