Security Actors Today: The Role of Sociological Skills
Keywords:law enforcement, sociological education, skills
The complexity of contemporary societies has strongly changed the concept of security and, as a consequence, altered the role and functions of law enforcement which is more and more expected to cope with complex situations requiring not only punitive measures and control functions, but also the capacity to interact in a structured manner with the different actors involved.
For their part, such changes pose questions on new required skills and subsequent training needs.
In this framework, it is interesting to illustrate the data which emerged from a study on graduates in Sociology in Italy – part of which is in law enforcement – showing the specificity of the employees in this sector with regard to the assessment of their own working position and the skills required for their job. This investigation showed that those working in law enforcement have a more positive evaluation of the average of their professional condition and that their working context greatly appreciate the richness and complexity of their work-related skills not only in the legal field, but also in the sociological field.
Data prove the inadequacy of the ‘old stereotypes’ on law enforcement which do not acknowledge the complexity of the job it carries out and the multiple skills required to face new challenges.
In other words, for at least a part of top-ranking positions in law enforcement, an interdisciplinary preparation (in which there are sociological disciplines) is significantly and increasingly requested, as it allows not only to apply laws and rules, but also to interpret the ongoing changes and adopt an approach based on dialogue with the different actors (institutions and concrete individuals) with whom they have to interact in an ‘urban security’ perspective.
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