Childcare in the Queensland Police Service: A Work-based Study of the Logan Police District

Masters Thesis

Jordan, Peta Rae. 2023. Childcare in the Queensland Police Service: A Work-based Study of the Logan Police District. Masters Thesis Master of Professional Studies. University of Southern Queensland.

Childcare in the Queensland Police Service: A Work-based Study of the Logan Police District

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorsJordan, Peta Rae
1. FirstDr Lee Fergusson
2. SecondDr Ana Stevenson
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Professional Studies
Number of Pages102
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

This thesis explores childcare in the Logan Police District of the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Due to the many roles they perform, police officers are required to be available to work 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week with many also attempting to manage family commitments. There is little appetite within the QPS for substitute or relief police officers to fill gaps within its workforce, which are generated by part-time employees, thereby creating a dilemma. Those remaining hours not worked by part-time employees are unable to be filled on a permanent basis, due to the possibility of the police officer’s circumstances changing resulting in them wishing to return to the workforce on a full-time basis. The aim of this research is to identify whether a need for 24/7 childcare exists within the QPS, and to ascertain whether it has been successfully utilised by families in shift working professions in other parts of the world.
The research uses a pragmatist approach to capture all perspectives of the participants, relating to the real-world issue. A qualitative method which consists of interviewing case study participants enables detailed data to be obtained to provide an in-depth analysis of their experiences and perceptions. Using a case study research design, this thesis focuses on how police officers in Logan Police District manage childcare and their work commitments. Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted with each participant who were asked the same questions relating to their experience of work, family and childcare. These interviews were digitally recorded and handwritten notes taken, to ensure all data was captured. Six topics were analysed to obtain a greater understanding and of gender in the workplace, 24/7 childcare and parental leave in other locations, insights from 24/7 trials in Australia and outlining the legislative constraints in Australia. In this qualitative work-based study, utilising real-life situations, seven semi-structured interviews were conducted and experiences documented.
The findings from the case study identified 127 codes, which were grouped into six themes, ranking in order from most frequent theme to the least frequent theme.
Findings from the interviews identified a lack of flexibility within the QPS and uncovered the strategies used by police officers to adapt work to family commitments. The results highlight outdated management practices and organisational expectations heighten stress on shift-working families. Furthermore the interviews found that the participants experienced financial stress which was compounded by reducing their hours to work part-time so they could utilise childcare. ii The participants in the case study revealed that organisational expectations to perform overtime at the conclusion of the shift was experienced, causing difficulties for the care of their child. It was deemed during the case study that the participants adapt their work to suit the hours of childcare centres. It was recommended Logan Police District management create a better work-life balance through the exploration of options to encourage full-time work and consideration by the Australian Federal Government to investigate the possibility to introduce 24/7 childcare for shift-working families.

KeywordsChildcare; Shiftwork; policing
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 20204499. Other human society
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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