Humour, trust, and tacit knowledge of police and border officers in international police collaboration

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Previous studies have highlighted the significant role played by what is referred to as the ‘police gaze’, or the set of tacit skills that police officers use in their everyday work to scan the environment, to identify sources of threats or suspects on the streets. The present study suggests that the police gaze can also be used among police officers who do not know one another and do not know whom to trust and who not to trust. This is even more so in collaborative contexts that require the sharing of sensitive information and knowledge, such as in police intelligence work. The aim of the present paper is to suggest how intelligence officers use jokes and humour to identify whom to trust and whom not to trust. Not only is humour used as a social basis for building a sense of group identity and developing better interpersonal collaboration skills, but it is also used to test which colleagues are more trustworthy than others. The paper ends with conclusions, implications, and suggestions for further studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Publication statusPublished - 2022-Apr-30

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Sociology (50401)


  • International police intelligence collaboration
  • police gaze
  • information and knowledge sharing
  • jokes and humour
  • trust


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