I have now completed writing up the data analysis - over 15,000 words of it! The general findings are that there is no specific intention by the bloggers to transfer tacit knowledge between police officers, but that there is a strong inclination towards public education. The bloggers want the public to be aware of what they do on a day to day basis and what affects them in their job - whether it is obstructive clients, an overflow of paperwork or a lack of manpower. They often want to get their voices heard, so while anonymity is perceived as essential to protect their jobs, on the other hand they do want to reach as many people as possible.This is therefore a form of knowledge transfer in itself.
The other main motives for blogging include releasing frustrations and allowing a place to vent; it also allows bloggers to talk about situations and help them deal with hard-to-process emotions connected with their job - e.g. dealing with death.This particular subject is written about by different bloggers and the support they receive from their readers to such posts is very noticeable. There are in the archives some extremely good creative writing posts on this subject and how the individual tries to deal with it.
Finally, the other main motivation is community-based. A lot of bloggers are inspired by existing bloggers to add their mite and there is a strong police blogging community evident. On the blogs which have greater numbers of readers the comments section engenders swapping of experiences, discussions, agreement and disagreement, jokes and banter. Often police bloggers comment on each others' posts. Even with lesser numbers of readers and comments the community is clear - when an abusive comment is left the readers and blogger almost close ranks as they engage with the commenter to discuss the views held, or to defend or protect the abused.
I would like to thank everyone who consented to speak to me in person or writing in connection with this study. I have protected any personal details given and only quoted things which are already in the blogosphere.
This blog will now go into hiatus for the time being, hopefully to be revived in the near future to continue this fascinating look into a profession in the throes of change and acknowledged by themselves as being under a great deal of pressure.