Just Authority?: Trust in the Police in England and Wales

Just Authority?: Trust in the Police in England and Wales

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What does it mean to trust the police? What makes the police legitimate in the eyes of the policed? What builds trust, legitimacy and cooperation, and what undermines the bond between police and the public? These questions are central to current debates concerning the relationship between the British police and the public it serves. Yet, in the context of British policing they are seldom asked explicitly, still less examined in depth.

Drawing on psychological and sociological explanatory paradigms, Just Authority? presents a cutting-edge empirical study into public trust, police legitimacy, and people’s readiness to cooperate with officers. It represents, first, the most detailed test to date of Tom Tyler’s procedural justice model attempted outside the United States. Second, it uncovers the social ecology of trust and legitimacy and, third, it describes the relationships between trust, legitimacy and cooperation.

This book contains many important lessons for practitioners, policy-makers and academics. As elsewhere the dominant vision of policing in Great Britain continues to stress instrumental effectiveness: the ‘fight against crime’ will be won by pro-active and even aggressive policing. In line with work from the United States and elsewhere, Just Authority? casts significant doubt on such claims. When people find policing to be unfair, disrespectful and careless of human dignity, not only is trust lost, legitimacy is also damaged and cooperation is withdrawn as a result. Absent such public support, the job of the police is made harder and the avowed objectives of less crime and disorder placed ever further from reach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781136254437
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 10/12/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 244
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Jonathan Jackson is Senior Lecturer in Social Research Methodology, LSE, and member of LSE's Mannheim Centre for Criminology.

Ben Bradford is an Career Development Fellow, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford.

Betsy Stanko is Emeritus Professor of Criminology, Royal Holloway, University of London and currently works for the Metropolitan Police.

Katrin Hohl is a Research Fellow in the Methodology Institute, LSE.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction 1. Social and moral connections, 2. Design of the study Part 2: Trends and trajectories 3. Twenty-five years of public confidence in the police, 4. Twenty-five years of public contact with the police Part 3: Why do people trust the police? 5. What is trust in the police? 6. Mass media, 7. The social ecology of trust in the police, 8. One type of contact: being approached by the police, 9. A focus on a special population: young males from Black and Minority Ethnic groups 10. Another type of contact: reporting crime Part 4: Why do people grant the police legitimacy? 11. What is police legitimacy? 12. The social ecology of police legitimacy, 13. Procedural justice and contact with the police Part 5: Why do people cooperate with the police? 14. Cooperation and the probability of procedural justice, 15. Revisiting a special population: a focus on young males from Black and Minority Ethnic groups Part 6: Conclusions.

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