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Visibly better? Testing the effect of ethnic appearance on citizen perceptions of the police

Davies, Tom, Bradford, Ben, Yesberg, Julia A. and Pósch, Krisztián (2021) Visibly better? Testing the effect of ethnic appearance on citizen perceptions of the police. Policing and Society, 31 (9). 1133 - 1148. ISSN 1043-9463

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Identification Number: 10.1080/10439463.2020.1853124

Abstract

Ethnic minority officers continue to be underrepresented across UK police forces. Further, some ethnic minority groups consistently report lower levels of confidence in police compared to their White British counterparts. Although there is consensus that a more ethnically representative police service is a good idea, there is limited evidence in the UK on how the public perceives officers of different ethnic appearance, and how this relates to trust, confidence and legitimacy. This paper presents findings from an online experiment (n = 260) exploring how ethnic appearance affects perceptions of police. Our findings offer rare empirical support for a more ethnically representative police force. First, across respondents, we found that Black officers were perceived significantly more favourably than White or Asian officers. Second, we found that Black respondents had more negative responses to White officers, yet there was little evidence that Black officers elicited more negative reactions from White or Asian respondents. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/gpas20
Additional Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2022 13:54
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2022 10:30
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/114854

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