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The space between: trustworthiness and trust in the police among three immigrant groups in Australia

Bradford, Ben, Jackson, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-2426-2219, Murphy, Kristina and Sargeant, Elise (2022) The space between: trustworthiness and trust in the police among three immigrant groups in Australia. Journal of Trust Research. ISSN 2151-559X

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Research regularly finds significant variation in the perceived trustworthiness of police across different social groups. For example, studies from a number of different countries have shown that people from particular ethnic and racial minority groups tend to have less positive evaluations and lower expectations of police effectiveness, benevolence and integrity, compared to their majority group counterparts. However, much less is known about how trust – as a willingness to be vulnerable under conditions of risk – varies across groups. Moreover, the criminological literature regularly conflates trustworthiness and trust, and/or assumes the former translates unproblematically into the latter. In this paper we use data from a survey of three immigrant groups living in Sydney, Australia, to explore the relationship between trustworthiness and trust. We focus on how aspects of the ‘immigrant experience’ may affect the translation of trustworthiness into trust, and whether there are factors that predict trust independent of evaluations of the trust object. Our results show that social norms, which vary across immigrant groups, predict levels of trust independent of trustworthiness, as do other individual and group level characteristics. This has important implications, both for the conceptualisation and empirical study of trust in the police, and for policy efforts that seek to enhance public trust in this important state institution.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2022 10:24
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2022 10:24

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