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The drivers of police legitimacy: some European research

Hough, Mike, Jackson, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-2426-2219 and Bradford, Ben ORCID: 0000-0001-5480-5638 (2013) The drivers of police legitimacy: some European research. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 8 (2). pp. 144-165. ISSN 1833-5330

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This article summarises some of the thinking and empirical findings behind a programme of survey work on procedural justice theory in Europe. The paper locates procedural justice theory in a framework of compliance theories and sketches out the main features of it, defining the central concept of legitimacy. It then presents findings from the fifth European Social Survey, drawing on a 'trust in justice' module which was designed by the authors and colleagues. This provides good support for the procedural justice hypotheses that we set out to test – that different types of public trust in the police (trust that they are effective, procedurally fair and distributively fair) are related to public perceptions of police legitimacy, which in turn are related to self-reported compliance with the law and preparedness to cooperate with the police. Introduction This paper presents some ideas and empirical findings from a large-scale programme of research funded by the European Union and others into trust in justice, built on a foundation of procedural justice theory. A consortium coordinated by the lead author secured an EU research grant under the EU's seventh framework programme to develop survey indicators of trust in justice ii . In turn this led to a sub-group of the consortium bidding for space in the fifth European Social Survey (ESS) to include questions that would enable us to carry out a large-scale test of a range of procedural justice hypotheses. We shall first say how concepts of procedural justice sit within a broader framework of 'compliance theories'. We shall then define the key organising concepts of procedural justice theory, in particular that of institutional legitimacy, which has both normative and empirical dimensions to it. We shall offer a tripartite definition of empirical (i.e. perceived) legitimacy that defines empirical legitimacy as the recognition and justification of the right to exercise power and influence. Our analysis of the ESS is ongoing, but we shall present a selection of findings which show that for the large part our procedural justice hypotheses were justified. We shall end with a brief discussion about the best ways of embedding procedural justice thinking in policing.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2013 08:50
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:40

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