Chair: Sebastian Roche

Police-Citizen Relations in Comparative Perspective

Building: G
Room: 22


Author: Sebastian Roche, CNRS

Title: Some Reflexions About Police-Citizen Relations in Comparative Perspective
The study of trust and legitimacy in the field of policing has expanded vastly in a brief period of time. However, it remains predominantly based on national studies and simple dichotomies (for ex. Majority versus minority), and focused on interactions and their assessment. In addition, the differences across national police systems and variations introduced by types of governments are not always included in studies. The importance of institutional national contexts seems of the essence, and adopting a comparative perspective might help reach a renewed understanding of the foundations of trust and legitimacy. An interactional-institutional model seems to be necessary in order to account for police trust and legitimacy.
Keywords: Legitimacy, trust, policing, government, culture
Author: Oberwittler Dietrich, Max Planck Institute - Department of Criminology

Title: Macro-Level Explanations of Country Differences. the (Very) Small N Problems and Benefits: the Example of Police-Adolescent Relations in Germany and France
Comparative research on policing is ultimately interested in explaining differences between countries and isolating the macro-level factors which drive these differences. Yet, many studies compare a small number of contexts which seriously limits the potential for ‘proving’ that certain macro-level influences are actually responsible for differences in police-citizen relations. Against this backdrop, we discuss the opportunities and limitations of comparative research on police-citizen relations in the context of the POLIS project which has found that (minority) adolescents have a more positive experience with the police in Germany than in France. Current approaches in policing research would argue that procedural justice is key to the understanding of such differences. However, police-citizen interactions do not occur in a social vacuum, and many aspects of socio-economic and spatial inequalities as well as of the historical, cultural and political context have been invoked by scholars to make sense of French-German differences in policing, and in the social integration of minority adolescents more generally. We will discuss the potential of these macro-level dimensions for the explanation of police-adolescent relations.
Keywords: Methodology, multilevel analysis, policing, trust
Author: Jackson Jon, London School of Economics

Mike Hough, Birkbeck, University of London; Ben BRADFORD, University College London
Title: Ethnicity, Group Position and Police Legitimacy: Findings From the European Social Survey
Using the European Social Survey, this paper draws on procedural justice theory, group position theory and social identity theory to explain variations between ethnic groups in orientation towards the police. We consider socioeconomic and other factors that define ‘group positions’ and which might as a result shape the way people view police. We explore whether: (a) any or all of these factors are associated with legitimacy judgements and (b) whether any or all explain differences in legitimacy between minority and majority groups. An important finding is that minority ethnic group status is not in itself a consistent predictor of negative attitudes towards the police – though in many countries some ethnic minority groups confer less legitimacy on the police than majority groups. A further important finding is that experience of police activity seems to shape legitimacy in important ways – but so too do factors unrelated – or only loosely related – to policing. Economic, social and political marginalization all appear to be linked to lower police legitimacy. There are obvious but important policy implications to this, concerning both the need for policing to continue to focus on constructive strategies of legitimation and the need for broader political responses to social exclusion.
Keywords: procedural justice; group position social identity, ethnic status, legitimacy
Author: Kääriäinen Juha, University of Helsinki

Title: Punitive Gap and Trust in the Police and Courts – Some Finnish Findings.
It is well-known fact that people are punitive oriented all over the world: in opinion polls they are demanding harsher sentences compared to the prevailing sentence practice in their country. Should we hear the voice of people? What happens to the trust and legitimacy of the criminal justice system if the gap between the opinion of peoples on sentencing and the predominant sentence practice grows too deep? In this study, these questions has been examined in Finland which is known for its relatively lenient sentence policy.The data was collected in 2016 and it consists two parts: population survey and survey of district court judges. Descriptions of seven criminal cases were presented to both groups and the respondents were asked to impose a penalty. Results were compared and the deepness of the punitive gap was calculated for each vignettes. Trust in the police and trust in the courts were measured using ESS (European Social Survey) questions and they were used as dependent variables in regression models. The results indicates that punitive gap have only a weak impact on the trust in the police or trust in the courts. In addition, this effect seems to be found only in some of offenses described to the respondents. The most important explanatory factors of trust in the criminal justice system seems to be associated with societal and rule of law related factors.
Keywords: trust, punitive gap, police, courts
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