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POLQUAL – measuring service quality in police traffic services

Cláudia S. Sarrico (ISEG – School of Economics and Management, UTL – Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)
Luís Miguel D. F. Ferreira (DEGEI – Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Luís Filipe Cardoso Silva (Aveiro District Command, PSP – Portuguese National Police, Aveiro, Portugal)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 30 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to build a customer quality assessment scale for use in the field of policing – POLQUAL. It adapts and applies a modified SERVQUAL approach to police traffic services in Portugal.


Original data was collected by means of telephone interviews over a three‐month period. The proposed scale's reliability and validity are assessed.


The study shows how it is possible to implement a SERVQUAL‐based approach in police traffic services. The adapted scale – POLQUAL – includes all five original dimensions plus another new dimension “promptitude”. The most negative gaps found are for the dimensions of reliability and tangibles. There was evidence that perceived quality of service decreases as the level of education of the driver increases. The paper did not find a difference between perceived quality of service provided between requested services and imposed services, respectively, represented by the accident service and radar service.

Research limitations/implications

The results are based on a specific police services context – that of out of office traffic services in Portugal.

Practical implications

The study provides the police traffic services with a tool for measuring quality of service which can provide information for focusing improvement efforts.

Social implications

Often the user cannot choose to interact with police services. However, in a democratic society good quality of service is essential for maintaining trust in the police services.


The study provides police traffic services with a valid and reliable tool to assess quality of service from the user's perspective.



Sarrico, C.S., Miguel D., L. and Filipe Cardoso Silva, L. (2013), "POLQUAL – measuring service quality in police traffic services", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 275-289.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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