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Public assessments of police during the COVID-19 pandemic: the effects of procedural justice and personal protective equipment

Ryan Sandrin (School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
Rylan Simpson (School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 16 July 2021

Issue publication date: 8 February 2022

251

Abstract

Purpose

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for contemporary police. The present research examines public assessments of police responsibility and performance during the pandemic using a procedural justice paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (N = 104) rated images of a police officer, including when using different items of personal protective equipment (PPE), along the core dimensions of procedural justice. Participants then completed survey questions about their assessments of the police’s responsibility and performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

Findings from our regression analyses indicate that participants’ perceptions of procedural justice are positively related to their assessments of police responsibility and performance. Our findings also indicate that participants’ perceptions of procedural justice can be affected by the police’s use of different items of PPE, including face masks, face shields, goggles and medical gloves.

Originality/value

The present research uses procedural justice, a well-trodden paradigm from past empirical works, to examine perceptions of police amidst a time of much societal change. The findings present important practical implications for police who must continue to manage public perceptions while providing service during the pandemic.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Chief Neil Dubord and the officers from the Delta Police Department for sharing their time and equipment in order to make this project possible. The authors would also like to thank Sam Zacharias for assisting us with the photography for this project and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments regarding this article.

Citation

Sandrin, R. and Simpson, R. (2022), "Public assessments of police during the COVID-19 pandemic: the effects of procedural justice and personal protective equipment", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 154-168. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-03-2021-0045

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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