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Predictors of self-legitimacy among military police officers in São Paulo, Brazil

Viviane de Oliveira Cubas (Center for the Study of Violence, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
Frederico Castelo Branco (Center for the Study of Violence, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
André Rodrigues de Oliveira (Center for the Study of Violence, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
Fernanda Novaes Cruz (Center for the Study of Violence, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 29 July 2021

Issue publication date: 22 October 2021

116

Abstract

Purpose

The authors examine predictors of self-legitimacy for police officers belonging to the Military Police force of São Paulo (Brazil). Considering the variables mobilized by the literature on self-legitimacy, the authors seek to identify what explains the self-legitimacy of militarized police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was applied to 298 frontline police officers in the city of São Paulo, analyzing indicators separated into two groups: relationship dimension and organizational dimension. An ordinary least square model is used to test the “relationship” and “organizational” variables on police officers' self-legitimacy.

Findings

Effectiveness is the strongest predictor for self-legitimacy. Organizational justice and distributive justice also present important effects, as the perception of citizens' attitudes toward police reinforces the conception of self-legitimacy as a dialogical construct, comprising here the public's expectations of police work as well as the police officers' perceptions that they are respected and considered important by the public.

Originality/value

There are no other studies on self-legitimacy related to Brazilian police officers or exploring these aspects among police officers submitted to a militarized structure. These results contribute to the ongoing debate on the militarization of police activities and their possible effects on police legitimacy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The study received financial support grant# 2013-07923-7, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), as part of the project “Building democracy daily: human rights, violence, and institutional trust”, developed by the Center for the Study of Violence of the University of São Paulo (NEV/USP).

Citation

Cubas, V.d.O., Castelo Branco, F., Oliveira, A.R.d. and Cruz, F.N. (2021), "Predictors of self-legitimacy among military police officers in São Paulo, Brazil", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 1140-1153. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-05-2021-0066

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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