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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2002

Ben Brown and Wm Reed Benedict

This research updates and expands upon Decker’s article “Citizen attitudes toward the police: a review of past findings and suggestions for future policy” by summarizing…

Abstract

This research updates and expands upon Decker’s article “Citizen attitudes toward the police: a review of past findings and suggestions for future policy” by summarizing the findings from more than 100 articles on perceptions of and attitudes toward the police. Initially, the value of research on attitudes toward the police is discussed. Then the research pertaining to the impact of individual level variables (e.g. race) and contextual level variables (e.g. neighborhood) on perceptions of the police is reviewed. Studies of juveniles’ attitudes toward the police, perceptions of police policies and practices, methodological issues and conceptual issues are also discussed. This review of the literature indicates that only four variables (age, contact with police, neighborhood, and race) have consistently been proven to affect attitudes toward the police. However, there are interactive effects between these and other variables which are not yet understood; a finding which indicates that theoretical generalizations about attitudes toward police should be made with caution.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2011

Henry P.H. Chow

The primary purpose of this paper is to examine attitudes toward the police in a sample of Canadian adolescents.

Abstract

Purpose

The primary purpose of this paper is to examine attitudes toward the police in a sample of Canadian adolescents.

Design/methodology/approach

Using survey data collected from 262 students attending 14 different high schools in a western Canadian city, the paper analyses adolescents' attitudes toward the local police. Criminal victimisation experience, police harassment or mistreatment experience, engagement in delinquent behaviour, and attitudes toward school among respondents were also explored.

Findings

The results demonstrated that respondents were only marginally positive in their evaluations of the police. Multiple ordinary least‐squares regression analysis demonstrated that respondents who were older and those who held more positive school attitudes, experienced no police mistreatment or harassment, reported no criminal victimisation, and exhibited lower propensity to engage in unlawful activities were found to rate the overall police performance significantly more favourably.

Research limitations/implications

As this study reports data based on a non‐random sample of high school students in one Canadian city, caution must be exercised in interpreting the results. Continued research attention should be devoted to high school student populations in other geographical locations.

Practical implications

Survey findings underscore the importance of the implementation of programs to foster a positive relationship between the police and young people, the promotion of student engagement with school, and the adoption of intervention strategies to reduce delinquent behaviour among at‐risk adolescents.

Originality/value

As only very few studies have explored police‐youth relations in Canada, this analysis offers insights into adolescents' perceptions of the police and factors contributing to their attitudes.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Brad W. Smith

One of the most consistent and widely discussed findings in research on citizens' attitudes toward the police is that African‐American citizens view the police less…

Abstract

Purpose

One of the most consistent and widely discussed findings in research on citizens' attitudes toward the police is that African‐American citizens view the police less favorably than do white citizens. Frank and his colleagues, however, found that in Detroit African‐American residents held more favorable views of the police than did white residents. They suggested that as a result of “ethno‐racial political transitions” occurring in large cities attitudes toward the police of both African‐American and white residents may have changed. The current study seeks to examine this issue in Washington, DC which has undergone similar demographic and political changes.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for the current study were taken from a 1998 survey of households in 12 US cities conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Findings

The results suggest that, although Washington, DC has undergone an “ethno‐racial political transition”, African‐American residents reported less satisfaction with the police than did white residents.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited by cross‐sectional data and the unique nature of politics and policing in Washington, DC. Future research using longitudinal data should consider these issues in other “transitioned” cities.

Originality/value

Examines African‐American and white citizens' attitudes toward police in Washington, DC.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2010

Doris C. Chu and Linda S.J. Hung

The purpose of this paper is to examine different aspects of Chinese immigrants' perceptions in San Francisco.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine different aspects of Chinese immigrants' perceptions in San Francisco.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data gathered from 198 Chinese immigrants were utilized to assess respondents' evaluations of the local police.

Findings

It was found that Chinese immigrants' satisfaction with police contact and perceptions imported from countries of origin were significantly associated with ratings of the police in the city. In addition, length of residence in the USA was inversely associated with evaluations of the police.

Research limitations/implications

The sampling method adopted in this study, not a probability procedure, to some extent may possibly reflect the perceptions of Chinese immigrants who were in need of cultural support and services from various social and community organizations in San Francisco. It should be noted from the descriptive statistics that the average education level for this sample is comparatively lower than it is for the overall Asian population in the USA. Also, only 11 percent of the respondents were under 24 years old. It is acknowledged that this sample may under‐represent the constituency of younger people or more established immigrants who do not need as much ethnic support or various types of services.

Originality/value

There is no other empirical research that specifically examines the Chinese community's perceptions of the police in San Francisco. The findings thus provide police administration a clear strategy to improve Chinese immigrants' perceptions of the police. Training in cultural sensitivity and communication skills, as well as professional attitudes of enforcement, may improve immigrants' satisfaction with the police during the contact, which can enhance Chinese immigrants' perceptions of the police.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 27 April 2018

Lisa M. Graziano

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of the literature examining the role of news media consumption and awareness in shaping public attitudes about police.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of the literature examining the role of news media consumption and awareness in shaping public attitudes about police.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive, systematic search of multiple academic databases (e.g. EBSCO Host) was undertaken, supplemented by the use of Google Scholar to search among journals indicated as having cited the articles found in the databases.

Findings

A total of 42 studies were identified that met the selection criteria for this meta-review and examined exposure to high-profile incidents involving police, awareness of negative news coverage of police, and/or consumption of specific news mediums (e.g. newspapers). Overall, research supports a relationship between negative perceptions of police and both exposure to high-profile incidents and awareness of negative coverage. Some support for the influence of consuming television news on attitudes exists, but more research is needed on the role of different news sources in shaping perceptions. Future research should also include determining causal pathways and how news about police is selected.

Originality/value

This is the first meta-review of the research examining how news media and attitudes about police are related. This study will provide a useful resource for those researchers wishing to continue to examine different aspects of news media consumption as a predictor of perceptions.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Joongyeup Lee and Jennifer C. Gibbs

Given the consistent finding in the literature that members of minority groups hold less favorable views of the police than white citizens, social distance may be an…

Abstract

Purpose

Given the consistent finding in the literature that members of minority groups hold less favorable views of the police than white citizens, social distance may be an important, yet untested, mediator. The purpose of this paper is to examine the mediating effect of social distance net of other established correlates.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of students attending a university in the northeastern USA completed an online survey in 2013. The survey was about their contact with the police, attitudes toward the police, and lifestyles, among others.

Findings

Race, along with other predictors, significantly influenced confidence in police. However, race is the only factor that turns nonsignificant when social distance is included in the model. Mediation tests confirmed that social distance mediates the relationship between race and confidence in the police.

Research limitations/implications

To maximize confidence in the police, administrators should focus on closing the social distance between the public and the police through initiatives like community policing.

Originality/value

While there is extensive research on public attitudes toward the police, social distance has been neglected as a determinant, despite movements like community policing that promote citizens’ relational closeness to the police – that is, to decrease the social distance between police and the public. The current study would be an exploratory study and reference for future studies.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Yuning Wu, Shanhe Jiang and Eric Lambert

This study aims to examine Chinese college students' support for community policing.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine Chinese college students' support for community policing.

Design/methodology/approach

Ordinary least squares regression was used to investigate support for community policing based on survey data collected from over 400 college students.

Findings

Results showed that college students in general had positive attitudes toward the philosophy and practices of community policing. Support for community policing was significantly related to concerns of crime, perceptions of police, and attachment to conventional society. Individual background characteristics had no significant effect on support for community policing.

Research limitations/implications

The use of a college student sample has its weaknesses in that findings of this study have a limited generalizability, and some important predictors in explaining public perceptions, such as neighborhood characteristics, were not included. Future research should collect data from the general public and examine public attitudes toward different elements of community policing, and both perceptual and behavioral dimensions of support for community policing.

Originality/value

This study represents the first attempt to examine Chinese perceptions of community policing empirically. Uncovering factors that affect public support for community policing can provide useful references for police administrators to develop policies and practices that encourage more active community involvement in crime control.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Hyeyoung Lim

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether indirect police contacts through observational learning models impact students’ trust in the police and their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether indirect police contacts through observational learning models impact students’ trust in the police and their perceptions of police bias.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a survey at two public universities in the mid-western and southern regions of the USA (921 out of 1,089 responses were retained for this study). The empirical analysis relied on a principle component factor analysis and a multivariate regression analysis.

Findings

Results show that three observational learning models (live, verbal, and symbolic) significantly influence perceptions of the police. In particular, the symbolic model is significant regardless of students’ direct and indirect contact experiences with the police.

Originality/value

This study is the first to examine the modeling effects on attitudes toward the police applying the classic social learning theory developed by Albert Bandura. The results highlight the importance of indirect police contact experiences in shaping young citizens’ perceptions of the police.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Sergio Herzog

In light of criticism against the Israel National Police in recent years for excessive use of physical force, the personal views of Israeli police officers were elicited…

Abstract

In light of criticism against the Israel National Police in recent years for excessive use of physical force, the personal views of Israeli police officers were elicited regarding the illegal use of force. Personal questionnaires were administered to a sample of police officers who had been investigated for using illegal force against citizens between 1989 and 1997. Informal messages contrary to the organization’s formal messages regarding the use of force, and justifying it in certain circumstances and for certain types of offense, seemed highly prevalent, especially among middle‐rank police officers. The results obtained provide support for the existence of a deviant organizational subculture.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1996

Liqun Cao, James Frank and Francis T. Cullen

Considers the impact of a range of variables on confidence in the police, including those given little or no previous attention, e.g. measures of crime experience and of…

Abstract

Considers the impact of a range of variables on confidence in the police, including those given little or no previous attention, e.g. measures of crime experience and of conservative political orientation. Draws data from a larger study of urban crime‐prevention issues based on Cincinnati, Ohio. Finds that respondents’ race is not a significant determinant of confidence in the police; the most important determinant being the community context. Suggests that neighborhood social integration may provide a supportive context which could encourage positive evaluation of formal institutional arrangements. Finds that attitudes toward the police (ATP) are regulated by the social context and that much of the existing research, which excluded contextual variables, may have been wrong in making race a significant variable. Notes that confidence in the police is higher in women than in men, but this may be due to a lower rate of antagonistic contact between police and women (not measured here).

Details

American Journal of Police, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0735-8547

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