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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2021

Natasha S. Madon and Kristina Murphy

Since 9/11, Muslims have experienced discrimination and scrutiny from authorities. For many, this experience has damaged their trust in law enforcement and left them with…

Abstract

Purpose

Since 9/11, Muslims have experienced discrimination and scrutiny from authorities. For many, this experience has damaged their trust in law enforcement and left them with the impression that they are viewed as suspect. This study seeks to better understand the relationship between Muslims' perceived police bias and trust, and how procedural justice may shape this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected survey data from 398 Muslims in Sydney, Australia, as part of a larger study on immigrants' views of police. Participants were surveyed on a range of topics including contact with police, global assessments of police procedural justice and how they believe police treat their cultural group.

Findings

Overall, the authors find that the extent to which people perceive police bias is associated with their level of trust in police. Greater preconceived bias is associated with lower trust in police. The authors also find that perceiving police as procedurally just is positively related to trust. Importantly, this study finds a significant interaction effect between perceptions of police bias and procedural justice on Muslims' trust in police. Specifically, for those who hold the view that police are unbiased, perceiving police as generally procedural just has a strong positive effect on trust. For those who view police as biased against Muslims, procedural justice has a weak but positive effect on trust. This interaction effect suggests that perceived bias may shape how Muslims interpret police treatment of Muslims.

Originality/value

This study is the first to explore how perceived police bias and perceptions of procedural justice predict and interact to shape Muslims' trust in police, advancing existing procedural justice policing scholarship.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Brian C. Renauer and Emma Covelli

This paper aims to use three theoretical perspectives to understand variation in public opinion regarding the frequency with which police use race/ethnicity unfairly in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to use three theoretical perspectives to understand variation in public opinion regarding the frequency with which police use race/ethnicity unfairly in making stops: procedural and instrumental justice, local government responsiveness, and intra‐racial differences.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper looks at data from a telephone survey of 1,431 Oregon residents: 741 from a stratified state‐wide random sample by county; 164 African‐Americans and 161 Hispanics over samples.

Findings

Perceived negative treatment during recent involuntary police contacts is related to a perception that police are more biased. Instrumental judgments regarding local government responsiveness to constituent needs and personal safety showed a negative relationship to perceptions of police bias. African‐American respondents exhibited the strongest police bias opinions; however, intra‐racial analyses showed that perceptions of government responsiveness weaken bias perceptions across race/ethnicity.

Research limitations/implications

Research needs to explore how the public's relationship to their local government influences perceptions of police. The conclusions of the study are limited by the cross‐sectional design.

Practical implications

The study illustrates that proper police‐citizen communication tactics, stop and investigatory procedures, and ethical decision making should continue to be reinforced along with better promotion of local government and police success in meeting constituent needs through the media.

Originality/value

The paper examines the influence of both procedural and instrumental justice perceptions, and voluntary and involuntary police contacts. The sample contains sufficient numbers of African‐Americans and Hispanics and diverse communities (urban, suburban, and rural) to gain a representative view.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Stephen K. Rice and Alex R. Piquero

There has been limited analysis on the intersections of race, gender, inequality (e.g. education, income), and procedural/distributive justice and the perceived prevalence…

Abstract

Purpose

There has been limited analysis on the intersections of race, gender, inequality (e.g. education, income), and procedural/distributive justice and the perceived prevalence of racially biased policing. Using data from a sample of New York City residents who were asked to judge the New York City Police Department on measures related to racially biased policing and to procedural/distributive justice, this paper builds a perception of discrimination composite tied to perceived personal experience with officer bias and to beliefs regarding the perceived prevalence and justification for such behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the bivariate relation between race and the perception of discrimination composite is examined. Then, logistic regression is employed to explain the composite with the complement of demographic and attitudinal variables. Finally, split sample analyses are conducted to examine demographic and attitudinal variables separately for blacks and non‐blacks.

Findings

Blacks were three times more likely than non‐blacks to perceive that racially biased policing was widespread, unjustified, and personally experienced, and this finding held after controlling for demographic and attitudinal variables. It suggests that the “black effect” operates independently of income and education, raising questions about the claim that race has made way for class in key aspects of social life.

Originality/value

By focusing on issues of power and control, the police define their interactions with members of the public in very specific ways, and such power orientations may lead to increased conflict. The present study suggests that a disproportionate subset of NYC residents perceive general and specific discriminatory action related to racially biased policing and procedural injustice.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 10 April 2019

Steven F. Lehrer and Louis-Pierre Lepage

Prior analyses of racial bias in the New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk program implicitly assumed that potential bias of police officers did not vary by crime type and that…

Abstract

Prior analyses of racial bias in the New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk program implicitly assumed that potential bias of police officers did not vary by crime type and that their decision of which type of crime to report as the basis for the stop did not exhibit any bias. In this paper, we first extend the hit rates model to consider crime type heterogeneity in racial bias and police officer decisions of reported crime type. Second, we reevaluate the program while accounting for heterogeneity in bias along crime types and for the sample selection which may arise from conditioning on crime type. We present evidence that differences in biases across crime types are substantial and specification tests support incorporating corrections for selective crime reporting. However, the main findings on racial bias do not differ sharply once accounting for this choice-based selection.

Details

The Econometrics of Complex Survey Data
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-726-9

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Michael R. Smith, Jeff J. Rojek, Matthew Petrocelli and Brian Withrow

The purpose of this paper is to provide a contemporary review of the research on racial disparities in police decision making.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a contemporary review of the research on racial disparities in police decision making.

Design/methodology/approach

State of the art literature review.

Findings

The findings are mixed on racial disparities in the primary policing domains of stops, arrests, use of force, and neighborhood deployment. While minorities are often overrepresented among those subjected to police enforcement actions, these findings vary considerably. Almost all of the current studies that have reported racial disparities in the exercise of police authority lack the methodological rigor or statistical precision to draw cause and effect inferences.

Research limitations/implications

Efforts underway to document the impact of body-worn cameras on citizen complaints and force used by police could be extended to examine the impact of cameras on racial disparities in other enforcement-related outcomes such as arrests, stops and frisks, or searches. In addition, evaluating the effects of police training, such as anti-bias training or training on police legitimacy, on reducing racial disparities in police enforcement outcomes is another promising line of research inquiry.

Originality/value

This paper provides a concise review of the current state of the literature on a topic that is dominating the national conversation currently underway about the role of the police in American society.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 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 August 1995

Mary Cuadrado

Questions a sample of criminal justice students to show that when officer competence is evaluated in terms of professionalism rather than confrontational issues, bias

Abstract

Questions a sample of criminal justice students to show that when officer competence is evaluated in terms of professionalism rather than confrontational issues, bias against women is not found, whereas evaluation variables based on potentially violent situations promote the belief that women are not as well fitted as men for constant exposure to violent confrontation. Cautions against the danger of presenting discrete images of a male “brute force” and a female “professional force”. Finds indications that increased recruitment of women, gender sensitivity training and a higher level of officers’ education may change existing attitudes toward the police.

Details

American Journal of Police, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0735-8547

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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2018

Anthony Gennaro Vito, Elizabeth L. Grossi and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of racial profiling when the traffic stop outcome is a search using focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of racial profiling when the traffic stop outcome is a search using focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation for police officer decision making and propensity score matching (PSM) as a better analysis to understand the race of the driver.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study come from traffic stops conducted by the Louisville Police Department between January 1 and December 31, 2002.

Findings

The results show that the elements of focal concerns theory matter most when it comes to if a traffic stop that resulted in a search even though racial profiling was evident. The use of PSM provides evidence that it is a better statistical technique when studying racial profiling. The gender of the driver was significant for male drivers but not for female drivers.

Research limitations/implications

The data for this study are cross-sectional and are self-report data from the police officer.

Practical implications

This paper serves as a theoretical explanation that other researchers could use when studying racial profiling along with a better type of statistical analysis being PSM.

Social implications

The findings based on focal concerns theory could provide an explanation for police officer decision making that police departments could use to help citizens understand why a traffic stop search took place.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its kind to the researcher’s knowledge to apply focal concerns theory with PSM to understand traffic stop searches.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Merry Morash, Dae‐Hoon Kwak and Robin Haarr

The research compared the predictors of work‐related stress for policemen and policewomen. Stressors included workplace problems, token status in the organization, low…

Abstract

Purpose

The research compared the predictors of work‐related stress for policemen and policewomen. Stressors included workplace problems, token status in the organization, low family and coworker support, and community and organizational conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

In 11 police departments, racial and ethnic minorities were oversampled. Of 2,051 officers sampled, 46.2 percent responded. Questions and scales were adapted from prior research on both males and females. Regression analysis revealed the strength of individual predictors of stress, the variance explained by workplace problems, and the additional variance explained by social support, token status, and community and organizational context.

Findings

Workplace problems explained more male's than female's stress. Regardless of gender, the strongest predictor of stress was bias of coworkers, and a weaker predictor was language harassment. Just for males, lack of influence over work and appearance‐related stigmatization were additional predictors. Workplace problems explained gender differences in stress that were related to token status as a female.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was not representative of all police in the USA. Measures of community and organizational characteristics were highly intercorrelated, so they could not be examined separately. Especially, for women, there is a need to identify additional sorts of influence on stress.

Practical implications

Although individual interventions and coping strategies are important for reducing police officer stress, changes in the organizational context also deserve attention. There is a need to develop and test interventions to reduce bias among coworkers, to contain language harassment, and to provide police with an increased sense of control over their work.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on stress within the policing environment.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2020

Anthony G. Vito, Vanessa Woodward Griffin, Gennaro F. Vito and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to draw a better understanding of the potential impact of daylight in officer decision making. In order to this, the authors test the veil of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw a better understanding of the potential impact of daylight in officer decision making. In order to this, the authors test the veil of darkness hypothesis, which theorizes that racial bias in traffic stops can be tested by controlling for the impact of daylight, while operating under the assumption that driver patterns remain constant across race.

Design/methodology/approach

Publicly available traffic-stop records from the Louisville Metro Police Department for January 2010–2019. The analysis includes both propensity score matching to examine the impact of daylight in similarly situated stops and coefficients testing to analyze how VOD may vary in citation-specific models.

Findings

The results show that using PSM following the VOD hypothesis does show evidence of racial bias, with Black drivers more likely to be stopped. Moreover, the effects of daylight significantly varied across citation-specific models.

Research limitations/implications

The data are self-reported from the officer and do not contain information on the vehicle make or model.

Practical implications

This paper shows that utilizing PSM and coefficients testing provides for a better analysis following the VOD hypothesis and does a better job of understanding the impact of daylight and the officer decision-making on traffic stops.

Social implications

Based on the quality of the data, the findings show that the use of VOD allows for the performance of more rigorous analyses of traffic stop data – giving police departments a better way to examine if racial profiling is evident.

Originality/value

This is the first study (to the researchers' knowledge) that applies the statistical analyses of PSM to the confines of the veil of darkness hypothesis.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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