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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Robert E. Worden and Sarah J. McLean

The purpose of this paper is to review the “state of the art” in research on police legitimacy. The authors consider two bodies of theory and empirical research on police…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the “state of the art” in research on police legitimacy. The authors consider two bodies of theory and empirical research on police legitimacy: one rooted in social psychology and concerned with individual attitudes, and the other based on organizational institutionalism. The authors contrast the theories, discuss the methods with which propositions have been examined, and take stock of the empirical evidence. The authors then turn to a direct comparison of the theories and their predictions.

Design/methodology/approach

Critical review and comparison of two bodies of literature.

Findings

Police legitimacy is a phenomenon that can be properly understood only when it is addressed at both individual and organizational levels. A large body of social psychological research on police legitimacy has been conducted at the individual level, though it has dwelled mainly on attitudes, and the empirical evidence on the relationships of attitudes to behavior is weak. A much smaller body of research on organizational legitimacy in policing has accumulated, and it appears to have promise for advancing our understanding of police legitimacy.

Originality/value

The understanding of police legitimacy can be deepened by the juxtaposition of these two bodies of theory and research.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2014

Robert E. Worden, Christopher Harris and Sarah J. McLean

– The purpose of this paper is to critique contemporary tools for assessing and managing the risk of police misconduct and suggest directions for their improvement.

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2576

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critique contemporary tools for assessing and managing the risk of police misconduct and suggest directions for their improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on extant literature, synthesizing several lines of inquiry to summarize what the authors know about patterns of police misconduct, and what the authors know about assessing and managing police misconduct. Then the paper draws from the literature on offender risk assessment in criminal justice to draw lessons for assessing and managing the risk of police misconduct.

Findings

The authors found that there is good reason to believe that the tools used to assess the risk of misconduct make suboptimal predictions about officer performance because they rely on limited information of dubious value, but also that the predictive models on which the tools are based could be improved by better emulating procedures for assessing offenders’ risk of recidivism.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should examine cross-sectional and longitudinal patterns of misconduct and associations between risk-related outputs and enforcement activity, develop better measures of criterion variables, and evaluate the predictive accuracy of risk assessment tools.

Practical implications

Police managers should make better use of the information available to them, improve the quantity and quality of information if feasible, and cooperate in the necessary research.

Originality/value

This paper offers a new synthesis of extant research to demonstrate the limitations of contemporary provisions for assessing the risk of police misconduct, and potential avenues for useful research and improved practice.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1995

Robert E. Worden

No study has been made to identify systematically the elements of police officers’ belief systems. Most studies focus on one or more attitudes and ignore related findings…

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1358

Abstract

No study has been made to identify systematically the elements of police officers’ belief systems. Most studies focus on one or more attitudes and ignore related findings. Recent research has shown that police are heterogeneous in their attitudes, i.e., officers have divergent views about the ends and means of their functions. This article digests previous research and describes those belief systems which directly affect officers’ behavior. Reviews the typologies of White, Brown, Muir and Broderick and synthesizes these into five types: professional; tough‐cop; clean‐beat crime‐fighter; problem‐solver; avoider. Examines the outlook of these of five types in terms of human nature (e.g. cynicism), processes or outcomes (e.g. job satisfaction), and coercive authority. Calls for better conceptualization and measurement of police officers’ outlooks.

Details

American Journal of Police, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0735-8547

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

John D. McCluskey and Michael Reisig

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a series of hypotheses regarding the use of procedurally just policing during suspect encounters.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a series of hypotheses regarding the use of procedurally just policing during suspect encounters.

Design/methodology/approach

Systematic social observation data from police encounters with suspects are used (N=939). Ordinary least-squares regression models are estimated to evaluate the effects of four variable clusters (i.e. suspect self-presentation, situational factors, suspect social characteristics, and officer characteristics) on procedurally just policing practices.

Findings

Results from the regression models show that the most salient predictors of police officers exercising authority in a procedurally just manner include the level of self-control displayed by suspects, the number of citizen onlookers, whether the encounter involved a traffic problem, the race/ethnicity of suspects, and suspects’ social status.

Research limitations/implications

This study focused only on police-suspects encounters where compliance requests were made. While the size of the sample is relatively large, the results from this study do not generalize to all types of police encounters with members of the public.

Originality/value

This research adds to an emerging body of research focused on predicting procedurally just practices in police encounters. The findings support increased attention to theories that explain police-citizens interactions, and also indicate that further consideration to the measurement of police behavior is warranted.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 22 August 2010

Kimberly D. Hassell and Carol A. Archbold

This study aims to examine the relationship between officer characteristics, productivity levels, situational context, the complaint process and allegations of police…

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1825

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the relationship between officer characteristics, productivity levels, situational context, the complaint process and allegations of police misconduct in a Midwestern municipal police agency.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected for all formal and informal complaints filed against patrol officers from 2002‐2005. Demographic information, arrest, citation and report data, as well as data regarding the number of officers on scene during the police citizen contact that resulted in the complaint were utilized in these analyses.

Findings

The analyses in this study demonstrate that more aggressive officers – those who issue a greater number of citations – will generate a greater number of complaints of misconduct. Two variables explain the processing of formal complaints: number of officers present and the nature of the complaint. Further, the analyses indicate that informal complaints are a viable source of data and that the collection and archival of informal complaints can be a useful indicator for internal control of police misconduct.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that police departments must employ internal mechanisms, such as early warning systems to deal with police misconduct. Internal monitoring of police conduct may be the best way to detect misconduct as relying solely on citizen complaints as measures of police misconduct does not appear to be warranted.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the literature on complaints of police misconduct by including several variables not previously examined. Further, this study analyzes both formal and informal complaints; there are no other studies that examine informal complaints of misconduct. This study also investigates the complaint process, including frequency, nature, disposition and discipline administered following disposition of formal complaints.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1998

Richard A. Wright and J. Mitchell Miller

Although numerous studies recently have appeared that identify the most‐cited scholars and works in the general criminology and criminal justice literature and in several…

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1536

Abstract

Although numerous studies recently have appeared that identify the most‐cited scholars and works in the general criminology and criminal justice literature and in several specialty areas, no previous citation study has specifically examined the police studies literature. Through an analysis of 370 articles and research notes appearing from 1991 to 1995 in the areas of police studies, published in Criminology, Justice Quarterly, and four academic periodicals devoted to police studies, we list the 50 most‐cited scholars and the 36 most‐cited works. The lists of the most‐cited scholars and works in the specialty area of police studies are compared to general lists taken from leading criminology and criminal justice journals and introductory textbooks. We conclude with some thoughts about the relevance of citation analysis to specialists in police studies.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2014

Christopher Harris

– The purpose of this paper is to investigate the factors which contribute to, or mitigate against, both the likelihood and timing of the onset of police misconduct.

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2666

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the factors which contribute to, or mitigate against, both the likelihood and timing of the onset of police misconduct.

Design/methodology/approach

Research hypotheses were tested examining the first personnel complaint filed against officers, using both all complaints and only substantiated complaints, from data collected on a large cohort of officers followed over a substantial portion of their careers.

Findings

Black officers and those exhibiting poor academy performance were at an increased likelihood of onset when compared to white and Hispanic officers and those who did better in the academy, while having a college degree lowered this likelihood. Officers whose first complaints were filed by citizens, and officers working certain patrol zones had quicker onset times. Those officers whose first complaint was related to service, as well as officers with prior military service, had longer onset times.

Research limitations/implications

This study relies on personnel complaints to measure onset, was conducted in a very large police department, and does not include arrest data on officers over time.

Practical implications

Onset occurs early in officers’ careers. Some factors are consistent across complaint types, while others depend on whether all complaints or only substantiated complaints are used to measure onset, which suggests that future research should consider carefully which measure they employ.

Originality/value

This study employs a longitudinal data set which follows a cohort of officers from the start of their careers, and is thus ideal for exploring the onset of misconduct.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Kerry Ward

This chapter explores the implications of patrimonial politics in the Dutch East India Company empire in the context of establishing a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope…

Abstract

This chapter explores the implications of patrimonial politics in the Dutch East India Company empire in the context of establishing a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa in the mid-seventeenth century. The Cape extended the reach of Company patrimonial networks with elite Company officials circulating throughout the Indian Ocean empire and consolidating their familial ties through marriage both within the colonies and in the United Provinces. These patrimonial networks extended to the Cape as elite Company officials created families locally or married Cape-born women. As the colony grew, the Company created a class of free-burghers some the wealthiest of whom were tied directly into elite Company patrimonial networks. But from the early eighteenth century onwards these elite Company networks came into conflict with the evolving free-burgher patrimonial networks with which they were in direct competition. This paper argues that local patrimonial networks can evolve in a settler colony that challenge the elite patrimonial networks of the imperial elite.

Details

Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2011

Kenneth J. Novak, Robert A. Brown and James Frank

The current research seeks to examine whether officer gender influences the decision to arrest, and whether correlates of officer decision making vary across gender.

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1280

Abstract

Purpose

The current research seeks to examine whether officer gender influences the decision to arrest, and whether correlates of officer decision making vary across gender.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on police‐public encounters were systematically collected by performing social observations of police officers. Multivariate models were estimated to examine the correlates of arrest for all encounters, encounters involving male officers, and encounters involving female officers. Results were compared and contrasted across officer gender.

Findings

Gender has little direct impact on the arrest decision; however, some variation exists depending on citizens' race, gender and demeanor. The most noteworthy differences were observed based upon whether officer actions are conducted in the presence of other members of the organization, and where these other members are in the organizational hierarchy. Female officers were significantly more likely to arrest when observed by supervisors, yet less likely to arrest in the presence of peers. The visibility to other organizational members conditions the decision to arrest differently for female officers.

Research limitations/implications

The current research is limited to examining only the decision to arrest. Other discretionary choices made during police‐public encounters are not explored.

Practical implications

Results have implications for the examination of how social control is exercised across gender, and has implications for how organizations evaluate officer performance.

Originality/value

This research expands the understanding of the influence of officer gender on arrest decision.

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: 2 July 2018

William Terrill, Jason Robert Ingram, Logan J. Somers and Eugene A. Paoline III

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the relationship between police use of force and citizen complaints alleging improper use of force.

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1498

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the relationship between police use of force and citizen complaints alleging improper use of force.

Design/methodology/approach

The current study utilizes official use of force and citizen complaint data, as well as surveys of patrol officers, from the Assessing Police Use of Force Policy and Outcomes Project, a multimethod National Institute of Justice funded study.

Findings

Bivariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the number of use of force incidents that officers were involved in, as well as the types and levels of resistance they encountered from citizens, was related to use of force complaints from citizens. That is, those officers that were involved in more use of force situations were engaged in force encounters where the highest level of citizen resistance was “failure to comply,” and faced higher cumulative levels of citizen resistance, received more complaints alleging improper use of force.

Research limitations/implications

Studies of citizen complaints against police officers, especially those alleging improper use of force, should consider the number of force incidents officers are involved in, as well as other theoretically relevant force correlates.

Practical implications

Administrators, concerned with citizen allegations for improper use of force against their officers, should work to encourage their personnel to minimize the number of use of force applications, or at least less cumulative force, to resolve encounters with citizens.

Originality/value

While prior studies have examined police use of force and citizen complaints independently, the current study examines the empirical connection between use of force behavior and the generation of complaints from citizens.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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