Presentation on theme: "New directions in research on public confidence in policing: Trust, legitimacy and consent Scottish Institute for Policing Research seminar series,"— Presentation transcript:
1 New directions in research on public confidence in policing: Trust, legitimacy and consent Scottish Institute for Policing Research seminar series, 12th February 2008Jonathan Jackson, LSE
2 Outline Overall argument Policy relevance of confidence and legitimacy Introducing instrumental and expressive modelsFocus on fear of crime vs. neighbourhood stability concernsNew definition of trust/confidence and legitimacyModelling trust/confidence and legitimacy:Primary importance of procedural justice and identification with police valuesOnly secondary importance of instrumental judgements of police effectiveness
3 Three strands to the argument It is important to go beyond single indicators of public trust/confidence in policingto unpick different components of confidence (according to sociological theory on trust); and,to add legitimacy (perceived obligation to obey the directives of a legal authority plus specific acts of cooperation and compliance)Why?Because different components of trust/confidence have different correlates and different consequences; and,Components of confidence and legitimacy/consent can be put back together again to form powerful explanatory models
4 ‘The impotence of pure power’ (Zelditch, 2001) Legitimacy may be more important than public confidence because legitimacy facilitates social regulationLegitimacy is a ‘psychological property of an authority, institution, or social arrangement that leads those connected to it to believe that it is appropriate, proper, and just’ (Tyler, 2006)Legitimacy brings feelings of responsibility and obligation and ‘cumulative, individual acts of compliance or confidence’ (Bendix, 1977).Self-regulation achieves compliance with the law more efficiently than coercion:Hough (2003: 146–7): ‘ the police function depends critically on the authority that the police can command, rather than the force that they can deploy as a last resort’
5 What underpins confidence and legitimacy? By modelling attitudes towards the police (i.e. components of public confidence in policing) and legitimacy and consent, we can identify key underlying processesAre symbolic/expressive factors more important than instrumental factors in confidence and legitimacy?Concerns about neighbourhood stability and cohesion more important than fear of crime?Judgements of procedural justice, community engagement and police values more important than judgements of police effectiveness in driving legitimacy and compliance?
6 Policy relevance: nothing new ‘Policing by consent’ is an old ideaPeople obey laws and cooperate with authorities when they see laws as legitimate (they ought to be obeyed) and authorities as entitled to be obeyed: self-regulation achieves compliance with the law more efficiently than coercionThe criminal justice system functions more effectively when people report crimes, give police and courts information, etc.Plus, broader cultural significance of public confidence and legitimacy:Citizens have a right to feel that their Government (an its system of criminal justice) protects and supports them
7 Policy relevance: why current interest? Been on and off agenda for two decades: scandals and tensions; the police are no longer a symbol of a stable social orderCurrent interest can be linked to:Falling levels of public confidence in the policeFalling crime but no improvement in confidencePublic are ever-vocal in their demands for greater visibility and accessibilityCurrent policing strategies (e.g. reassurance policing) try to move away from narrow crime targets to deal with fear of crime, public confidence, lay concerns about disorder, and crime
8 What is public confidence in policing? Loose construct: a short-hand for trust, legitimacy and consentMeasured by the British Crime Survey as ‘How good a job do you think the [local/national] police are doing?’….A summary measure of public satisfaction with the policeNo assessment of public perceptions of the legitimacy of the police, nor specific acts of compliance and confidence (intentions to report crimes, identify criminals, come forward with information, etc.)
9 Developing our conceptual tools It is important to develop conceptual and methodological tools in public confidence in policingThis will allow us to:Tease apart different components of trust and confidenceTease apart different aspects of legitimacy (public willingness to obey the police) and the specific acts of compliance or confidenceShow the relationships between components of confidence and legitimacy/consent
10 Study oneLooks at the single indicator of public confidence in local policingDemonstrates the ability of testing competing models
11 Instrumental vs expressive/symbolic models Following previous research (Tyler & Boeckmann, 1997; Sunshine & Tyler, 2003a, 2003b; Jackson & Sunshine, 2007), study one tests two competing models:Instrumental model:confidence in policing is rooted in fear of crime;legitimacy and consent is rooted in attitudes towards the effectiveness of the policeExpressive model:confidence in policing is rooted in public concerns over neighbourhood stability (disorder, cohesion, collective efficacy);legitimacy and consent is rooted in attitudes towards procedural justice, police engagement with the community, and public identification with the police
12 Study one 2003/2004 British Crime Survey 2007 Safer Neighbourhoods SurveyThe focus is not yet on legitimacy and consentFirst research question: is public confidence in policing (measured by ‘How good a job are the local police doing?’) more highly associated with fear of crime than with concerns about community (or vice versa)?Second research question: what is the role of broader anxieties about social change and Law and Order?
13 2003/2004 British Crime Survey Perceptions of the risk of crime Fear of crimeNeighbourhood disorder.12*.20*How good a job are the local police doing?Informal social controls.17*Crime rates.07*Social cohesion
14 2007 Safer Neighbourhoods Survey Fear of crimeNeighbourhood disorderAnxieties about social change and Law and Order.07*.36*Confidence in local police effectivenessInformal social controls.07*.11*
15 Conclusions from study one Public opinion was driven less by worries about crime and more by concerns about a decline in community and a loss of discipline and moral authorityThe public think about the police as symbolic ‘guardians’ of social stability and order, holding them responsible for community values and informal social controls (less responsible for risk, crime and safety):People look to the police to be prototypical representatives of community values, as neo-Durkheimian defenders of group norms and neighbourhood stability
16 Conclusions from study one Reiner (2000) suggested that the police are faced with the paradox that they appear more successful the less they are necessaryStudy one suggests that not only are the police judged by the lack of need for them, but also by public diagnoses of local values and moral structures:Police appear successful not just when crime does not occur but also when the conditions seen to be conducive to crime are not presentSo perceived withdrawal of informal social controls and moral authority is linked to perceived withdrawal of formal agents of social control and moral authority (e.g. police)
17 Some conceptual work on trust While basic definitions can vary, trust is typically defined as beliefs and expectations that some institution or actor will act in a particular way in a particular contextFor Luhmann (1979, p. 93): ‘[trust] reduces social complexity by going beyond available information and generalising expectations of behaviour in that it replaces information with an internally guaranteed security’In the case of the police, this may involve the sense that the police is performing its function effectively and fairly – administering justice, defending norms and values, and generating security.
18 Some conceptual work on trust Barber (1983) shares Luhmann’s perspective on trust concerning its function – the reduction of complexity – but distinguishes between three types of expectation:value compatibility (so, people may judge whether police reflect the values and morals of themselves and their community);the expectation that actors or institutions will perform their role in a technically competent manner (so, people may judge whether the police are effective at dealing with crime); and,that actors or institutions will demonstrate ‘fiduciary responsibility’, to act with special concern for other’s interests above their own (so, people may judge whether the police operate with integrity (with distributive and procedural fairness);
19 Unpicking different components of confidence Thus far in this paper, public confidence in policing has been measured by either ‘how good a job are the local police doing?’ (BCS) or by an index of public attitudes towards the effectiveness of the police (SNS)The 2005/2006 Metropolitan Police Public Attitudes Survey differentiates between:attitudes towards the effectiveness of the policeattitudes towards the fairness or integrity of the police (procedural justice)attitudes towards police engagement with the communityStudy two assesses this definition and examines whether different components of confidence have different correlates
21 Examining the correlates of (a) effectiveness, (b) fairness, and (c) community engagement … Females were less confident than males about effectiveness and community engagement, but no difference with perceived fairnessYounger people were less confident than older people about effectiveness and fairness, but weaker effect for community engagementStronger ethnicity contrasts in fairness compared to both effectiveness and community engagemente.g. Black Carribeans less confident than Whites in police fairness, but no difference in police effectiveness or community engagementContact with the police had bigger effects on police fairness and community engagementWhile poorly received contact had a consistently negative impact, well received contact had a positive association on fairness and community engagement (not on effectiveness)
23 Instrumental vs expressive models Perceptions of the crime problemFear of crime.15*.07*.23*Police effectivenessInformal social controls.09*.07*Neighbourhood disorderDeprivationPolice engagement.23*.05*Social cohesion.23*Police fairness
24 Summary thus farConfidence seems more of a product of public concerns about neighbourhood stability and breakdown than instrumental concerns over crimeConcerns about neighbourhood stability also reflect broader social anxieties about the decline of community and the loss of moral authorityUnderpinning confidence may be public attitudes towards police effectiveness, police fairness, and police community engagementThese different components of confidence can have different top-line %s and correlates
25 What about legitimacy and consent? Low public confidence in policing is significant because it creates political pressure which translates into changing priorities and policy initiatives (e.g. ‘reassurance policing’)But the significance of public confidence is also seen in legitimacy and specific acts of compliance, confidence and cooperationFor example, if certain groups (like young British Asians) see police as ‘corrupt’ and ‘unfair’, and as not representative of their community and their interests, will this erode legitimacy and support amongst this group?Does damaged relations between the police and certain groups only exacerbate existing problems?Do different components of confidence have different associations with legitimacy and consent?
26 Lessons from New York City: Study three Tyler and colleagues have long studied police legitimacy and notions of procedural justiceUS research, although growing interest elsewhereStudy three draws on data from a study conducted by Tyler & Sunshine (a representative sample survey of New York City residents conducted in early 2001)Goal is to examine more advanced conceptual and methodological tools
27 Measuring the constructs Procedural justicee.g.: ‘The police in your neighborhood.. Give honest explanations for their actions to the people they deal with’ and ‘… Treat people with dignity and respect’Distributive fairnesse.g.: ‘The police in your neighborhood provide better police service to the wealthy than to the average citizen.’Police effectivenesse.g.: ‘How effective are the police in fighting crime in your neighborhood?’Identification with the policee.g.: ‘Most of the police officers who work in your neighborhood would value what you contribute to your neighborhood’ and ‘The moral values of most police officers are similar to your own.’
28 Measuring the constructs Legitimacye.g.: ‘You should accept the decisions made by police, even if you think they are wrong’Compliance with the lawe.g.: ‘How often do you follow the laws and rules... against buying possibly stolen items on the street’Cooperation with the policee.g.: ‘(If the situation arose...) How likely would you be to call the police to report a crime occurring in your neighborhood’
29 Scaling of the data revealed good measures and distinct concepts Procedural justiceDistributive fairnessPolice effectivenessPublic identification with the morals and values of the policeLegitimacyCooperation with the policeCompliance with the law
30 Study three Compliance with the law Procedural justice .07*Procedural justice.07*.29*.27*Distributive fairness.03Police legitimacy.10*Cooperation with the police.03.06*Police effectiveness
31 Importance of procedural justice ‘When people are making evaluations of the legitimacy of social authorities, they focus almost exclusively upon their assessments of the fairness of the procedures those authorities use to make decisions (i.e. on procedural fairness)’ (Tyler, 2001: 416)
32 Importance of procedural justice Explanation lies in social psychological processes:Group leaders, rules, norms, and values symbolically represent the group, and provide identity-relevant information to individualsThe manner in which group members are treated by their leaders communicates information to the individual about their status within the groupLind and Tyler (1988) argue that procedural issues are important because people use their evaluations of process to gain self-knowledge and construct their personal identities:beliefs about process represent a connection between individuals and the larger groups they belong to
33 Tyler’s work on police legitimacy and ‘process based policing’ Legitimacy is defined as the feeling amongst the public that an authority or institution is entitled to be obeyed… constitutes an internal motivation guiding people to engage in law-abiding behaviourProcess based policing rests on the assumption that social regulation is best achieved by tapping into individuals’ internal motivations for controlling their own behaviourFor example, when a person believes that obeying the rules is inherently the right way to conduct oneself, the external threat of sanction for violating the rules is not necessaryThe extent that authorities can rely on individuals’ internal mechanisms for self-control, the less resources must be devoted to external means of regulating behaviour
34 Some more notes on trust But note: in study three, legitimacy did not have very big effects on compliance and cooperationMight something else be going on here?Earle and Cvetkovitch (1995) argue that people require rather a lot of information about actors and institutions in order to decide whether or not to grant trust;this requires considerable effortThey claim that ‘social trust’ is largely based on salient value similarity or value compatibility, a ‘groundless’ trust, needing no justificationRather than deducing trustworthiness from direct evidence, people infer it from ‘value-bearing narratives’, which could be information shortcuts, available images, schema and the like
35 Some more notes on trust With policing, value compatibility may translate into a general public identification with the social and moral values of the policeIf people see an alignment between the law and their own moral values, they may regulate themselves and help the police(this is separate to legitimacy: the feeling amongst the public that an authority or institution is entitled to be obeyed)
36 Study three Police legitimacy Compliance with the law .04*Compliance with the law.29*.15*Procedural justice.27*.06*Distributive fairness.40*Cooperation with the police.07*.68*Police effectiveness.10*Identification with police values
37 Summary of study threeSo net of legitimacy, alignment with values expressed by the police (and the law more generally) was an important predictor of cooperation and complianceProcedural justice also shaped this value alignmentSo group cooperation and compliance may be based on ways in which authority treats subordinates and the norms and values that they are seen to espouse:By treating people fairly and with dignity, authorities can communicate to citizens that they both embody community values and seek to strengthen them (Jackson & Sunshine, 2007; Sunshine and Tyler 2003).
38 Study four Finally, moving back to the UK 2000 Policing for London study is unusual in that it fielded measures of:Public attitudes towards the effectiveness of the policePublic attitudes towards the fairness and integrity of the policeIntention to support the police and the criminal justice system
39 Study fourBriefly, intention to support the police was associated with both:Public attitudes towards the effectiveness of the policePublic attitudes towards the fairness and integrity of the policeThis was net of socio-demographics, contact, fear of crime and concerns about community cohesionAnother reminder that:Public confidence in policing has consequences; and,Public confidence has different components
40 Discussion of studies 1-4 Importance of unpicking different aspects of trust and confidence in the policeImportance of adding legitimacy: public belief that the police are entitled to be obeyed; and specific acts of compliance and cooperationEvidence for more symbolic/expressive factors driving both confidence and legitimacy:Fear of crime less important than concerns about neighbourhood stability and cohesionProcedural justice (the communication of group status) and identification with police-values more important than perceptions of police effectiveness and distributive fairness
41 Where next?Need to test and develop Tyler’s process-based policing model in the UKOnly Policing for London study has asked about confidence and intention to support the policeIn particular, interesting to explore the notion of community engagement alongside identification with the police
42 Where next?To what extent do the public differentiate between different members of the ‘policing family’?What is the impact of broader changes in policing and increasing tensions:between addressing ‘neighbourhood crimes’ and ‘serious crimes’;between centrally determined performance management targets and local priorities/discretion;between maintaining security and respecting human rights; and,between the role of the police and the role of policing.What are the implications of transnationalism and the rise of the ‘global neighbourhood’ for trust in the British police and policing?