Crime Prevention Research Review No. 10: Legitimacy in Policing

Research shows that citizens are more likely to cooperate with the police when they view the police's authority as legitimate. One way the police can increase their legitimacy is by using "procedurally just" dialogue that treats citizens with dignity and respect, conveys trustworthy motives, allows citizens to express their views, and shows neutrality in decision making. The objective of this review was to systematically assess the direct and indirect benefits of interventions led by the public police that contained elements of this type of dialogue. A final set of 30 studies contained data suitable for meta-analysis. The direct outcomes analyzed were legitimacy, procedural justice, and citizen cooperation/compliance and satisfaction/confidence in the police. The review found interventions that comprised dialogue with a procedural justice component or that specifically stated the intervention sought to increase legitimacy did enhance citizens' views on the legitimacy of the police with all direct outcomes apart from legitimacy itself being statistically significant.

Federal Sponsor Agency: COPS

Provider: The Campbell Collaboration

Publication Date: 2013

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