Professor Jonathan Jackson from the London School of Economics (External link) was recently in Australia to discuss his research on the topic of trust in police.

Professor Jackson’s extensive research explores what influences public perceptions of police legitimacy, and the importance of this as a direct contributor to social order, and the willingness of citizens to co-operate with police.

Analysing data collected from across Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe, Professor Jackson found that individuals tend to base their perceptions of the criminal justice system more broadly on their own encounters with police, and that procedural justice during police encounters strongly influences perceptions of trust and legitimacy. His research found that the structural and social characteristics, for example the ‘feel’, of a neighbourhood can also affect levels of trust and fear of crime.

Professor Jackson’s work also highlights that people are more likely to support and co-operate with the law when they:

  • believe that police treat the public fairly and with respect, based on their experience
  • can identify with the police through a set of shared norms
  • trust that the police will not abuse their power
  • have faith in police motives
  • are given the opportunity to have a 'voice' during their encounters with police.

For more information on Professor Jackson and his work on trust in police, visit the London School of Economics and Political Science website (External link).

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