Mar 12 2014

Analysis- should we trust the police?

Last week the mother of Stephen Lawrence said that she could not trust the police. This followed the  publication of the Independent review into the conduct of the Stephen Lawrence police enquiry which found evidence of police malpractice.

But what are the facts?

Here are some useful starting points for research.

How effective is the police service?

  • The Home Office commissions reviews of policing. These can be downloaded from the Uk government website
  • The Independent Police Complaints Commission has statistics and reports on levels of police corruption and abuse of powers. It also has some surveys on levels of public confidence in the complaints procedure.
  • The Police Foundation is an independent think tank which examines the effectiveness of policing. Reports and comment can be downloaded from its website
  • For a different perspective try the Police Federation website. This is a staff association and presents the opinion of serving police personnel.

Levels of Trust in the Police

  • Following the publication of the Lawrence review the level and nature of comment posted on the Guardian website is an interesting snapshot of public reaction.
  • The BBC commissioned a poll in October 2013 which measured whether levels of trust in the police were declining.
  • YouGov found levels steady in October 2013
  • For a wider view the IPSO Mori archive regularly surveys levels of trust in professions. This includes the police service. So you can compare it with other jobs and make comparisons over time.
  •  The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research poses questions about whether trust differs according to ethnicity.  Read their paper Different Things to Different People? The Meaning and Measurement of Trust and Confidence in Policing Across Diverse Social Groups in London
  • The European Social Survey provides data on levels of trust in the police in a number of EU nations. Consult the website for information on the methodology and access to the results.
  • Dr Lee Jackson has a list of papers associated with the ESS and other research projects dealing with trust in the police.

How can levels of trust be increased?

LSE Subscription services.

Use these to locate journal articles and papers

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