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?
- The Institute of Race Relations argues that accountability should be increased. Its website has other useful resources on policing and ethnic communities.
- The Runnymede Trust also has materials relating to the police and race relations.
- Policy Exchange has some interesting suggestions on rebooting confidence in the police
- As does the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. The latter includes the results of leaflets on public trust in the police in London.
- Also useful is this recent doctoral thesis. Hohl, Katrin (2011) The role of mass media and police communication in trust in the police: new approaches to the analysis of survey and media data. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The full text can be downloaded.
- The National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts Database (USA) provides free access to a searchable database of abstracts of journal articles and reports covering all aspects of policing and police reform.
LSE Subscription services.
Use these to locate journal articles and papers