Public Satisfaction With Police: Using Procedural Justice to Improve Police Legitimacy
Policing research and theory emphasises the importance of supportive relationships between police and the communities they serve in increasing police effectiveness in reducing crime and disorder. A key reason people support police is that they view police as legitimate. The existing research literature, primarily from the United States, indicates that the most important factor in public assessments of police legitimacy is procedural justice. The present study is the first in an Australian jurisdiction to examine the effect of procedural justice and police legitimacy on public satisfaction with police. Using responses to a large postal survey (n = 2611), findings show that people who believe police use procedural justice when they exercise their authority are more likely to view police as legitimate, and in turn are more satisfied with police services. This study differs to US-based research in the greater importance of people's evaluations of instrumental factors in judgments of police legitimacy. The findings are important as they confirm that people's assessments of fair and effective policing in Australia will be enhanced by policing strategies that emphasise the use of procedural justice in encounters with the public.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Criminology not elsewhere classified