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Examining the relationship between police experiences and perceptions of police bias

Examining the relationship between police experiences and perceptions of police bias Purpose – This paper aims to use three theoretical perspectives to understand variation in public opinion regarding the frequency with which police use race/ethnicity unfairly in making stops: procedural and instrumental justice, local government responsiveness, and intra‐racial differences. Design/methodology/approach – The paper looks at data from a telephone survey of 1,431 Oregon residents: 741 from a stratified state‐wide random sample by county; 164 African‐Americans and 161 Hispanics over samples. Findings – Perceived negative treatment during recent involuntary police contacts is related to a perception that police are more biased. Instrumental judgments regarding local government responsiveness to constituent needs and personal safety showed a negative relationship to perceptions of police bias. African‐American respondents exhibited the strongest police bias opinions; however, intra‐racial analyses showed that perceptions of government responsiveness weaken bias perceptions across race/ethnicity. Research limitations/implications – Research needs to explore how the public's relationship to their local government influences perceptions of police. The conclusions of the study are limited by the cross‐sectional design. Practical implications – The study illustrates that proper police‐citizen communication tactics, stop and investigatory procedures, and ethical decision making should continue to be reinforced along with better promotion of local government and police success in meeting constituent needs through the media. Originality/value – The paper examines the influence of both procedural and instrumental justice perceptions, and voluntary and involuntary police contacts. The sample contains sufficient numbers of African‐Americans and Hispanics and diverse communities (urban, suburban, and rural) to gain a representative view. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Emerald Publishing

Examining the relationship between police experiences and perceptions of police bias

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1363-951X
DOI
10.1108/13639511111157537
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to use three theoretical perspectives to understand variation in public opinion regarding the frequency with which police use race/ethnicity unfairly in making stops: procedural and instrumental justice, local government responsiveness, and intra‐racial differences. Design/methodology/approach – The paper looks at data from a telephone survey of 1,431 Oregon residents: 741 from a stratified state‐wide random sample by county; 164 African‐Americans and 161 Hispanics over samples. Findings – Perceived negative treatment during recent involuntary police contacts is related to a perception that police are more biased. Instrumental judgments regarding local government responsiveness to constituent needs and personal safety showed a negative relationship to perceptions of police bias. African‐American respondents exhibited the strongest police bias opinions; however, intra‐racial analyses showed that perceptions of government responsiveness weaken bias perceptions across race/ethnicity. Research limitations/implications – Research needs to explore how the public's relationship to their local government influences perceptions of police. The conclusions of the study are limited by the cross‐sectional design. Practical implications – The study illustrates that proper police‐citizen communication tactics, stop and investigatory procedures, and ethical decision making should continue to be reinforced along with better promotion of local government and police success in meeting constituent needs through the media. Originality/value – The paper examines the influence of both procedural and instrumental justice perceptions, and voluntary and involuntary police contacts. The sample contains sufficient numbers of African‐Americans and Hispanics and diverse communities (urban, suburban, and rural) to gain a representative view.

Journal

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 23, 2011

Keywords: Racial profiling; Police bias; Police legitimacy; Procedural justice; Instrumental justice; Police contacts; Police; Perception; Attitudes to police; Police misconduct

References