Purpose – The purpose of this research was to assess public perceptions of the police in Mexico. Design/methodology/approach – Surveys were administered to more than 300 law school students in Tampico, Tamaulipas. Findings – Analyses of the data show that the majority of respondents view the municipal, state, and federal police forces negatively. The analyses also indicate that the federal police are viewed less negatively than the state police and the state police are viewed less negatively than the municipal police. Finally, the analyses show that there is a difference in diffuse and specific support for the police agencies, but there was not a consistent pattern of diffuse support being greater than specific support. Research limitations/implications – Because the sample was composed of law school students, the results cannot be generalized to the Mexican populace. And the unusual findings pertaining to diffuse and specific support for the police indicate a need for additional research on this phenomenon. Practical implications – The findings suggest that the recent police reforms in Mexico have failed to instill public confidence in the police and that the Mexican government needs to increase police reform efforts. In addition, because of the large influx of immigration from Mexico into the USA, police agencies in the USA will need to increase efforts to work with Hispanic communities in order to gain the confidence of the Mexican immigrants. Originality/value – To date, this is the most comprehensive empirical examination of perceptions of the police forces in Mexico.
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: Policing; Perception; Attitudes; Mexico
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