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Crime victimisation and police legitimacy: the importance of beliefs and experience

Author(s)Hinds, Lyn, and Fleming, Jenny
Title Crime victimisation and police legitimacy: the importance of beliefs and experience
Source Australasian Political Studies Association Conference University of Newcastle 25-27 September 2006
Date 2006
Document type Conference paper
Coverage Australia
Summary This study explores the impact of being a victim of crime on people's views of police legitimacy. The paper considers the concept and importance of police legitimacy and community expectations in the context of community policing. From the normative perspective people's support for police and compliance with the law is based on a normative belief that the police exercise legitimate authority. The data in the report is based on the responses to a survey conducted in a single jurisdiction in Australia in 2005. The major concern for residents in this area is housebreaking, The study found that people's views of police legitimacy are not negatively influenced by crime victimisation. While people who had been a victim of crime, compared to those who had not been, expressed significantly lower satisfaction with police performance and police community relations, these views did not become negative judgements of police legitimacy. The report found that the key antecedent of legitimacy is not police performance but people's normative judgements that police are fair and trustworthy. The report concludes by recommending police management consider the data and findings when allocating resources and developing initiatives.
Keywords Police; satisfaction with police; practice; performance indicators
Topic Service delivery