Influencing Trust and Confidence in the London Metropolitan Police: Results from an Experiment Testing the Effect of Leaflet Drops on Public Opinion
Posted: 26 Apr 2010
Date Written: May 2010
Enhancing trust and confidence has moved to the centre of policing policy in England and Wales. The association between direct encounters with police officers and confidence in the police is well-established. But is it possible for the police to increase confidence among the general population including those people who do not routinely come into direct contact with police officers? This paper presents the findings from a quasi-randomised experiment conducted on population representative samples in seven London wards that assessed the impact of a leaflet drop on public perceptions of policing. The results provide strong evidence of an improvement in overall confidence, and in perceptions of police-community engagement, specifically. The leaflets also appear to have had a buffering effect against declines in public assessments of police effectiveness. The findings support the idea that public trust and confidence can be enhanced by direct police communication of this type.
Keywords: trust and confidence, police communication, quasi-randomized experiment
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