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On the Justification and Recognition of Police Power: Broadening the Concept of Police Legitimacy

18 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2012 Last revised: 9 Aug 2012

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology

Ben Bradford

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology

Mike Hough

University of London - Institute for Criminal Policy Research

Andy Myhill

College of Policing

Paul Quinton

National Policing Improvement Agency

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: June 14, 2012

Abstract

This paper explores the idea that to confer legitimacy on the police is to feel not only obligated to obey the police but also morally aligned with the values of the police. A national probability survey of adults in England and Wales supports an extended version of Tyler’s procedural justice model of public cooperation with legal authorities. We find especially strong correlations between (a) negative contact with the police, (b) trust in police procedural justice, (c) obligation to obey the police (recognition of police authority) and moral alignment with the police (an endorsement of police values) and (d) willingness to cooperate with legal authorities. Our conclusions focus on an enlarged conception of police legitimacy that includes both recognition and justification of police power. If one part of legitimacy is disconnected from moral substance, and another part of legitimacy is connected to shared value positions, what does this mean for the influence of legitimacy in diverse societies?

Keywords: public confidence, trust, legitimacy, cooperation, contact with the police

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Jonathan and Bradford, Ben and Hough, Mike and Myhill, Andy and Quinton, Paul and Tyler, Tom, On the Justification and Recognition of Police Power: Broadening the Concept of Police Legitimacy (June 14, 2012). Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 251; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 32/2012 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2084428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2084428

Jonathan Jackson (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

Ben Bradford

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Mike Hough

University of London - Institute for Criminal Policy Research ( email )

Strand
London, WC2B 2LS
United Kingdom

Andy Myhill

College of Policing

10th Floor Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London, SE1 9HA
United Kingdom

Paul King Quinton

National Policing Improvement Agency ( email )

Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
United Kingdom

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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