Cynicism Towards Change: The Case of Body-Worn Cameras Among Police Officers

34 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2016 Last revised: 1 Dec 2016

See all articles by Justice Tankebe

Justice Tankebe

University of Cambridge - Institute of Criminology

Barak Ariel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 10, 2016

Abstract

Police use of body-worn cameras (BWCs), proponents believe, will bring transparency and accountability to police work, and ultimately enhance police legitimacy. As with previous major organizational changes in policing, BWCs may be greeted with cynicism. Such cynicism by officers can obstruct the expected benefits of BWCs to policing. Yet, evidence on the receptivity of officers to BWCs is sparse. We seek to investigate the nature and sources of officers’ cynicism about BWCs. Our data came from a survey of 550 police officers from seven forces in England and Northern Ireland. Results show that cynicism towards BWCs is multi-dimensional, with levels of cynicism varying across these dimensions. Officers were more cynical about public receptivity and the impact on crime prevention, but least cynical about the likely impact on police integrity. Further analysis found that cynicism hinges, largely, on organizational commitment.

Keywords: Cynicism, Body-Worn Cameras; Police Accountability; Legitimacy; Organizational Commitment

Suggested Citation

Tankebe, Justice and Ariel, Barak, Cynicism Towards Change: The Case of Body-Worn Cameras Among Police Officers (October 10, 2016). Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 16-42. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2850743 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2850743

Justice Tankebe (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Institute of Criminology ( email )

Sidgwick Site
Cambridge, CB3 9DA
United Kingdom

Barak Ariel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel

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