Cynicism Towards Change: The Case of Body-Worn Cameras Among Police Officers
34 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2016 Last revised: 1 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 10, 2016
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
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