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Policing ethnic minority groups with procedural justice

9 August 2010

Public cooperation with police is essential for the effective management of crime and disorder in our society. Understanding factors that shape public cooperation with the police is therefore important. However, Australian and international studies show that police find it difficult to elicit cooperation from ethnic communities, this made difficult by the fact that ethnic groups display low levels of trust and confidence in the police. This study examines the role that procedural justice might play in fostering minority group perceptions of police legitimacy and their willingness to cooperate with police officers. The study uses survey data collected from Australian citizens and tests whether procedurally fair policing can enhance public cooperation among ethnic minority group members. Results indicate that cooperation appears to be mediated by people's perceptions of police legitimacy. The findings have implications for theories of cooperation, as well as for determining how the police can foster better relationships with ethnically diverse communities.

Image: mikecogh / flickr