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Legitimacy in Policing : A Systematic Review


Mazerolle L. et al

Subject Keywords: Crime, Police, Control, Public cooperation
Catalogue: Systematic Reviews
Campbell Reviews
Type: Article
Region: International (other)

Police require voluntary cooperation from the general public to be effective in controlling crime and maintaining order. Research shows that citizens are more likely to comply and cooperate with police and obey the law when they view the police as legitimate. The most common pathway that the police use to increase citizen perceptions of legitimacy is through the use of procedural justice. Procedural justice, as described in the literature, comprises four essential components. These components are citizen participation in the proceedings prior to an authority reaching a decision (or voice), perceived neutrality of the authority in making the decision, whether or not the authority showed dignity and respect toward citizens throughout the interaction, and whether or not the authority conveyed trustworthy motives. Police departments throughout the world are implicitly and explicitly weaving the dialogue of these four principles of procedural justice (treating people with dignity and respect, giving citizens “voice” during encounters, being neutral in decision making, and conveying trustworthy motives) into their operational policing programs and interventions




Rights: © The authors
Suggested citation:

Mazerolle L. et al. (2013) Legitimacy in Policing : A Systematic Review [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 22nd February 2019].


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