Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Factors Affecting Public Trust in Police: A Study of Twin Cities (Rawalpindi & Islamabad)

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Factors Affecting Public Trust in Police: A Study of Twin Cities (Rawalpindi & Islamabad)

Article excerpt


Police is always recognized to be the attendants of the public. The society identifies them as curators of law and order in respective community. Nevertheless, vast majority of police experts and policing literature reveals that the police are usually hostile towards significant portion of the population all over the world (Alemika & Chukwuma, 2000). Schaefer (2000) defines police as a branch of government which is charged with the preservation of public order and tranquility, the promotion of public health, safety and morals, and the prevention, detection and punishment of crimes. Police is a sub system within the democratic set up of the state. In a democracy, it is vital that the operational styles of all public institutions are geared to report to the needs of good governance by ensuring that they draw sustenance from the people's support that elicit public participation in their working (Radelet & Carter, 1994).

Trust means a depth and a sense of strong assurance based on the character, ability, or truth that someone or something has shown over time or across situations (Kirkham & Wollan, 1980). Trust creates a sense of safety or of being free of fear, enough so that one can freely focus on other matters of life. Key aspects of this definition are its reliance on the foundation of character, ability and a sense of being safe (Tos et al. 2004).

Research Objectives

i) To explore the socio-structural factors that affect public trust in police

ii) To study the relationship between socio-structural factors and public trust in police

iii) To suggest measures for the improvement of Public-Police relationship in Pakistani society.

Literature Review

Confidence in the police has always been investigated as one of the broader social queries in police-public relation. In 2000, Paoline et al., conducted several studies to inspect officers' attitude toward citizen support and trust. They have examined various factors such as the determinants of officers' perception of citizens. These factors have been classified into two groups: individual and occupational variables. In connection to individual variables, inspection shows that gender and educational attainment were significantly associated with officers' attitude towards citizens' support and trust (Jackson & Bradford, 2009). It has been highlighted under the course of research based on the World Values Survey that age, religiosity, and educational level are the significant predictors of police trust. While on the other hand, gender and marital status may not be as significant predictors. These findings can vary among developed and underdeveloped nations around the globe (Cao & Dai, 2006).

In 2011, Alvi provided comprehensive analysis of Pakistani police which shows the image of police force in Pakistan is in quite depreciating condition on account of benighted, unlettered officials, improper training, lack of basic civic facilities in the police stations (PS), and political pressure on the police officials which led towards the composition of negative citizens' perception about police.

Public trust in the police emerges as a result of their expectations. Additionally, the public is end user of police services so they hope to receive police support and protection in various situations especially where they believe their safety is at peril (Suddle, 2001). In this way, their level of trust indicates their belief in the ability of the police to ensure their protection in the given situations (Hurst et al., 2000).

Similarly, if citizens recognize the police to be quite potent to deal with crime then they would trust the police. Instrumental approach directs to the trust in any institution that arises from the citizens' observations made in relation to the effectiveness and readiness of the institution (Shinar & McKnight, 1986). Police procure a significant amount of power to regulate communal behavior. …

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