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Influencing Trust And Confidence In The London Metropolitan Police: Results From An Experiment Testi


AUTHORS

Hohl, Bradford, and Stanko (2010)

STUDY OBJECTIVE

Is it possible for the police to increase confidence among the general population including those people who do not routinely come into direct contact with police officers? This paper presents the findings from a quasi-randomized experiment conducted on population representative samples in seven London wards that assessed the impact of a leaflet drop on public perceptions of policing. The present study examines the potential of direct written communication between police and the general public for enhancing trust and confidence.

TREATMENT

The treatment group received a newsletter from the police. The newsletter reported what the local police team had done to find out about the concerns of local people, attempted to demonstrate that the police understood the issues raised by local people (by reporting these and sharing these with all households on the ward) and, finally, reported the action the police had taken in response to these problems and how successful the action had been (e.g. a successful operation against drug dealing on a particular estate, in response to concerns raised by local residents).

CONTROL

The control group did not receive the newsletter.

MAIN RESULTS

1) The results provide strong evidence of an improvement in overall confidence, and in perceptions of police–community engagement, specifically.

2) The leaflets also appear to have had a buffering effect against declines in public assessments of police effectiveness. The findings support the idea that public trust and confidence can be enhanced by direct police communication of this type.

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