Dissertation on the Role of Public Confidence In Police and Public Partnerships

Dissertation on the Role of Public Confidence In Police and Public Partnerships

This dissertation examines the role of public perception and trust in policing in the UK, and its impact on police and public partnerships. It centres on the current climate, with reference to societal, political, and legal changes and actions over recent decades. The purpose of this dissertation is to analyse the role played by public confidence and trust and the effect it has on police and public partnerships. The main areas examined include procedural justice, public confidence, and neighborhood policing. This paper explores the factors influencing public confidence and trust in the police force and how these can aid in the establishment of partnerships between the police force and communities. The neo-Durkheimian theoretical framework utilized calls for a multi-collective approach within a community to reduce criminal behavior. This theory supports the recent trend in neighborhood or community policing strategies, which are considered in detail. The dissertation concludes that whilst there have been recent improvements in the strategies of the police force, there is still a need to increase the public’s awareness and knowledge of how the police operate, in order to build their confidence and trust, which would in turn improve the effectiveness of public and police partnerships. 


According to Jackson and Sunrise (2007), there exists an increase in evidence showing that public confidence and trust in policing has been on a gradual decrease over the past few years. From the profoundly disturbing Stephen Lawrence reports, Plebgate scandal and Hillsborough misadventure, to the legal action concerning undercover police, the public perception and trust in police efficiency and fairness in the UK has considerably decreased (Nicholas and Walker, 2004; Huo and Tyler, 2002; Sunshine and Tyler, 2003). Consequently, public cooperation and support has suffered considerably (Jackson & Bradford, 2009).

Reiner (1992) provides a historical trajectory of police legitimacy in Britain in which he describes a transition from a period where police held an iconic status to the present low levels of trust and respect by the community. He concluded that public confidence in policing is “[. . .] tentative and brittle [. . .] to be renegotiated case by case” (Reiner, 2000, p.162). Yet confidence from the public is vital for an effectual criminal justice system since cooperation with the police is closely linked to the perception of police as acting fairly at all times (Jackson and Bradford, 2009; Sunshine & Tyler, 2003). Braga and Moore (2003) suggest that confidence is paramount because if the community lacks trust in police capabilities and motives, they may withhold their support. Examples of critical public cooperation with the police include being willing to act as witnesses, providing local intelligence and reporting crimes.

There is a considerable interest in policy circles about how to increase public confidence in policing. Drawing from the scholarships of Skogan (2006) and Bradford et al (2009) on the Metropolitan Police Public Attitude Survey, it is known that people who have high confidence in police are likely to obey the law, report victimization, cooperate with authority, follow instructions, and provide information, as opposed to those who lack trust in the police. However, this confidence and cooperation varies from one community to another, and varies with age, type of contact with police (direct or indirect) and ethnicity (Loader and Mulcahy, 2003). According to Goldthorpe (2000), this generative process underpins confidence and trust in the police.

During the professional policing crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, when there was zero tolerance to crime and a shrinking economy, the police had to engage with other agencies of the State, including the public (Williams, 2011). Neighborhood policing, a policing model borrowed from the United States, was introduced so that the police and the community could collaborate to identify and address crime (Lau, 2004).

This dissertation will address the contemporary controversies surrounding public confidence in the police. It concerns primarily the role of confidence in partnerships. The first chapter provides a neo-Durkheimian theoretical framework for analysis of the public perception of the police, how neighbourhood policing can help to reduce crime and improve public confidence. Chapter Two explores the key elements of procedural justice and neighbourhood policing. Finally, Chapter three discusses issues and challenges facing police and public partnerships, in their efforts to improve public confidence.

Chapter One

The Definitional Parameters of Public Confidence

Legal Definitions

Sir Robert Peel’s famous 1829 words suggested his possible insight on the future of policing and the role of public confidence in policing work: “The police are the public and the public are the police” (Peel, 1829). The Independent Commission (2013) report into the future of policing, 'Policing for a Better Britain’, chaired by Lord Stevens, attests to the critical role of public confidence in successful policing. In his report, Lord Stevens called for 37 "radical" recommendations, including a commitment to neighbourhood policing as the "building block of fair and effective policing" (The Independent Commission, 2013, p.15). The report found that the major hub of neighbourhood policing is positive community engagement, which may be attained through the drivers of public confidence.

Merry et al (2012) highlight the major drivers of public confidence in policing as trust, legitimacy, accountability, and consent. Goldsmith (2012) posits that trust is central to domestic police effectiveness and legitimacy as it facilitates a stronger and more positive relationship between the police force and the community. Public confidence and trust are critical to policing by consent and intrinsic to successful policing at all levels: it is always in the interests of both the police and the public to be able to rely on trust and confidence of each other (Goldsmith, 2012). Conversely, the absence of public trust in the police often leads to strained police-community relations and makes ‘policing by consent’ difficult, or impossible, and public safety suffers in the process (Goldsmith, 2005).

According to Bradford et al (2009), public confidence in the police force is a significant topic of discussion in the UK. Drawing from Skogan’s (2006) Metropolitan Police Public Attitude Survey, Bradford et al (2009) similarly opined that the police rely on trust, legitimacy, consent, public support, and initiatives to improve levels of confidence. Yet in their seminal works, Bradford and Myhill (2015) and Bradford (2014), argued that there is a nexus between procedural justice and neighbourhood policing. By this, they mean that police legitimacy can only be enhanced by readiness to comply with the law and police instructions, when the public feel that they are treated fairly and that procedural justice is being upheld. Whilst negative or unsatisfactory contact with the police can impact on confidence, they are of the opinion that the procedural justice model shows that maintaining positive contact with the police can improve on the engagement of the community. Bradford & Myhill, 2015). Whilst both the police and the public play significant roles in maintaining and establishing trust in the police, the question remains: How do you build a trustworthy police force in view of the difficulties in establishing public confidence? And how do you minimize mistrust and earn trust? (Goldmith, 2005).

Societies functions well when the citizens consent to abide by its rules and norms. The rule of law (as much as policing by consent) is defined as the concept “that individuals, persons and government shall submit to, obey and be regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals” (Duhaime’s Law Dictionary). Central to policing by consent is the level of trust in the police force by the citizens, their view on law and police legitimacy, and their readiness to cooperate with law enforcement authorities (Bradford & Myhill, 2015; Dirikx & Van den Bulck, 2014).

According to Dirikx and Van den Bulck (2014), public cooperation with the police is essential for successful crime control. Policing benefits tremendously from cooperation, mostly from a public that believe in the importance of the legitimacy of the police as an institution to dictate appropriate behaviour and undertake related functions (Dirikx & Van den Bulck, 2014). However, Zamir and Harpaz (2014) postulate that it is not enough to gauge the public perception of police legitimacy, the police itself must understand their legitimacy and the interaction between the two.

Public Perceptions of the Police

According to Skogan (1996) and Sims (2003), public confidence in the police, essential for a healthy police and public partnership, has been on the decline in England and Wales in the last 40 years. Although contact with police has often been used as a determinant of public perception, more often than not, this perception varies based on ethnicity, age, occupation, personal and social responsibility and location (Duhart, 2000; Weisheit & Donnermeyer, 2000; Sims, 2003 and Bradley, 1998).

A significant contributor to the decline in public confidence in police is a number of highly publicized incidents of gross police misconduct (Schneider, 2009). Examples of such incidents include: the fatal shooting of Mark Dugan in 2011; the Stephen Lawrence incident described as “profoundly disturbing” by the Home Secretary; the Hillsborough saga; Plebgate and legal action concerning undercover police. These incidents have resulted in a decline in public confidence in policing and an increase in attention from the public and policy makers on this issue. More so than perhaps any other public service, the criminal justice system count on legitimacy and consent to operate in an effective way and in accordance with globally accepted democratic norms (Bradford, Murphy & Sargeant, 2015).

In April 2009, the Home Office introduced a new national top-down measure of police performance, based on confidence for all police forces in England and Wales (Cleveland Police Authority, 2010). The measure seeks to assess public opinion on how well police and local authorities are working together to deal with crime and anti-social behavior (Rix et al 2009). This partnership focus is new and represents a shift away from only measuring the confidence that the public has in the police. The new confidence measure is derived from a question in the British Crime Survey (BCS), which is also tracked by the MPS Public Attitude Survey (PAS). According to the British Crime Survey conducted in 2003/2004, people are more concerned on issues regarding cohesion and neighbourhood stability, and less with personal safety (Bradford & Jackson, 2008).

Today, the role of the police across England and Wales is also a symbolic one: a defender of order and social stability and custodian of informal social controls and community values, rather than being responsible only for crime and safety (Jackson and Sunshine, 2007). In essence, the public’s confidence in how effective the police force is depends on how the public perceives cohesion and social order (Jackson and Sunshine, 2007). This brings us to the theoretical perspective for this study.

Theoretical Framework - The Neo-Durkheimian Perspective

Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, philosopher and socio-psychologist, conducted seminal work on deviance, crime and social cohesion (Durkheim, 1964). Durkheim’s deviance theory will be utilized as a theoretical basis for this study. Drawing an image of what society would be like if there was no deviance in it, Durkheim reckoned that all members of society would be on their best behaviour at all times. However, Durkheim’s deviance theory argues that deviance is natural and it is impossible not to have some form of deviance in a functional society (Durkheim, 1964, 1973). Although fear of crime destroys the sense of community, Durkheim postulated that it robs the citizens of their capacity to trust, rather than isolating them in their own communities. He argued that crime does not bring people together and that fear of crime disintegrates, rather than integrates, communities (Durkheim, 1964 & 1973).

The fear of crime, and consequent reaction to it, has assumed great magnitude in recent times. According to a body of scholarship, the fear of crime has become part of people’s consciousness, as most people are afraid of the prospect of criminal victimization, rather than of crime itself (Lee, 2007). This dissertation will draw insight from the works of Jackson and Sunshine (2007) in their analysis of a neo-Durkheimian perspective of their study on public confidence in the police.

Durkheim postulated that the State (the police), has a moral obligation to contribute to a healthy and functional society and the public should believe that the police play an important role in the promotion of common morality. His approach assumes common values and a common morality between citizens and the State. According to Durkheim (1964, 1973), this is where the meaning of the police is seen as an expression of this morality. Durkheim’s perspective of the social role of the police looked at their social legitimacy, which he referred to as common values shared between the police and the citizens and presumes a different relation between the State and the citizenry.

In view of the public outcry against police use of force, Durkheim (1973) was of the opinion that this view is one-sided. He noted that it should not just be a matter of coercion, but rather, a matter of morality and common values that bind citizens in a society. The police, according to Durkheim, should be viewed as moral agents rather than being vilified.

Today, there is a palpable perception by the public that crime is on the increase. This apparent failure by law enforcement is accompanied by corresponding anger towards the police for being incompetent and has led to a loss of confidence in them (Hope and Sparks, 2000). Vanderveen (2006), Karmen (2004) and Hope and Sparks (2000), argue that the absence of trust in the police increases the propensity of being fearful.

The neo-Durkheimian perspective calls for a multi-collective approach, involving all partners within a community to deal with the sanctioning of criminal behaviour, rather than focusing on individual crime. According to Loader (2006), it is only through this collective approach that public confidence will increase and fear of crime will consequently decrease. To boost public confidence Loader (2006) suggests that the police should reinvent themselves to be more proactive in the community and always strive to defend the values of the community. 

The multi problem-solving approach muted by the neo-Durkheim theory is an integral part of the Safer Neighbourhood policing model, an approach borrowed from the United States (Jackson, 2009). The model aims to identify and deliver sustainable solutions, in a resource-constrained environment, through police partnerships with other public services, voluntary organizations, and local communities.

Following the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), this form of policing exemplifies the ideal of a multi-agency approach, in which the police, the public, elected officials, the government and other public agencies such as the fire Service, local authorities and the probation service work in partnership to address crime and community safety (O’Malley & Palmer, 1996; Newburn & Jones, 2002). Lauding the vision of neighbourhood policing, the Metropolitan Police (1994) stated "Partnership goes to the heart of what is meant by community safety" (Oppler, 1997).

According to Myhill and Quinton (2010), neighbourhood policing is a partnership model that emphasizes consultation during the process of planning. It is based on visible patrol, community engagement, problem solving, and procedural fairness. Furthermore, the local community must be involved in determining the policing needs, the style of police work that would be effective and appropriate for their community (Myhill & Quinton, 2010). Ultimately, these methods are usually effective in increasing and maintaining public confidence in the police (Myhill & Quinton, 2010). Cao, Stack, and Sun (1998) posit that public confidence in the police is important because the public is the consumer of police services and their opinions matter in a democratic society. Supporting this claim, Tyler (2002) argues that focusing on the quality of police performance is not sufficient: police agencies may execute their duties effectively and constitutionally and still find themselves without community support. Tyler (2002) concluded that a positive image of the police is also necessary for them to function effectively in the community. This effective engagement, brought about by neighbourhood policing, is the most important driver of public confidence in the police (Tyler, 2002).

Neighbourhood Policing

The new neighbourhood-policing model of community policing, was established in the UK in the mid-1990s and early 2000 due to mounting public anxiety and fears over the increasing rates of crime (Quiton & Morris, 2008). According to Quiton and Morris (2008), neighbourhood policing was initially piloted as part of the National Reassurance Policing Programme (NRPP) between 2003 and 2005. Launched next in 2005 was a three-year Neighbourhood Policing Programme (NPP) that was targeted at reducing the fear of crime and increased public satisfaction with the police (Millie, 2010; Innes, 2004).The Government in 2005 had pledged to establish neighbourhood policing teams in every community in England and Wales by 2008. The programme required the employment of over 16,000 police community support officers.

Neighbourhood policing is a policing approach that increases the level of contact between members of the police force and the public within a local area (Innes, 2004; Kirkby, 2006; Innes et al, 2004). It places emphasis on a shared collective security of all residents within a certain geographical area. Proactive engagement and response by the police to the needs of the locals, has made this policing model increasingly compelling (Bullock & Sindall, 2014).

The key activities of neighbourhood policing, aimed at reducing crime and all forms of disorder within a local area, which have been implemented are foot patrols in targeted areas and meetings with residents to find the best forms of policing enforcement and crime prevention. Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT) provide a permanent and visible presence for reassurance and enforcement in neighbourhoods, with the investigation capability for beating crime, but the key to their success is effective partnership work.

Neighbourhood policing was developed following the acknowledgement by the police services that their previous crime reduction methods were failing (Kirby, 2006). Public confidence in the police perceptions of safety have both dwindled despite a reduction in crime since 1995 (Kirby, 2006). Public confidence has been described as the ‘share price’ for policing and it became clear that the police service must find new more effective methods that would also drive that ‘share price’ up (Kirby, 2006).

The future of neighbourhood policing has been subjected to debate and scrutiny among academia, the media, and politics. However, neighbourhood policing has evolved with much success over the last two decades, culminating in 2013 with the implementation of the Local Policing Model (LPM) (Metropolitan Police, 2012). Through being available, consulting the public about their concerns, attempting to resolve them and informing people of their actions, neighbourhood policing has been important in increasing the community confidence in the police (Somerville, 2009). According to Somerville (2009), neighbourhood-policing teams have a crucial role to play in mobilizing community involvement, which also signals a philosophical shift from the traditional role of the police as simply enforcing the law.

Drawing from Durkheim’s functionalist’s paradigm of society, on what holds a society together, Williams (2008) examined the role the police play in community-based policing strategies. Williams (2008) says this role is dependent on relations between the police and the other actors, namely merchants and residents, in the community. He asks pertinent questions such as: “Do these actors share common beliefs and sentiments that help to strengthen social cohesion? Why would one community’s beliefs and sentiments be different form another’s, when overall there exists a generalized fear of crime in society?” (Williams, 2008, p.1). Although globalisation, immigration, terrorism and budgetary constraints have had a great impact, they have forced police-community partnerships to address crime and its related correlates jointly, rather than relying on the police (Robert et al, 2000; Jackson & Sunshine, 2007).

Jackson and Sunshine (2007)’s neo-Durkeimian findings from a study of a rural English community found that for trust and confidence in the police, the police must be seen to share and exemplify the values and morals of the community and they must treat the community with dignity and respect. The importance of public confidence to the effective working of the police is discussed by The College of Policing (TCP) in stating that: “without the cooperation of the public, policing in developed democracies would become essentially unworkable. In simple terms, the police service would cease to function without the active support of the communities it serves. Evidence has shown that effective community engagement, targeted foot patrols and collaborative problem solving can significantly increase public confidence in police activity. By improving public perceptions and increasing trust, through fair decision-making and positive public interaction, the police service can enhance its legitimacy” (TCP, 2013).

Chapter Two

The Current Climate of Procedural Justice and the Relationship between the Police and Public Partnerships

Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy

In the course of neighbourhood policing, procedural justice expresses shared membership (Nix et al, 2014). Members of the community want to be treated fairly and they want police officers to talk to them about their inclusion and position in society (Nix et al, 2014). If this is achieved, cooperation and compliance will be secured.

Procedural justice theory, supported by an overwhelming body of studies, contends that individuals place value on the fairness of the procedures used to reach an outcome, often more so than the perceived fairness of the actual outcome (Gau, 2011, 2013; Gau et al, 2012; Reisig et al, 2007; Tankebe, 2013; Tyler, 1990; Wolfe, 2011). A growing body of research has suggested that when members of the public see the police as legitimate, they are more likely to comply with laws and police directives (Tyler & Huo, 2002; Tyler, 1990, 2004). This research observes a connection between legitimacy perception and compliant behaviour, possibly because of links between community efforts that increase levels of legitimacy, and crime reduction (Tyler & Huo, 2002).

Procedural justice has been identified by many researchers as an evidence-based, and a cost-effective way to reduce crime. According to Zamir et al (2013), procedural justice has dominated recent discourse regarding police interactions with the public. They posit that the most important factor in public assessments of police legitimacy is procedural justice. Procedural justice is sometimes termed as procedural fairness, that is, the public regard their perceived police treatment in the course of their contact rather than in the perceived fairness of the outcome of such contact (Schafer et al, 2003). According to Tyler (2001, p. 416), the importance of procedural justice cannot be overemphasized in improving public confidence: “When people are making evaluations of the legitimacy of social authorities, they focus almost exclusively upon the assessments of the fairness of the procedures those authorities use to make decisions”.

In Australia, Hinds and Murphy (2007) examined the effect of procedural justice and police legitimacy on public satisfaction with the police. Using the responses of about 2,611 respondents, they found out that people who believe that the police use procedural justice when they exercise their authority, are more likely to view the police as legitimate, and consequently are more satisfied with police services. The findings from Australia confirm that policing strategies that emphasize procedural justice in interactions with the public are effective in positively influencing people's assessments of fair and effective policing (Hinds & Murphy, 2007).

Successive governments in England and Wales have made a concerted effort to improve public trust and confidence in the police, but tensions remain. Myhill and Bradford (2012) report that it is possible for public confidence to be improved, but that it is easier for the police to damage public opinion than improve it. In their report on findings from two surveys on contact between the public and the police, Myhill and Bradford (2012) when investigating what drives satisfaction among crime victims, found that personal treatment was valued over criminal justice outcomes. This lends further evidence to the argument that improving the way officers handle interactions with the public might lead to enhanced trust and confidence (Myhill & Bradford, 2012).

The Tyler procedural justice model focuses on procedural justice in police-citizen encounters as the key antecedent of legitimacy. There are four components in the Tyler procedural justice model: participation in the decision-making process by citizens; neutrality is a primary element of procedural justice; individuals should be treated with respect; and people trust the police more when they view an interaction as fair (Tyler, 2004). People are more likely to comply with police instructions when officers incorporate these factors into their interactions with the public (Tyler, 2004). These factors therefore have the potential to reduce crime by increasing compliance behaviour (Nix et al, 2014).

The foundation of procedural justice is the idea that the police service must demonstrate its legitimacy to the public it serves constantly (Bradford, 2014; Van Craen & Skogan, 2014). According to Bradford (2014) police behaviour and the social identities such as age and ethnic community, determines cooperation, compliance and how police legitimacy is viewed. Murphy (2015) states that it is critical to understand the factors that influence young people's cooperation with the police as young people are more likely to come in to contact with the police. For adult’s cooperation with police, the police’s use of procedural justice is important. Drawing from a survey of young Londoners, Bradford (2014) found that the perceived fairness of the police promotes a sense of inclusion and value, while unfairness communicates denigration and exclusion. In the survey, police behaviour appeared more identity relevant for people who felt that they were immigrants, while for the British participants there was a weaker link between procedural fairness and police legitimacy and related cooperation (Murphy, et al, 2014; Van Craen & Skogan, 2014).

Public Trust and Cooperation

Although the new localism, in the form of neighbourhood policing, has increased public participation in shaping the direction of local policing in England and Wales (Bullock and Sindall, 2014), there is variation in the public’s cooperation with the police, mostly due to perception (Kochel et al, 2013). Gau and Brunson (2010) are of the view that public perception of procedural justice affects the way police legitimacy is viewed. Despite this, Rowland and Coupe (2014) contend that police officers instill the greatest feelings of safety and emit ‘control signals’ that have stronger positive effects on reassurance.

In order for proper functioning of the police force and effective control of crime, it is crucial that the public and the police cooperate. Skogan (2006) examined the impact of the public’s positive and negative personal experiences with the police on the quality of police services. Drawing from several studies of police encounters with the public, Skogan found that there might be an asymmetrical relationship between how one remembers being treated by the police and their confidence in the police. Bad experiences can strongly influence peoples’ views of police performance and legitimacy, while a positive experience with the police has little impact on improving one’s perception of police legitimacy (Skogan, 2006). Further, Bradford et al (2014) suggest that social identity does mediate the association between procedural justice and perceptions of legitimacy: “It seems that when people feel treated fairly by the police, their sense of identification with the superordinate group the police represent, is enhanced, strengthening police legitimacy as a result. By contrast, unfair treatment signal to people that they do not belong, undermining both identification and police legitimacy” (Bradford et al, 2014).

According to Jackson et al (2012), trust in the police fairness is correlated with legitimacy and moral alignment with the police and that perceived legitimacy is a significant predictor of willingness to cooperate. In situations of people who are in conflict with the law, trust and legitimacy can be rebuilt through fair treatment (Jackson et al, 2012). Public trust in policing and justice is essential as it builds institutional legitimacy and increases compliance with the law (Hough et al, 2010).

Van Crean (2014) examined the extent to which citizens’ trust in the police is determined by numerous factors including being a victim of a crime, perceptions of the way the police treat people and of police responsiveness. He however, submits that procedural justice plays a larger part than police performance.

Police and Public Partnerships

“The fight against crime and disorder can only be won if the police have the confidence of the public and local agencies and if groups and individuals work together in partnership” (Home Office, 2003, p.1).

In 2005, Sir Ian Blair coined the term “Working together for a safer London,” during his first few weeks working as London’s Police Commissioner. According to Rhodes (2006), this signaled his intention of joint effort between police and the communities and the need to work in cooperation with agencies and organizations in London. Blair introduced a multi-agency tactic where the government, the police force, and other public agencies worked in partnership in each community, with the aim of addressing criminal injustice and enhance security for the community through a professional and responsive policing service (Rhodes, 2006).

The police are not new to the idea of partnerships. In the past, they have had Crime and Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) together with multi-agency activities of working jointly through advisory roles and governance (Murji, 2011). Collaboration has also taken the forms of formal and informal partnerships (Murji, 2011). For example, Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) were formed in response to the inquiry by Stephen Lawrence (Macpherson, 1999). These partnerships critically depend on police legitimacy and effectiveness, which in turn allows for trust and collaboration from the public (Murji, 2011).

Community partnerships are a more effective means of tackling the causes of crime because the police do not have complete and direct control of the factors affecting crime in the community. They cannot prevention crime on their own (Home Office, 1991). Skinns (2008) affirmed that the affiliation of the police force and other agencies contribute to the managerial goals of efficiency and effectiveness by facilitating more to be done with minimal resources. This is also supported by Crawford (1997) who holds that preventing crime is a task for the community. Effectiveness and efficiency of crime reduction is improved by minimizing duplication and decreasing the likelihood of the various social institutions overlooking community problems (Crawford, 1997). Organizations in partnerships serve as equal parties to each other, adding accountability via inter-agency differences and ultimately increasing the legitimacy of the police (Thatcher, 2001).

In 1998, crime reduction and policing took a full swing and was rooted firmly in partnerships after the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998, the CDRP of 1999, and the amendment of the Police Reform Act in 2002 was enacted (Ellis et al, 2007). This legislation led to the formation of 354 CDRPs all over England and 22 community safety partnerships across Wales that constituted representatives from the police service, local authorities, the fire fighting services, the NHS, the probation office, drug action teams, youth offending teams, and the Criminal Board of Justice (Ellis et al, 2007). These Acts necessitate all CDRPs in Wales and England to present audits of crime and disorder problems, in order for the relevant development of strategies that can be used to reduce crime, anti-social behavior, and drug abuse (Bailey, 2006). A further development in strategy introduced Problem-Oriented Policing (POP), which is a substitute to the incident-driven and reactive style of policing (Bullock et al, 2006). POP require partnership with the public and the police to be hands-on in the establishment of underlying problems of crime and disorder within the community (Bullock et al, 2006). The Scan, Analyze, React, and Assess (SARA) model is a POP strategy that addresses the root of problems and creates tangible results (Bullock et al, 2006).

Partnership Policing

The most important aspect of the partnership approach employed by the police is to empower the public to fight crime on their own. In the 1960s and 1970s, community policing was on the forefront of public dialogue and there was a concern that this was cast in welfare state model Gordon (1987, p.141) was convinced that community policing was created in an attempt of controlling and placing surveillance on the community members by the police, under the disguise of police offering their assistance. MacDonald (1995) who also criticized community policing argued that the developments inappropriately turned the police in to social workers. Although one may argue that multi-agency strategy of this epoch remains, even though an approach of policing and shift in content has occurred.

 Avery, (1981), stated that, presently, there has been a shift from the previous public welfare model to a new-fangled model of shared responsibility and partnership, due to decentralization of state services, changes in society, and consumerism. Furthermore, Avery (1981) said that the public should not solely leave the obligations and duties associated with the prevention and fighting of crime to the police.

According to Oppler (1997), policing partnership approach between the police and the community is a significant consultative and should be used in the planning process.

Partnership policing is defined as a leadership role that is proactive in bringing together different groups such as officials who are voted in, the public, the state, and other multi-agencies to put focus on tackling crime disorder issues (Hunt, 1973, p.7)

Chapter 3

Issues and Challenges of Police and Public Partnership

Since past few years, aspect of policing of a community is considered as difficult or misunderstood factor within the management of police. Sometimes, this aspect is also called as an abusive point for these managements. Without having a complete knowledge about the meaning of the term community policing, most of the agencies of police are considering this aspect a fashion rather than using it for the right use. Making a proper community policy is an essential step for any organization. It is an activity not a program that must be practiced with great care. Basic purpose for policing of community related to department of police is to prepare such rules and plans that allow them to communicate having a right sense of corporation with citizens and organizations in order to resolves those issues that could become a potential threat to any neighboring land, people, products, city or even an environment. Although, applying such rules, there are some police departments having a sense of policing of community knows well about their capability of handling such conditions by their own selves. But, in reality, police departments must work together with those organizations or even individuals that are willing to resolve such issues. Acting alone could become a problem for departments of police. Basic aim of policing of community is to plan for prevention, identification and also recovery of any problem. Any police officer can apply these points in order to save people, areas and environment from threats and hazards by bringing together government and private organizations to work in a combine manner. Therefore, various training sessions and encouraging steps are taken for these officers or even for the entire police department to provide full assistance to schools, businesses, citizens and organizations.  

  1. Sustaining Relationships

Making of relationships always play a vital role between citizens and any organization to serve for the right purpose. Relationship could be used for making of efficient and effective plans and this also include some rules for law enforcement departments allowing them to make such plans having honesty, integrity, sincerity etc. (Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement., 2006). In order to make an effective relationship or community policy, responsibility comes on the shoulders of high ranked officers and supervisors to create such scenario and environment within the department such that every single person working should be supposed to act wisely and in a helping manner (Police Accountability and Citizen Review, 2002). Those officers who are clear, honest and concise about their department always pay attention to any problem or issue that occurs within the department and always try to involve citizens within the resolving of these issues. Officers always occupy a position of trust and sincerity within the community and this community always recommend them to have a high authority of handling any situation. Wrong use of such authority can damaged their aspect of trust and sincerity within the community.

Processes involving clear internal affairs are very important not only for any agency but also within the making of effective relationships with communities. These affairs should be composed of integrity and ethical conduct. Proper training of officers always help while spreading the sense of making clear internal affairs. Regular change of policies, plans, training sessions and programs are very helpful while disclosing any corruption within the department and it also helps in showing the right path for any organization or agency to work along with selecting proper rules and principles (Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement., 2006). Policies of department must be written in such a way that could easily direct any mission of agency and there must be a transparency within these policies.


Education and Ethics Training 

Hiring and Recruiting

Effective Policing

Safe Community

Management of Risk

Building Capacity and Sustainability

Internal Affairs

Trust of Community

There are some internal and external factors that helps in making an effective communication between citizens and agencies or organizations.

Internal Plans for making of Trust within Community:

Trust within community is always build when there is an availability of strong culture of police giving full response to citizens and their needs. Supervisors or even high authority officers must handle the creation of this culture. There are several factors that helps in creation of these culture involving transparency and honesty.

  • Hiring and Recruiting Sessions: It is an essential need for recruiting and hiring those individuals having the right sense of service and also having the right attitude in order to provide integrity and clarity within his/her work (Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement., 2006). This training session must let out all those candidates or individuals who does not have accurate knowledge and skill for the profession. These training and recruiting sessions must include those individuals who could easily fulfill the needs of a department. These training and recruiting sessions involve various steps or processes through which every single candidate must pass on. Medical test, psychiatric test, interviews and investigation about every candidate is involved (Delattre, 2006). Five basic characteristics are required for any policeman to perform well functioning job as suggested by researchers, they are: Extrovert, having stability over emotions, agreeable, conscientious and willing accepting experience. Ability to attain stress is important, as well. A person having all five characteristics but does not have an ability to sustain stress is considered as not fit for the department. Recruiting sessions should be achieved not only though military areas but also, candidates from colleges and universities must be given a chance to enter. Arranging of recruiting sessions must be held through newspapers, media, certain Boys/Girls scout programs, Youth programs etc. Although, there are some chances of new recruits having a good experience at some other departments, organizations or agencies but they were terminated due to some misconduct at those areas. Therefore, higher authorities should take care of this aspect while recruiting and hiring.
  • Education and Training: Chief of a police must create such culture that can easily develop openness, fairness between internal and external environment, rewarding elements and also create such a foundation that offer public (Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement., 2006). This progress by the chief should be performed during education and training session. It is important for chief of police department to involve moral and ethical decision selection along with other training sessions during education and training.

These community partnerships and relationships help officers of police department to maintain a happy relation between community and police department. When an officer consistently try to remain in contain with community leaders and try to involve them while deciding plans for the department or any other issue, there with the coordination of community leaders and police departments can easily eliminate any issue or can make an effective plan. Some of the external factors are:

  • Policy involving Community: In order to make a proper relationship with community, involvement of community-oriented policy is very important. Community oriented policy involves transformation of organization, solving of problem and partnerships between community (Fisher-Stewart, 2007). Community oriented policy helps in promoting and supporting strategies of an organization to reach any cause, reduce the amount of fear within citizens, reduce of crime and disordering of society by applying various tactics and also benefitting community police relationships. Five important community oriented points are:
  1. Considering community oriented program as an encouraging element for an organization.
  2. With the help of strong internal structure of an organization, various commitments are performed to community.
  3. Development of such policies that fits best every single citizen not developing such plan that suits the majority.
  4. Letting citizens to work along with police while harming crime and social disorder.
  5. Use of problem solving tactics.
  • Police Academies of Citizens:  Important element to beat crime and social disorder can be done through police academies involving normal citizens. These academies allow citizens to learn about the integral structure of police departments, how to fight with crime and how to resolve problems. These academies allow citizens to judge every single problem with their own hand considering themselves as a police officer.
  • Media: Involvement of media while letting people know about the basic plan of a police department helps a lot making a good relation. These departments always have a spokesperson letting people know about the plans, problems, solutions and much more. Similarly, different advertisements can be used that can easily show relationship between citizens and police. 
  1. Information Sharing

According to World Health Organization, violence involving interpersonal activities caused nearly 600000 deaths and 17.2 million injured people all over the world in the year 2004. Similar scenes can be seen within the year 2002.  World Health Organization consider violence of interpersonal activities as the major cause of human deaths. Within the year 2008 and 2009, 900000 violent activities were recorded by the police department causing large number of people to be injured or even died acquiring huge amount of medical and economical resources. In order to prevent violence, plans must be implements at community, individual and relationships level. Violence always occur at community level, therefore, causing huge amount of casualties. However, various researchers and scientists suggests steps and plans to reduce or prevent such loss. A novel on prevention of violence was written and was implemented in the year 2001 within Cardiff and Wales having a population of 324800. Involvement of police department along with health care and emergency department combined can reduce the amount of violence.

  1. Austerity and Partnerships

Police working in an effective manner to provide their service also helps in making financial savings. Various benefits that are done by effective police service are:

  • Cost Reduction on Short Terms: Various examples could be seen all over the world when governments plan a budget for a year. In order to benefit other departments of a country or citizens, mainly budget of any force is reduced. Reduction of budget on forces can be seen as an example that of a freeze on recruitment sessions. However, reducing budget on forces won’t affect as these forces can help a lot if they perform their duties in an effective manner.
  • Redesigning of the Force:
  1. Increase of Resources of a Force: Forces always help in providing savings and making changes but with consistent number of reduction of budget for forces, different countries are facing some problems as crime rate is increasing. Therefore, an effective and efficient planning is required by reducing budget on non-essentials portions rather than reducing on forces.
  2. Demand of Reducing and Managing: Demand for non-essentials elements that could be considered as not beneficial for citizen and also for the nation should be removed and budget for them should be reduced.
  3. Increase of Resources for Non-Workforce: Forces always help in making nations, by creating structures, buildings, also admit to share their offices with other agencies. Thus, they perform such activities for the betterment of citizens.
  4. Increase of Efficiency of Process: Forces are trying to make much more effective ad precise planning, so that more citizens gets benefit from their planning.
  5. Improve of Technology and Collaboration: Nowadays, forces are using advanced technology in order to provide better services. IT experts have been hired, helping out to work with new machineries. New and advanced weapons are used in order to stop crime. Also, other organizations and agencies are helping out these forces to fight against every issue.


This dissertation will take a qualitative and quantitative approach in collecting data. The researcher will use a descriptive research design that will involve the conducting of interviews and the administration of both open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires, which assist in giving factual information for analysis of data. In addition, a Likert scale will be used to collect specific data. This dissertation will use random sampling method and will target the public, police authorities, PCCs, and multi-agencies. The respondents from the target population will be picked randomly.

Data collected will be analyzed in both qualitative and quantitative forms using tables and simple descriptive statistics, such as percentiles, pie charts, and bar graphs. The data collected will also be sorted and coded, to facilitate easy analysis.


This study is set out to explore the perceptions and impact of public confidence on police and policing, its role in police and public partnerships, and how to improve them. The discussion in this dissertation has provided explanation on factors responsible for low levels of confidence in policing and ways to boost it, especially through neighbourhood policing.

This research has also shown that there is a great need to build public awareness and knowledge of policing work and its local partnerships in tackling crime, which many have perceived as key to improving public confidence.

This study has proven that the public can assist the police in the identification and eradication of crimes in the community because citizens are well aware of the activities that take place in their neighbourhood. By forming partnership with the public, the police force can be assured of acquiring first hand information concerning crimes taking place in the community, through the help of law-abiding citizens.

The need to be aware of neighbourhood policing and to understand the role played by all the local partners such as schools, religious bodies, charities, drug enforcement teams, and local councils in dealing with crimes peculiar to a neighbourhood is of crucial importance. The acquired information will assist law enforcers in creating an atmosphere of safety for the public that will in turn lead to public confidence and trust.

This dissertation has also elaborated on many factors that have influenced the public perception of the police, such as social background, ethnicity, age, experience, and police attitude. The quality of delivery of neighbourhood policing has potential to raise confidence and awareness. In addition, building up a stronger relationship between the police and other public partnerships appears to be a way of improving how messages about neighbourhood policing are conveyed. Impending dangers like cases of terrorism and malicious attacks will be tackled with early enough to reduce cases of fatalities, risk of life, property vandalism and destruction, and other criminal cases.

This dissertation has brought to light the fact that, in order for multi agency partnerships to work, great effort must be channeled by the relevant parties, who include the police, the agencies, and the community.