English title: Investigations on the Legitimacy of the Swiss Police: Actual Debates and Empirical Evidence

Author(s): Silvia Staubli -

Language: English

Type: Book chapter

Year: 2016

Abstract

Purpose: Actual debates around the Swiss police see a decrease in respect and an increase in attacks towards police officers. Such non-respect can be seen as a lack of feelings of obligation to obey the police. Instead of asking whether such a proclaimed increase in disrespect in indeed happening in Switzerland, this chapter analyzes aspects of legitimacy. It builds on the question whether the population sees the Swiss police a a legitimate force. Methodology/approach: Swiss police’s legitimacy will be elaborated in two parts. After giving an overview about current debates, known theoretical aspects of legitimacy will be outlined. These aspects build the ground for empirical analyses that follow. Results are based on data of the European Social Survey ESS5. Findings: The Swiss population sees the police as a legitimate force. The majority morally align with the police, they feel an obligation to obey their directives, and they ascribe legality to their actions. Furthermore, also procedural fairness is highly ascribed to the Swiss police. Finally, age correlates only with certain aspects of legitimacy. While moral alignment increases with age, as well as positive views about police’s procedural fairness, no effects were found for feelings of obligation to obey. However, elderly people more often see a political influence on police’s decisions and actions. Originality/value: While in Anglo-Saxon countries research on legitimacy of the police is broad, no analyses are known for Switzerland so far. Moreover, topics around the Swiss police are often emotionally debated in media, with a lack of empirical evidence. This chapter contributes to close this gap. It gives an insight on the population’s perception of the Swiss police and offers an important scientific foundation for actual debates.

From page no: 97

To page no: 114

Anthology: The Politics of Policing: Between Force and Legitimacy. Sociology of Crime, Law, and Deviance