English title: Trust in the Police In Former Communist European Nations

Author(s): Luke Bonkiewicz -

Language: English

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2009


Police research has investigated numerous predictors of trust in the police, including demographics, neighborhood context influences, and citizen-officer interactions. However, research has largely ignored how experiencing government corruption may affect citizens’ trust in the police. Moreover, most police legitimacy research has been limited to the United States or Western nations. This paper addresses these issues by attempting to answer two research questions: First, does government corruption negatively affect public trust in the police in Western and Central/Eastern Europe? Second, does government corruption exhibit a larger negative effect on trust in the police compared to trust in other social institutions? Findings indicate that in both Western and Central/Eastern Europe, government corruption negatively affects trust in the police. Additional evidence suggests that government corruption may create a larger loss of trust in a nation’s police force than in a nation’s parliament, political parties, and legal system. Moreover, prior studies have shown age, income, and perceived neighborhood safety to be consistent predictors of trust in the police in the United States and Western Europe. Surprisingly, in Central/Eastern Europe, these factors exhibit significantly different effects on trust in the police, suggesting that theories of police legitimacy must account for the lingering influence of a nation’s recent history and political turmoil.


Awarding institution: The Pennsylvania State University

Number of pages: 42

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