English title: Do the police trust in citizens? European comparisons

Author(s): Juha Kääriäinen - Reino Siren -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2012


Trust is expected to promote cooperation between the police and citizens. The trust of citizens in the police has been studied a great deal. This article, however, focuses on the other side of this relationship: the trust of the police in citizens. Literature dealing with the police culture indicates that the police have a rather cynical approach to citizens. However, empirical proof of this is scarce and mainly comes from major cities in the United States and the United Kingdom. On the other hand, literature focusing on social capital suggests that generalized trust varies greatly between societies and that it stems from social equality, good administration and high citizen activity. This article is based on the cumulative materials gathered for the European Social Survey 2002–8 from 22 countries. The study compares the level of generalized trust among police officers and other respondents. The analysis to some extent supports the assumption of cynicism among the police. However, the primary finding of the study is that the generalized trust of those working in the police forces closely reflects the level of generalized trust in the society as a whole. In countries where citizens generally trust each other, the police also trust the citizens; whereas in countries with a low level of trust in general, the police are also cynical towards citizens.

Volume: 9

Issue: 3

From page no: 276

To page no: 289


DOI: 10.1177/1477370811435737

Journal: European Journal of Criminology

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