Paths of effectiveness, fairness and legitimacy for eliciting public confidence in policing and cooperation with the police in Monterrey metropolitan neighbourhoods
Reyes Figueroa, Luis Alberto
The extant research on Procedural Justice (PJ) theory has consistently tested its normative underpinnings (i.e. trust in police fairness) against instrumental competing frameworks (i.e. trust in police effectiveness) in influencing public confidence in policing (PCP) and cooperation with the police (CP). This literature also points out the relevant role that public perceptions of police legitimacy play in mediating those relationships. If people trust that the police are fair and effective, they are more likely to perceive them as legitimate. In turn, police legitimacy could elicit PCP and CP. However, this evidence has been largely produced in consolidated democracies, where crime and social disadvantage are lower than in Mexico. The limited evidence for Mexico suggests that ‘trust in police effectiveness’ might be just as influential as ‘trust in police fairness’. This thesis draws on data from the Monterrey Metropolitan Area (MMA) and employed mix-methods for analysing the contribution of both aspects of trust and police legitimacy, while accounting for the concentration of crime and social disadvantage across Neighbourhood Areas. The results lend support to PJ claims, since ‘trust in police fairness‘ is a more important antecedent of ‘police legitimacy’ than ‘trust in police effectiveness’. The combined effect of the normative aspect of trust and ‘police legitimacy’ is also considerably stronger than that of the latter with the instrumental aspect of trust in enhancing PCP and CP. Moreover, the joined influence of ‘trust in police fairness’ and police legitimacy seems to mitigate the negative influence of neighbourhood characteristics on the outcome variables. These findings have important implications for the mix of policing strategies in the MMA –currently in conflict– such as establishing close relationships with the citizens. A closer relationship could help the police fight crime more effectively. The results also strongly suggest that the residents living in the most vulnerable conditions could benefit the most from fair and legitimate police behaviour.
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