Police legitimacy and the policing of protest: identifying contextual influences associated with the construction and shaping of protester perceptions of police legitimacy and attitudes to compliance and cooperation beyond the limits of procedural justice and elaborated social identity approaches.
Lydon, D. 2018. Police legitimacy and the policing of protest: identifying contextual influences associated with the construction and shaping of protester perceptions of police legitimacy and attitudes to compliance and cooperation beyond the limits of procedural justice and elaborated social identity approaches. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences
Police legitimacy is fundamental to the relationship between the state, citizens and their police, and this is nowhere more challenging than in public order policing contexts. Procedural Justice (PJ) and the Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM) have gained dominance in UK policing as the means of establishing greater perceptions of police legitimacy and public compliance and cooperation with the police and the law. Much of the theorising and empirical research in this field has been conducted with regard to police reform, complaint handling, crime reduction and sporting event policing. However, there are limitations to both PJ and the ESIM approaches within public order contexts. PJ and the ESIM assume that violence and disorder stem from a failure of policing to create perceptions of police legitimacy. However, this is problematic for the policing of protest and public order for three interrelated reasons.
Firstly, there are occasions when violence occurs despite the police use of PJ and ESIM approaches.
Secondly, ignoring or underplaying this detail serves to demoralise the police and undermines their trust in using PJ and the ESIM.
Thirdly, an insistence on police use of PJ and ESIM as the exclusively legitimate means of dealing with violence and disorder, ignores different approaches to police legitimacy that are not found within the PJ or ESIM literature.
The findings presented in the thesis suggest that PJ and the ESIM do not necessarily work in protest contexts, because protesters’ self-policing, a key claim of the ESIM, does not necessarily equate to compliance with the law and authority. Personal values and moral legitimacy are important aspects of protest contexts that feature less prominently than required within the PJ and ESIM research. The thesis argues that police legitimacy, defined empirically, needs to be understood with regard to the policing context. It is in this respect that the thesis claims an original contribution by identifying and explaining contextually based influences associated with the construction and shaping of protester perceptions of police legitimacy and their attitudes to compliance and cooperation. The thesis uses a mixed method approach to examine the claim of PJ and the ESIM that fair and respectful treatment garners increased perceptions of police legitimacy and creates compliance and cooperation with the law and the police. The empirical research comprises an exploratory quantitative survey (n=40), qualitative interviews (n=79) and non-participant observations at thirteen protest events in London between 2010 and 2015. The findings establish that while the general claims of PJ hold and that social identity forms part of perceived police legitimacy, protesters’ perceptions need to be understood contextually. A contextually driven model of police legitimacy (CDM) developed from empirical data is presented, it suggests that additional influences other than fair and respectful policing play a determining role in constructing and shaping protester perceptions of police legitimacy and their attitudes to compliance and cooperation. The theoretical implications are considered and professional practice recommendations for the policing of protest are presented.
|Keywords||Police legitimacy; procedural justice; protest; ESIM; compliance and cooperation.|
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|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||11 Sep 2018|
|Accepted author manuscript|
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