In their own eyes: an empirical examination of police self-legitimacy
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
Informa UK Limited
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Tankebe, J. (2019). In their own eyes: an empirical examination of police self-legitimacy. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 43 (2), 99-116. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924036.2018.1487870
Legitimacy is at the heart of the functioning of criminal justice systems. In their paper Beyond Procedural Justice, Bottoms and Tankebe specified two interrelated dimensions of legitimacy: audience legitimacy and self-legitimacy. Criminologists have given considerable attention to audience legitimacy, but police officers’ belief in their own legitimacy remains under-studied. This paper extends Bottoms and Tankebe’s theory and reports findings on some of its key propositions, using survey data from a UK police force. Three key findings emerge. First, contrary to previous studies, feelings of recognition by supervisors and clientele did not predict self-legitimacy; self-legitimacy was found to depend on feelings of peer recognition and acceptance. Second, self-legitimacy predicted officers’ commitment to external procedural justice but not their moral orientations toward crime victims. Finally, perceived police effectiveness but not supervisor recognition – that is, internal procedural justice – was the key predictor both of external procedural justice and of normative orientations towards crime victims. The implications of these findings are discussed.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01924036.2018.1487870
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/283432