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Just authority? trust in the police in England and Wales

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Public attitudes towards crime, policing and justice remain 'hot' social and political topics. Low confidence in the criminal justice system challenges the legitimacy that underpins the effectiveness of the police and the courts. The police depend upon the authority they can command rather than the force they can deploy as a last resort. This book analyses the meaning, distribution and significance of trust in the police and the legitimacy of legal authorities. The book: presents data on the measurement of trust; drawing on information from 25 years of the British Crime Survey to highlight key trends and historical trajectories; explores the roles played by fear of crime, anxieties about neighbourhood breakdown, the mass media, and contact with the police; addresses the geographical distribution of trust; and shows the importance of public trust and confidence in generating legitimacy, compliance with the law and cooperation with authorities. "Just Authority?" provides the most authoritative and comprehensive analysis thus far, it also reflects on our time relating such findings to the London Metropolitan Police Service, drawing upon over five years of experience of working to embed a conceptual approach to public opinion into an overarching 'confidence' strategy. This book will be of interest not to just to students, researchers and academics but also to practitioners and policy makers who are tasked to engage with complex and shifting notions of public trust and police legitimacy.

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