Police satisfaction in developing countries dependent on less corruption

October 18, 2017

Improving police satisfaction in developing nations will require a reduction in corruption and greater public security and safety, a new study by researchers at the universities of Kent and Utrecht has shown.

The research suggested that, even in situations where people felt they had been treated fairly by the police, satisfaction could be undermined by an awareness of police corruption and ineffectiveness.

Dr Thomas Akoensi, of Kent's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, worked with Utrecht's Dr Amy Nivette on the study, which focussed on the city of Accra in Ghana.

The research, entitled Determinants of satisfaction with police in a developing country: A randomised vignette study, saw the researchers construct two scenarios depicting what they described as 'citizens' plausible encounters with police in an urban setting in a developing country.

A total of 559 residents took part in the 2014 study, drawn from four Accra neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods reflected diverse socio-economic conditions, namely high, middle and low class, as well as various ethnic backgrounds.

Each participant was presented with scenarios depicting eight different police-citizen encounters. These encounters presented a scenario that was either police-initiated or citizen-initiated, with three varying factors built in: respect vs no respect; bribe vs no bribe and effective vs ineffective. Participants were then asked to rate how satisfied they were with the encounter.

Dr Akoensi said the results had important implications for criminal justice institutions seeking to improve relations with citizens and boost satisfaction and ultimately legitimacy.

In certain situations, unlawfulness and ineffectiveness can undermine any positive influence of procedural justice policing on satisfaction, he added. Procedural justice policing is therefore 'more likely to improve satisfaction when it is implemented alongside broader criminal justice reforms to reduce corruption and impunity and establish baseline public security and safety'.
Determinants of satisfaction with police in a developing country: A randomised vignette study was funded by the Oxford University Press John Fell fund. It is published in the journal Policing and Society. See: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10439463.2017.1380643

For further information or interview requests contact Martin Herrema at the University of Kent Press Office.

Tel: 01227 823581/01634 888879

Email: M.J.Herrema@kent.ac.uk

News releases can also be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

University of Kent on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UniKent

Note to editors

Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It has been ranked 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and 25th in the Complete University Guide 2018, and in June 2017 was awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, it is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities.

Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium.

The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.

Kent has received two Queen's Anniversary prizes for Higher and Further Education.

University of Kent

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