Trust and Legitimization – Policing Among Racial Groups
Kappmeier, M. (University of Otago)
When it comes to trust in the police, group status matters: Previous research shows consistently that members from minority groups trust the police less than members from majority groups. Without the trust that the police indeed serves one’s group, the police lacks legitimisation and consequently groups’ cooperation. While trust and legitimisation are closely related constructs, little is known through which mechanism trust influences legitimisation. This work addresses this question by utilizing the multidimensional Intergroup Trust Model, which identifies the five dimensions—competence, integrity, compassion, compatibility and security—as a comprehensive set of dimensions constituting intergroup trust. 350 participants were surveyed in three Boston neighborhoods. Through regression analysis, the study found that for white participants legitimization was predicted by integrity-based trust. On the other hand, black participants had a less favorable view of the police as a legitimate institution and this perception was predicted by the lack of compassion-based trust. The findings indicate that in addition to trust, perceived legitimisation of the police is also affected by the group status of participants and their group-based experiences with the police. Minority and majority groups further differ in which kind of trust (integrity-based vs compassion-based) influence the perceived legitimisation.
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