Police public relationship in Bangladesh

The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of published research on the public image of the police. The report covers three types of police images: general perceptions of the police as an organization or institution, perceptions of police outcomes, and perceptions of police processes. The report considers research that reflects on improving the image of police. It summarizes the findings and discusses the implications for future research. Methodology

Two types of reviews were conducted: a review of published research and a review of archived data sets pertaining to the image of the police held by the public. A comprehensive search of social science research literature was conducted to obtain a base for the literature review. We attempted to obtain all of the publications drawing on national surveys of police. We were selective in drawing upon surveys relevant to specific police agencies, using these where national surveys did not provide insights to important questions.

A thorough search of publicly available archives of national and major international surveys of the police image was also conducted. Surveys of samples drawn on a state, county, or municipality were not considered unless they offered some valuable insights to broader questions about the police image.

Where available we obtained copies of the survey instruments (or those parts relevant to the police image) and basic characteristics of the sample. From this information we prepared a catalog that will allow IACP to view the entire scope of existing survey data on the police image that are already available. This catalog is provided separately in a form that is electronically accessible. Selected data from these surveys are presented in Exhibits in this report. Major Findings and Recommendations

The public image of the police is complex. It has many aspects, grouped under three general categories: overall image, perceptions of police outcomes, and perceptions of police processes. There are different ways to measure each aspect. Findings can vary considerably according to which aspect is measured and how each is measured. Polls of the adult population in the United States since the 1960s show that the majority of the public has an over-all positive view of the police.

Depending on the year and the particular measure used, the percentage of respondents with a positive assessment of police has been between 51 and 81 percent. When asked to assess service to their own neighborhoods, respondents tend to produce even higher evaluations. Relatively few citizens offer a negative assessment of police.

The police consistently rank among the institutions and occupations in which the public expresses the highest confidence and trust. Most citizens are satisfied with police service in their own neighborhood, and this level of satisfaction appears to vary little from one urban jurisdiction to another. Cross-jurisdiction research on this topic is limited to a small number of jurisdictions, however. Citizens’ experiences with the police affect their over all assessment of the police.

The more positive a citizen’s recent experience with the police, the more positive the citizen’s over-all assessment of the police. However, previously held views of police do not change easily and themselves tend to influence how citizens interpret their own experiences with the police. The vast majority of the American public has not had a face-to-face contact with a police officer in the previous twelve months, so it will be difficult for police to make large improvements in their over all public image by the direct contact they have with the public.

Large portions of the American public report using the mass media as their primary source of information about crime, and these stories are the context for most mass media accounts of police work. News and entertainment media portray police and police work in a highly distorted fashion. The recent trend toward “tabloid-style” journalism – even in mainstream media – appears to reduce public confidence and trust in the police. Between the 1980s and mid-1990s, increasing numbers of the American public gave police protection in their area a positive assessment.

Neighborhood residents hold both police and residents responsible for controlling crime in the neighborhood. At the end of the 20th century, substantial majorities of the American public expressed positive views of how police treat the public. Police ranked highest in being helpful and friendly and lowest in treating people fairly. The public image of honesty and ethical standards of police has improved substantially from 1997 to 2000. The majority of the American public does not perceive police brutality in their area, but from the mid-1960s to the end of the 20th century the percentage who do perceive brutality has increased approximately threefold, accounting for a third of the public.

This increase may be due at least in part to the public’s changing standards of what constitutes brutality. The public has become less accepting of police use of force during this time period. Across nearly all indicators of the public image of the police, racial minorities consistently show lower assessments of police than do whites. These race effects appear to be particularly enduring for citizens’ assessments of police fairness and use of force.

The over-all legitimacy of the police depends much more on citizens’ perceptions of how the police treat them than on their perceptions of police success in reducing crime. Public confidence in and support for the police depends more on citizens’ perceptions of police officers’ motives than whether the outcome was personally favorable to the citizen. The public’s perceptions of how police treat them appear to affect their willingness to obey the law and obey the police.

Negative publicity about the police in one city that receives high visibility around the nation may have a nation-wide impact on the public’s view of the police, but the effect appears to be modest and not enduring. When the public perceives major threats to the nation’s security, the overwhelming majority appear willing to give additional powers to the police that invade privacy and restrict liberty, but substantial portions of the public are also concerned about the possibility of police abuses of these powers.

Community policing may have some modest, long-term positive influence on citizens’ satisfaction with police, but it is unlikely to produce a “quick fix.” The following represents a distillation of the major findings of this study. Between the 1980s and mid-1990s, increasing numbers of the American public gave police protection in their area a positive assessment. Neighborhood residents hold both police and residents responsible for controlling crime in the neighborhood. At the end of the 20th century, substantial majorities of the American public expressed positive views of how police treat the public.

Police ranked highest in being helpful and friendly and lowest in treating people fairly. The public image of honesty and ethical standards of police has fluctuated over the years but has improved substantially from 1977 to 2000. At the end of the 20th century, a majority of the American public perceives racial profiling to be a widespread practice and a problem.

The majority of the American public does not perceive police brutality in their area, but from the mid-1960s to the end of the 20th century the percentage who do perceive brutality has increased approximately threefold, accounting now for a third of the public. This increase may be due at least in part to the public’s changing standards of what constitutes brutality. The public has become less accepting of police use of force during this time period.

Across nearly all indicators of the public image of the police, racial minorities consistently show lower assessments of police than do whites. These race effects appear to be particularly enduring for citizens’ assessments of police fairness and use of force. The over-all legitimacy of the police depends much more on citizens’ perceptions of how the police treat them than on their perceptions of police success in reducing crime.

Public confidence in and support for the police depends more on citizens’ perceptions of police officers’ motives than whether the outcome was personally favorable to the citizen. The public’s perceptions of how police treat them appear to affect their willingness to obey the law and obey the police.

Negative publicity about the police in one city that receives high visibility around the nation may have a nation-wide impact on the public’s view of the police, but the effect appears to be modest and not enduring. When the public perceives major threats to the nation’s security, the overwhelming majority appear willing to give additional powers to the police that invade privacy and restrict liberty, but substantial portions of the public are also concerned about the possibility of police abuses of these powers. Community policing may have some modest, long-term positive influence on citizens’ satisfaction with police, but it is unlikely to produce a “quick fix.”

The following summarizes the major limitations of the available research and lists recommendations for future research. Different measures of the public’s image of the police can produce radically different results. Research is needed to identify the best survey items to accomplish specific research and evaluation purposes. Doing this will provide more valid and reliable measures for learning what the public image of the police is and what influences that image. Very little is known about the relative importance of various sources of information on the police’s public image.

Research is needed to learn how much influence is exerted by the public’s personal experiences with the police, what they learn second-hand from friends and acquaintances, and what they learn from the mass media. Knowing how much and in what ways each of these sources influence public opinion about the police will help police develop more effective strategies for improving the public’s evaluations of and support for the police. Very little is known about the influence of nationally publicized events on the police image. Knowing how both negative and positive publicity in one community affects the public’s image of police in other communities will help police leaders learn how to deal more effectively with the consequences of those events in their local communities.

Very little is known about how much variation there is in levels of citizen satisfaction with the police from community to community, and even less is known about what types of communities and police agencies show the highest and lowest levels of satisfaction. Research on this topic will help to validate what most effectively enhances the police image. Given the tremendous diversity of communities and police agencies, the research must distinguish what works in different kinds of communities. Virtually all of the survey research on the police image has concentrated on relatively large urban jurisdictions. Very little is known about contextual influences on patterns of public opinion about the police.

Patterns may be different when crime is high compared to when crime is low, when there are strongly perceived threats to national security and when there are not. Very little is known about the relationship between objective and subjective indicators of police performance. When the crime rate is going up or down does the public credit the police with this effect?

Because police tend to rely heavily on objective measures of performance in dealing with crime and solving problems, it is important to know whether success or failure objectively measured translates into public credit and accountability when measured subjectively through public opinion surveys. Little is known about the implications of public opinion for public behavior that is of concern to police. Are there thresholds of public satisfaction or dissatisfaction in a community that indicate a considerably increased likelihood of citizen support or resistance to the police?

What are the consequences of shifts in the police image for the tenure of police leadership? Answers to these questions will help police leaders use poll results to predict short and long-term trends in citizens’ behaviors that are important to police. The report concludes with a proposal for IACP to take a lead role in developing a data collection system that would enable its membership to track its progress in improving the police image and make it possible for researchers to answer the research questions listed above.

The working name for this program is the Uniform Public Opinion Poll on Policing (UPOPP). The UPOPP system would be a voluntary program that would provide survey research planning to participating agencies. Those agencies would agree to conduct an annual public opinion survey in their jurisdictions. In addition to a common set of survey questions for all agencies, these surveys could also include questions crafted to suit the special needs of that department and the community it serves. Data would be archived by a research organization selected by IACP.

In addition to providing advice on the design and implementation of the annual survey, the research organization would analyze the archived data, issuing an annual report on the state of the public image of police. The following sections of the executive summary provide a more detailed description of findings and recommendations. Findings are divided into major sections on the general image of the police, perceptions of the outcomes of policing, perceptions of policing processes, and improving the public perception of the police.

This is followed by a discussion that places the findings in perspective. The executive summary concludes with a discussion of priority issues for future research and an agenda for data collection.

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