Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Legitimacy is now a stable topic in police studies. The weight of the evidence from various empirical studies is that public perceptions of police legitimacy (measured mainly in terms of people’s feelings of obligation to obey the police or the law) are grounded in the fairness of the procedures police employ in their interactions with citizens. Legitimacy, in turn, has been found to influence legal compliance and people’s willingness to support the police to fight crime. This essay takes stock of research on police legitimacy. It argues that theoretical analyses of legitimacy have so far lagged behind empirical studies, resulting in a conflation of legitimacy with other concepts. The essay discusses a new conceptual approach that stresses procedural justice, distributive justice, lawfulness, and effectiveness as dimensions of police legitimacy in a liberal democracy. The implications for future empirical analyses of legitimacy are discussed.

Keywords: legitimacy, procedural justice, distributive justice, effectiveness, lawfulness

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.