Journal Article

Understanding ‘Trust’ and ‘Confidence’: Problems Within and Out with Constabularies

Simon Holdaway

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 258-264
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI:
Understanding ‘Trust’ and ‘Confidence’: Problems Within and Out with Constabularies

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Public confidence and trust in the police has become a subject of government and criminological attention. This paper will argue that the subject is not new, a point that is not apparent in current research. Further, the emphasis of much research about confidence and trust in the police has been concerned with measuring their levels within populations. This approach, however, has important limitations for understanding the nature of trust within human relationships. Drawing on the analysis of research about the experience of ethnic minority officers working in English and Welsh constabularies, it will be argued further that human trust is concerned with essential human characteristics. Decisions about whether or not to trust police colleagues are tested subtly. Present views about whether or not one can trust ethnic majority colleagues are informed by historical judgements. Such judgements are essential to being the member of an ethnic minority and thus not available to members of an ethnic majority. Ethnic minority officers may thus be a conduit to ethnic minority populations, who report lower levels of trust in the police than members of the ethnic majority. Trust within is related to trust out with constabularies.

Journal Article.  3753 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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