Journal Article

What is Trust and Confidence in the Police?

Jonathan Jackson and Ben Bradford

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 241-248
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI:
What is Trust and Confidence in the Police?

Show Summary Details


One of the first actions of the new Home Secretary was to scrap public confidence as the single performance indicator of policing in England and Wales. Yet public trust and confidence will remain important to policing policy and practice. Trust and confidence can (a) encourage active citizen participation in priority setting and the running of local services, (b) make public bodies more locally accountable and responsive, and (c) secure public cooperation with the police and compliance with the law. Analysing survey data from London, we find that overall ‘public confidence’ condenses a range of complex and inter-related judgements concerning the trustworthiness of the police. We argue that confidence summarizes a motive-based trust that is rooted in a social alignment between the police and the community. This social alignment is founded upon public assessments of the ability of the police to be a ‘civic guardian’ who secures public respect and embodies community values (Loader and Mulcahy, 2003). By demonstrating their trustworthiness to the public, the police can strengthen their social connection with citizens and thus encourage more active civic engagement in domains of security and policing.

Journal Article.  4188 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Policing

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.