Journal Article

A Confidence Trick?

Marian FitzGerald

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 298-301
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/paq025
A Confidence Trick?

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The British government claimed that the ‘confidence’ target it set for police forces in 2008 replaced all others. This article suggests that this move was both politically motivated and disingenuous. In practice, it represents an additional target, and serious questions must also be asked about the government’s use of surveys to measure whether the police are meeting it. The article concludes by arguing that public confidence in the police does matter but it does not directly reflect police performance, and insofar as the police can influence confidence, this should be treated as a by-product of the way they do business rather than an end in itself. Ironically, increased public confidence may best be measured in terms of increased demands on the police. But the government might not welcome the resultant increase in recorded crime figures and the police will, in any case, be hard pressed to meet increased demands in the face of cuts to their funding.

Journal Article.  2115 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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