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Convergence, not divergence? Trends and trajectories in public contact and confidence in the police

By Ben Bradford


Public trust and confidence are vital to the police function. There has been much comment and debate about the apparent decline in confidence in the British police since the 1950s, most frequently evidenced by data from the British Crime Survey (BCS). Yet, there has been relatively little in-depth interrogation of the data at the heart of the discussion. Pooling data from 11 sweeps of the BCS (1984 to 2005/06), this paper shows a homogenization over time in trends in trust and confidence and experiences of encounters with the police. This pattern is found across both age and ethnicity, and can also be identified in other variables. The story that emerges therefore differs from analyses that emphasize the increasingly diffuse and variable nature of public experiences of the police

Topics: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1093/bjc
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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