Why People Trust the Police? Evidence from European Social Survey
A report by Anna Almakaeva at the LCSR regular seminar
Trust to the police is often used in numerous cross cultural studies as an important indicator. But what does «trust to police» actually mean? The answer could be obtained by using multilevel models which show that the sources of trust in various countries would differ. Intuitively, trust to the police in Russia would be different from trust to the police in Sweden.
Anna used the fifth wave of European Social Survey for 27 countries as well as good governance indicators in her research. The main dependent variable was general trust to the police. It was measured by the answer to the question «How much you personally trust the police?» using 11 point scale. On individual level independent variables were the following: legitimacy, trust in procedural fairness, feeling of safety, crime experience, discrimination, age, gender, education and subjective income. On country level independent variable was the quality of institutions.
As a result of conducted data analysis Anna came up with certain preliminary results. Moral alignment has more influence on trust to the police in less corrupted countries. Feeling of safety has positive impact on trust in the police in less corrupt countries. Burglary or assault experience as well as belonging to the discriminated group influences negatively on trust to the police in less corrupt countries. Education and gender influence positively on trust to the police in less corrupted countries.
Anna’s report was well-received by seminar attendees and invoked several questions and suggestions. There was a question regarding the use of corruption perception index, which is often being criticized for the closed nature of some of its components. There was a suggestion to use another measurement of corruption. Anna in her turn explained that while CPI is being criticized it clearly correlates with Good Governance indicators, which justifies its use in this study.
by Ruslan Almukhametov