2015 | XXXVII | 71-100
Article title

Legitymizacja Policji w Polsce na tle europejskich badań empirycznych

Title variants
The Legitimacy of the Police against a Background of European Empirical Research
Languages of publication
The most general perspective on the legitimacy of a social institution relies upon theacceptance that the legitimised subject has a right to govern, and that the governed recognise that right. Understanding it this way, legitimacy can be analysed from twoperspectives: normative when it concerns objective criteria that permit evaluationwhen the institution is legitimate (normative foundations for its appointmentsand rules for its functioning); and empirical, when it pertains to the awareness ofcitizens that a particular institution is legitimate. Over the last 25 years, a numberof important works on the subject of legitimacy of the police were understood viaempirical means. Based upon these, one can differentiate two opposing approachestowards police-citizen relations. Although both rely on collaboration, they indicatealternate conditions which might determine this. The first approach instrumentallycharacterises itself as achieved by citizens using a cost-benefit analysis of the results ofworking with the police; citizens are more amenable to co-operation when the possiblebenefits are higher than the incurred costs. From this perspective, citizens accept theactivities of the police and declare a willingness to work with them, if in their eyes thepolice are applying realistic sanctions towards people who disturb the norms of the law,are fighting effectively against criminal and undesirable behaviours, and are treating allcitizens in an equal manner. Different motives for working with the police accompanycitizens in their attitudes to trials. In this case, co-operation results from internalrecognition of the legitimacy of the police by citizens. If citizens believe their policeto be legitimate, they will be more inclined to co-operate with them and obey the law.Legitimacy results here, above all, from the conviction that the police are fulfilling theirduty in a just procedural manner.The most empirically-supported research into attitudes about trials has beendetermined by the American model by T.R. Tyler. Legitimacy in his view assumes trusttowards police by citizens and their internal convictions about service in regards totheir recommendations. Understood this way, legitimacy is strongly determined by thefairness of police procedures, and is itself an essential influence on the willingness ofcitizens to co-operate with the police and their readiness to abide by their laws.After a period of domination in police research about the concept of legitimacybeing strongly linked to procedural fairness, there were attempts at revising andmodifying this theory. An alternative to Tyler’s definition of police legitimacy wasproposed by British researchers J. Jackson and B. Bradford. In their view, the police’slegitimacy is formed from three elements: internal conviction about police services,shared social value of the police, and the legality of the police’s activities. However,to independently differentiate, police legitimacy produces here the same effects as inTyler’s concept, and so determines for citizens their willingness to co-operate with thepolice and their readiness to abide by the law.Presented in the following study of research on the legitimacy of the police,a methodology is given for testing both of the previously-mentioned concepts, i.e.Tyler’s model, where trust of the police is a basic element of legitimacy, and Jacksonand Bradford’s model, where trust is treated as a separate social phenomenon, thoughit is linked with the legitimacy of many related factors. The fundamental goal of thepresented research determined however to attempt answering questions about whichtheoretical principles of the procedural model of police legitimacy, including former ARCHIVES OF CRIMINOLOGY 379foreign research within this scope, do they find applied in the Polish socio-culturalcontext. Polish research was undertaken in 2013 under the auspices of the internationalresearch project “Legitimacy Policing and Criminal Justice in Central and EuropeanEurope” amongst 374 law students from various academic centres via an online survey.The research had an exploratory character and was to establish a starting point forfurther research into the legitimacy of the police in Polish society.
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