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International perspectives on procedural justice: Trust and respect matter even when body-worn cameras are present.
Law and Human Behavior  (IF3.795),  Pub Date : 2021-10-01, DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000454
Diane Sivasubramaniam,Kelly C Burke,Alana Saulnier,Rebecca Szabo,Emily J Agius,Bette L Bottoms

OBJECTIVE(S) We assessed the impact of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in two countries on perceptions of everyday encounters with police, independent of officer respectfulness and participants' preexisting trust in police. HYPOTHESES We expected BWC presence, officer respectfulness, and preexisting trust in police to all significantly improve individuals' perceptions of a police encounter. We also expected interactions indicating that BWC presence and preexisting trust in police reduce the effect of officer respectfulness on perceptions of the encounter. METHOD In each of three experimental studies, we measured participants' preexisting trust in police, and then presented participants with a vignette describing an encounter with a police officer in which officer respectfulness (respectful, disrespectful) and the presence/disclosure of a BWC (absent, present and disclosed by officer, present but undisclosed by officer) were independently manipulated. In Studies 1 (N = 422, Mage = 29 years, 73% women, 68% Australian) and 2 (N = 210, Mage = 19 years, 64% women, 59% Hispanic) in Australia and the United States, respectively, participants assumed the role of the driver in a traffic stop as they read the vignette. In study 3 (N = 504, Mage = 29 years, 72% women, 34% English), participants in Australia assumed the role of a citizen interacting with a police officer enforcing COVID-related restrictions. Participants then recorded their perceptions of procedural justice of and satisfaction with the encounter, legitimacy of the police, and willingness to co-operate with police. RESULTS Across three studies and two countries, we found no support for the notion that BWC presence influenced people's perceptions of police-citizen interactions independent of officer respectfulness and preexisting trust. CONCLUSION The effect of BWC presence, established in prior research, might operate via its effect on officer respectfulness. These findings underscore the importance of preexisting trust in police and respectful behavior by police officers, even in BWC-recorded encounters. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).