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Research Proposal Example: Procedural Justice

7 pages
1892 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Research proposal
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Procedural justice is based on the idea that fair procedures lead to fair outcomes. Therefore it leads to making and implementing decisions based on fair procedures (Kristina, 2009 p161). When fair procedures are applied, people feel affirmed even when the outcomes are unpleasant, or they do not approve. However, the standard measures for fairness in a procedure include transparency, consistency, the victims should be given a voice a representation when dealing with the case, and finally, impartiality and neutrality of the procedures should be considered. Consistency means that cases of the same nature should be treated the same. When the victims have a voice a representation, it increases the confidence among people on the procedures that it will serve fair judgments or lead to reliable conclusions. The neutral and impartial procedures affirms to people as they seem to be less biased when dealing with cases. Transparency means that decision is made without secrecy and deception; this improves the confidence of people in the procedure. Studies have revealed that when authorities utilize procedural justice to deal with the people, they are supposed to regulate, the chances for cooperation from their subjects increases (Kristina, 2009 p163). Hence there is increased compliance with the rules and regulation, with less conflict. The same notion has been applied in the context of policing, and studies have revealed that when the police use procedural justice, their legitimacy and satisfaction as perceived by the citizen is increasingly positive. This situation additionally, fosters corporation with the police departments and subsequently leads to a decline of the criminal activities that they need to handle. These elements are critical when the police department requires corporation and support from the public to execute their mandate for law enforcement. The cooperation and support the police get from the public have been drawn partly by the evaluation after personal encounters with the police. For instance, if the encounter revealed the police as corrupt people who promote impunity, the public may not corporate with the police in future when deterring crimes. On the other hand, if the enter exposed the police as responsible and in need of putting the actual criminal away, the public may be inclined towards corporation to lead the arrest of the criminal people. Therefore there is need to focus on the satisfaction of the public towards the conduct of the police, to encourage their support in the law enforcement activities within a nation.

Public Perception (General)

The way the public perceives police units and their functions is based on the trust they have earned from performing their legitimate duties. The role of the police is to promote security in public and also perform other political assignments as it an agency of the government. The regular citizens encounter with the police in various places such as the market, outdoors, in the public transports, and on the roads among other places within the country (Sun, Jou, Hou, & Chang, 2014 p123). However, often these encounters involve public humiliation and violence which are part of the government efforts to conduct its security surveillance and improve safety and identify the treats that may cripple the authority. Hence, the police are only called when matters have gone out of hands and not when things are flowing as planned (Ismail, 2012 p436). It is then unfortunate that the police are only criticized for the things they do that doesnt please members of the society. However, it is normal that organizations charged with undoing chaos and restoring order in the society are bound to harsh criticisms since not all member of the society may be pleased with the procedure of handling the issues (Ajayi, 2014 p1). For this reasons, the police force is mostly considered a controversial law enforcement agency and hence have different people supporting its activities which others have contempt for their efforts during service.

The public perceives the Nigerian police force as a unit of the government that is full of corrupt officials who care only about their deals with criminal and infringes the human rights (Ajayi, 2014 p3). This perception from the public has lowered the legitimacy and hence the trust of the Nigeria people towards the police. For this reason, the police are considered among the groups that promote crime in the society rather than preventing it. Unfortunately, this daunted image of the police has been taken as the image of the police departments in the Nigerian government. This situation has denied even the god police officers to dispense their duties as the public are not willing to support their efforts in handling crime. Additionally, the level of democracy can be used to establish the legitimacy of a police unit across the world (Cao, Lai, & Zhao, 2012 p41). For instance, in places where dictatorship is the order of the day, people will not be able to trust any government agency to promote their rights. On the other end, the government that operates on democratic terms tend to assure its citizens of their democratic rights. This situation increases the confidence of the citizens trust in the bodies provided by the government to protect their rights. Therefore such governments are considered legitimate in the leadership and people tend to see the police as a legitimate body as well. For this reason, how the public perceives the police and their actions influence their trust and compliance with the requirements for upholding the law. Therefore when people associate their local police with the unfair treatment their authority loses its legitimacy and people tend to detach themselves with such a body (Office of national statistics. 2014 p1). The outcome is an outbreak of crimes since the police do not get the appropriate intervention to intervene in the right moments.

Methods for analyzing the public perception

In Nigeria the police are expected to promote internal security, by detecting, deterring, prosecuting, and apprehending the perpetrators. For this reason, the police are considered as the only security organization used by the government with the most contact with the civilians at all levels across the nation (Ajayi, 2014 p5). They are expected to show up at all times they are needed to render the required services to the public. For instance, when a crime has been witnessed they are alerted to intercept and facilitate the normalcy of a situation. This process cannot be successful if there will be no mutual interest by both the police and the public. For this reason, the public needs to have a positive perception to enable them to cooperate with the police in the activities for promoting security. Unfortunately, at the moment, Nigeria is at the verge of erupting in chaos across the nation with the growing crime-problem which have burdened the government as the civilians are exposed to more dangers with the police not able to handle the problem. This situation will subsequently affect the sovereignty and security of the nation as the legitimacy of the government will be lost in the process of intervention are not introduced urgently. The police treat the victims of crime as just a source of evidence and not a human being, a situation that has led to the deterioration of the legitimacy of the police force in Nigeria. The citizens perceive the presence of crime as the mere failure of the police to undertake their statutory roles by engaging in activities that promote crimes. The stressed capacity of the police to monitor and control the social space is growing and bound to grow unless an urgent intervention is considered. For instance, the honest relationship between the citizens and government of the day need to be forged, and trust between the police and the public be introduced otherwise the legitimacy of the government and its police agencies will continue to dwindle and lead the country into more anarchy situations.

Studies have revealed that there is a link between the level of democracy and the confidence in the police in a nation. A study that focused on the Chinese and Taiwanese kind of government was used to show that the kind of regime used by a government determines the public perception of the police and its subsequent legitimacy (Cao, Lai, & Zhao, 2012 p43). The finding indicated that the Chinese people have higher confidence in their police due to the government efforts to recognize the need for a free media and the opinions from the public to shape the governance activities. On the other hand, the Taiwan citizens revealed less confidence with the police, as the government intimidates the media and do not respond to the plight of citizens. One theory that explains this situation is the instrumentalism, which linked the increase in crime rate and less confidence in the police by the citizens (Cao, Lai, & Zhao, 2012 p44). This situation act as a prompt for the need of a greater social control with tighter control of the lower class from the elites within the society. This situation leads to fear and an atmosphere of victimization which worsens the situation as the lower class seek for justice. Another theory that shows the perception of the Nigerian people towards the police organization is the view that the police are not adequately equipped to handle their roles (Ajayi, 2014 p4). This situation makes the Nigerians lose confidence and trust in the police to handle issues concerning their security. For this reason their legitimacy is compromised and hence increased crime across the nation. For instance, the increased number of robbery, assassination, and murder that the police have not been able to identify the perpetrators. This failure of the police to capture the perpetrators of crime makes them irrelevant before the public. In the UK the public had the confidence in the police as they were perceived to treat the citizens with respect and almost 60% of the population agreed that whenever police were needed, they were always there to assist (Office of national statistics., 2014 p4). This situation improved the trust of the public towards the police and hence their legitimacy in performing their duties for the public. Another theory states that the police-civilian contact determines the satisfaction with the police service and hence the legitimacy. For instance, the civilian who sermon the police for assistance shows the confidence and satisfaction with the role police play within the society (Rosenbaum, Schuck, Costello, Hawkins, & Ring, 2005 p344). This is not the same for the civilians who involuntarily find themselves at the disposal of the assistance by the police.

Results on existing theories on police and procedural justice

Procedural justice means that the police are exhibiting fairness when dealing with the public. The fairness can be ascertained by the satisfaction the civilians exhibit to the performance of the public. This is one theory that is used to show the procedural justice at work as police execute their mandate for the citizens of a nation. Additionally, some personal factors such as race and gender tender to determine the perception of the police and procedural justice. A study on American population revealed that the racial minorities such as the African Americans felt unfairly treated by the police. Additionally, men felt they were treated with more brutality than women, and these disparities revealed the gap when law enforcement handle different type of people. For this reason, such groups of people felt victimized by the police which makes them concluded that the police is unfair. Such situations do not promote the basic elements of procedural j...

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