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    Procedural justice, compliance with the law and police stop-and-search: a study of young people in England and Scotland

    Murray, K. and McVie, S. and Farren, D. and Herlitz, Lauren and Hough, Mike and Norris, P. (2021) Procedural justice, compliance with the law and police stop-and-search: a study of young people in England and Scotland. Policing and Society 31 (3), pp. 263-282. ISSN 1043-9463.

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    The policing of young people, especially through stop-and-search, has been rigorously debated in the context of rising violence in the UK. While concepts based on procedural justice theory and perceptions of police fairness are directly relevant to these debates, these have rarely been tested on young people, nor have they taken account of the impact of stop-and-search. This paper examines young people’s experiences of stop-and-search in two Scottish and two English cities, and tests the relationship between these experiences, their trust in the police, their perceptions of police legitimacy and their compliance with the law. The study finds that Scottish adolescents, who experienced higher volume stop-and-search, had more negative attitudes to the police and perceived them to be less procedurally fair than English adolescents. Structural equation modelling confirms that principles of procedural justice theory do apply to young people in this UK sample. However, our findings suggest that stop-and-search may damage trust in the police and perceptions of police legitimacy, regardless of the volume of police stop-and-search, and this may result in increased offending behaviour. With ongoing calls to increase the use of stop-and-search in response to recent increases in knife crime in England, we argue that its use needs to be carefully balanced against the, as yet poorly evidenced, benefits of the use of the tactic.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): ISRD, stop-and-search, procedural justice theory, legitimacy, compliance, young people
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Mike Hough
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2020 09:25
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:57


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