Determinants of public confidence in police: An international perspective
Previous studies concerning public confidence in the police had primarily focused on demographic, attitudinal, and contextual factors in the United States. Little research, however, has used country-level variables to explain variations that exist across countries. As a result, this study examined the impact of country-level predictors (e.g., homicide rate and level of democracy) as well as individual-level predictors on public confidence in the police by utilizing data sets collected from three international surveys. Using hierarchical generalized linear modeling (HGLM) for the multinomial dependent variable, this study found a significant and negative relationship between homicide rate and public confidence in the police. People living in a country with a higher homicide rate reported lower levels of confidence in the police. Level of democracy was also found to be positively related to public confidence in the police. Of the individual-level variables, age and education were found to be significant predictors. A positive relationship was also found between political conservatism or personal satisfaction and confidence in the police. In line with attitudinal and contextual predictors, individuals with higher levels of acceptance toward deviant subcultures reported lower levels of confidence in the police. On the other hand, those who were more satisfied with their country's democratic development showed more favorable attitudes toward the police. The findings of this study implied that police organizations should put greater efforts toward the reduction of crime while protecting democratic values within a society.