Public Attitudes Towards Police and Body-Worn Cameras

Miss Mickela Pinto1, Associate Professor  Lynne Roberts1

1Curtin University School of Psychology, Bentley, Australia

The Western Australia Police Force is implementing police use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) to capture police-citizen interactions. As research exploring public attitudes towards officers using BWCs is limited, this mixed methods research aimed to investigate public attitudes towards police officers using BWCs in Western Australia from a procedural justice perspective. It was hypothesised that a) public attitudes towards procedural justice in policing would predict attitudes towards police use of BWCs, and that the strength of this relationship would be moderated by socio-economic status, and b) public attitudes towards procedural justice in policing would vary when police use of BWCs in police encounters is specified. Additionally, the qualitative component aimed to provide insight on how police use of BWCs might influence public perspectives on the fairness of police encounters. An online questionnaire was completed by 267 Western Australian adults (184 females, 83 males; M = 31.95 years, SD = 12.59). The data was analysed using a moderated regression analysis, t test and mixed content analysis. Findings indicate socio-economic status does not moderate the relationship between attitudes towards procedural justice and police use of BWCs. There was no significant difference in procedural justice attitudes when police use of BWCs in police encounters was specified compared to when it was not. Findings further suggest the public are supportive of the implementation, but have concerns regarding police discretion in using and managing the devices. In this presentation, I will discuss the implications for the roll-out of police use of BWCs in Western Australia.


Biography:

Mickela Pinto is a Honours student completing her Bachelor of Psychology degree at Curtin University. Her research interests include public attitudes towards crime and justice, and stigma and attitudes towards mental health in the Australian mining industry. Specifically, the focus of her Honours research is public attitudes towards procedural justice in policing and the introduction of police use of body-worn cameras in Western Australia.

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