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10 June 2014

Progress of FIDUCIA work on public perceptions

Recent research submitted under WP11 “Policy Brief on levels of Trust and Legitimacy across Europe” examined public perceptions about police and court systems across Europe as it pertains to effectiveness, fairness and legitimacy. Information was gathered through the European Social Survey with questions created by members of the FIDUCIA team during the prior project EURO-JUSTIS, funded by the European Commission.

Research into all three areas has held similar results. Several post-communist countries (such as the Ukraine) scored consistently low indicating a poor level of trust in both the police and court systems and an overall feeling of unfairness in dealing with such authorities. In contrast, neo-liberal countries (such as UK and Ireland) and Scandinavian countries scored consistently higher inferring a higher level of trust and perceived legitimacy in law enforcement and judiciary systems respectively.

Although there were varying levels of trust across countries, research supports the idea that similar criteria are used in developing trust attitudes towards authorities. Overall, the policy recommendations supported by the research indicate that indicators of trust in justice should be more broadly employed by surveys. In addition, decision makers should pay special attention to such results to achieve more balanced crime policies. Lastly, more effort should be made to improve interactions between the police, courts and the public in order to ensure fair procedural results.