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Over the past decade police agencies in the democratic world have increased their involvement in counterterrorism. This new focus, in turn, has generated much debate (and limited empirical research) on the unintended outcomes of policing terrorism, such as its effects on the ability of the police to address crime and carry out other “classic” policing duties, and their relationship with the public. At the same time, discussions about the effects of counterterrorism policing on police community relationships have focused primarily on minority, Muslim or Arab groups, while much less attention has been paid to majority, non-Muslim communities.
Nevertheless, the few studies that have tackled the effects of policing terrorism on the relationship between the police and majority groups indicate that there are important issues that should be addressed in this context. First, as reviewed below, research reveals that terrorism threats and police involvement in this domain, in the long run, bring about a drop in majority communities’ assessments of the police. With regard to the impact of policing terrorism on the processes by which public evaluations of the police are formed, studies show that majority groups remain very much concerned with procedural fairness and police legitimacy, even when faced with intense security threats or when considering counterterrorism policies and cooperation with the police in their efforts to combat terrorism. These communities were also found to be aware of the potential negative outcomes of police focus on counterterrorism, such as neglect of “classic” policing duties and negative effects on the relationship between the police and Muslim or Arab communities, and, finally, research reveals that majority communities remain sensitive to procedural injustice in policing terrorism, even when directed at Muslim communities. Overall, and perhaps contrary to intuitive thinking, it appears that majority groups do not abandon considerations of fair policing in the context of counterterrorism and, while expecting security from the threat, remain equally concerned with procedural justice and place much value on the legitimacy of the police.
Since the terror attack of September 11, 2001, police forces in the United States, as well as in other Western democracies, have become significantly more involved in counterterrorism and other security tasks in comparison to previous decades (Bayley and Weisburd 2009; International Association of Chiefs of Police 2005; National Research Council 2004). Because such responsibilities were relatively new for local police agencies in countries like the United States and not necessarily perceived as “natural” police roles (International Association of Chiefs of Police 2005; Weisburd et al. 2009a), this new focus on counterterrorism gave rise to much debate, speculation, and some empirical research about the effects these tasks may have on the police, their organization, priorities, performance and character, as well as their role in society more generally (e.g., Weisburd et al. 2009b).
One major concern raised by scholars focused on the potential effects of police involvement in counterterrorism on their relationship with the public. Bayley and Weisburd (2009), for example, have argued that extensive homeland security responsibilities may change the focus of the police from “low” to “high” policing (Brodeur 1983), which may affect both their goals and strategies and their character and interactions with citizens. The focus of “high policing” is on macro-level issues rather than local problems. The methods of this policing style are characterized by covert tactics such as surveillance and intelligence gathering, which are often less transparent and accountable, and associated with violations of human rights and procedural justice. Thus, they argue, “high policing” may change the orientation of the police from providing service and viewing citizens as clients to controlling the public and viewing citizens as suspects.
Mastrofski (2006) raised similar concerns in the context of the future of community policing. He suggested that police involvement in counterterrorism may subordinate the community to the police and undermine police accountability and responsiveness to the public. He further argued that focusing on counterterrorism may result in close association between the police and military or intelligence agencies, which may contribute to the militarization of the police, which, in turn, may hamper recent efforts to bring the police and the community closer together. Similar arguments and concerns were raised by other scholars as well (e.g., Hasisi et al. 2009; Murray 2005; Thacher 2005; Weisburd et al. 2009a).
Importantly, however, such concerns were generally raised with regard to minority Arab or Muslim communities. Scholars and practitioners warned that this sector may be perceived as the “enemy within” due to ethnic or national links to the source of the terrorism threat (Hasisi et al. 2009; Weisburd et al. 2009a), and thus their relationship with the police is particularly vulnerable (Henderson et al. 2006; Thacher 2005; Tyler et al. 2010). Much less attention has been paid to the effects of policing terrorism on majority/non- Muslim communities and their relationship with the police, possibly because of the common assumption that members of these communities and the police are “on the same side” in the struggle against terrorism, and thus there is no reason to suspect that the policing of terrorism would impact their partnerships. However, as detailed below, there are important reasons to suspect that this is not necessarily the case, and in fact numerous questions and concerns could be raised in this context. Studies that have examined some of these issues, and have indeed identified various effects (or lack of effects) of policing terrorism on public preferences, expectations of and general attitudes toward the police among majority communities, are reviewed in the following sections followed by an integrative discussion, conclusions, and suggestions for future research.
The Study Of The Relationship Between The Police And Majority Communities In The Context Of Policing Terrorism
What are the effects of police involvement in counterterrorism on the relationship between the police and majority, non-Muslim or non-Arab communities? What would this relationship look like in places or in times of intense terrorism threats or where the police devote much of their resources to counterterrorism? These broad questions may be broken down into many, more specific inquiries. One may wonder, for example, about the correlation between policing terrorism and public evaluations of the police. Does extensive police involvement in counterterrorism impact the image of the police in the public eye? If so, do evaluations improve or weaken? A different set of questions concern the effects of security threats and police involvement in counterterrorism not on absolute levels of support or trust in the police, but rather on the processes by which such evaluations are formed. When assessing police legitimacy in situations of threat, or when considering cooperating with the police in their counterterrorism efforts, do citizens take into account the same factors they would in the context of fighting crime or when there are no specific security threats in the background? Do they give these factors the same weight?
One may also ask if majority communities, while experiencing fear and vulnerability in the face of ongoing security threats, are also aware of the potential costs of police focus on counterterrorism, such as reduced emphasis on crime control or change in the nature of policing services they are receiving. A related question concerns the responses of majority communities to perceived mistreatment of minorities. If the police are viewed as treating minorities in an unfair or biased fashion while engaging in counterterrorism, would this impact their image in the eyes of majority communities? These issues, which have been examined by researchers, make up the current state of knowledge about the relationship between the police and majority communities in the context of policing terrorism. The studies that have tackled these questions are reviewed below, followed by an integrative discussion. It is important to emphasize, however, that the picture is far from complete, as many more questions could be asked and examined in this context. Some directions for future research will be discussed in the last section of the paper.
What Is The Relationship Between Police Involvement In Counterterrorism And Public Evaluations Of The Police Over Time?
Is there a relationship between the level of terrorism threats (and thus police involvement in counterterrorism) and public attitudes toward the police? If so, does focusing on counterterrorism improve or alternatively weaken public support? These questions were examined by Jonathan (2010) within the Israeli context, where the national police force is responsible for and treats all terrorist threats or attacks within Israeli borders. As reviewed by this author, prior to empirical examination both hypotheses appear plausible. On the one hand, scholars have argued that policing terrorism may weaken public assessments of the police, both as a result of change in the nature and character of policing and because the preoccupation with security tasks may come at the expense of handling local crime and disorder problems (e.g., Bayley and Weisburd 2009; Hasisi et al. 2009; Weisburd et al. 2009a, 2010).
On the other hand, there are also reasons to suspect that extensive involvement in counterterrorism could actually improve the public image of the police: in times of acute security threats, by focusing on counterterrorism the police may be perceived as responding to the problem that is mostly troubling the public; terrorism threats may encourage collaboration between the police and community members/ organizations; security-related matters are often viewed as “high status” and “prestigious” by majority communities and may thus improve the overall image of the police; and, finally, the police may appear highly efficient and professional in their rapid, full-scale counterterrorism responses, which may enhance assessments of police competence (see Weisburd et al. 2009a, also see review by Jonathan 2010).
Following these mixed hypotheses, Jonathan (2010) examined fluctuations in numerous types of public attitudes toward the Israel National Police between 1998 and 2007 and, specifically, compared assessments across three time points, each representing a different situation of terrorism threats around the “Second Palestinian Intifada”: 2000, before the outbreak of the Intifada; 2002, the height of the terrorism threats of the Intifada; and 2007, when terrorism threats returned to pre-Intifada levels. This author identified a rise in public assessments of the police following the rise in terrorism threats and a peak in public support corresponding with the peak in threat levels. However, once the threat began to drop, so did evaluations of the police, often to levels lower than those measured at the beginning of the decade, prior to the high-threat period of the Intifada.
These findings are attributed to the tendency for internal cohesion in the face of an external threat (e.g., Stein 1976) and, specifically, to the “Rally ‘Round the Flag” Effect (Mueller 1970), according to which, in times of international crises, support for the national leader and for other public institutions increases, but only for a limited period of time. Once the crisis has passed or, alternatively, drags on longer than expected, support typically returns to earlier levels. The apparently conflicting hypotheses mentioned earlier also seem to be supported: in the short term, assessments of the police among majority communities improve as a result of police involvement in counterterrorism. In the long term, however, the negative effects appear to take their toll and bring about a drop in public evaluations. Importantly, similar fluctuations in attitudes were identified in the USA around the 9/11 terror attack (see Shaw and Brannan 2009).
Do Security Threats Impact The Factors Citizen Consider When Forming Evaluations Of Police Legitimacy?
A second important question examined by scholars in the context of the relationship between the police and majority community in situations of threat concerns the factors citizens consider and value when assessing police legitimacy. The legitimacy of the police in the eyes of the public is frequently viewed as a key outcome of policing in democratic societies (National Research Council 2004). By “police legitimacy” scholars often refer to personal, subjective beliefs that the agency or the rule ought to be obeyed (see Weber 1968), or to “the belief that the police are entitled to call upon the public to follow the law and help combat crime, and that members of the public have an obligation to engage in cooperative behaviors” (Tyler 2004, pp. 86–87).
The critical importance of police legitimacy lays in both normative and instrumental reasons. In democracies, where the police receive their authority and powers from the public, it is expected that they would be perceived as an expression of the community, serving the public interest, rather than alien and distant from citizens and their needs. From the practical perspective, police legitimacy was found to result in numerous desirable outcomes, such as compliance with the law, acceptance of police decisions, and willingness to collaborate with the police, provide information, assist in solving crime and empower the police (e.g., Reisig et al. 2007; Sunshine and Tyler 2003; Tyler 2004, 2009; Tyler and Fagan 2008; also see review by the National Research Council 2004).
Given the importance of police legitimacy, scholars have devoted much attention to identifying the factors that shape legitimacy assessments. These studies have repeatedly shown that the extent to which the police are perceived as legitimate depends primarily on evaluations of the fairness of the processes by which they exercise their authority, or “procedural justice” (National Research Council 2004; Reisig et al. 2007; Tyler 2004, 2009; Tyler et al. 2010). A second important factor was found to be evaluations of the ability of the police to “bring results” – catch rule breakers, for example, or control crime. However, although playing an important role in predicting police legitimacy, these instrumental considerations were consistently found to be secondary to procedural justice in their importance (Sunshine and Tyler 2003; Tyler 2004, 2009).
Nevertheless, according to Jonathan-Zamir and Weisburd (2013), it should not be taken for granted that “procedural justice” would remain the primary predictor of police legitimacy when the public is faced with acute, ongoing security threats. They argue that under such circumstances, when citizens are experiencing insecurity, fear and vulnerability, they may be more concerned with end results, i.e. with the police handling the threat and providing security, and less worried about fair processes. Thus, under threat, the role of police performance in shaping legitimacy may rise, while the importance of procedural justice may drop. What is more, assessments of police performance may overtake procedural justice and become the primary antecedent of police legitimacy. Similar suggestions were raised by Huq et al. (2011), who argued that in the context of counterterrorism policing, non-Muslims may view the threat of terrorism as particularly dangerous or morally odious, or believe that only Muslim or Arab communities will bear the costs of policing terrorism, and thus these non-Muslim communities may become less sensitive to procedural fairness.
Jonathan-Zamir and Weisburd (2013) examined these hypotheses by comparing predictors of police legitimacy across two groups of communities in Israel: one facing immediate, severe security threats (missile attacks originating from the Gaza Strip) and the other facing no specific threats at the time. They found that while assessments of the performance of the police did rise in importance for the public in situations of threat, evaluations of the fairness of police processes did not decline in importance and, what is more, remained the primary predictor of police legitimacy in both conditions. These results suggest that security threats impact public expectations regarding the performance and efficiency of the police (which become more important in assessing police legitimacy). At the same time, they also reveal what does not change in situations of security threats: under such circumstances, majority communities do not become less concerned with fairness in police treatment, and these assessments remain the primary predictor of police legitimacy.
An analysis of survey data from New York City carried out by Huq et al. (2011) reveals similar results. Among non-Muslim communities, assessments of procedural justice in the implementation of counterterrorism policy were the primary predictor of police legitimacy, followed by evaluations of procedural justice in the formation of counterterrorism policy. Other potentially important factors, such as the extent to which the police make the respondent feel safe from terrorist threats or the effectiveness the police show in fighting terrorism, were found to be either statistically nonsignificant in predicting police legitimacy or significant but less influential than procedural justice assessments. These analyses clearly show that the importance of procedural fairness for the public, which has been repeatedly demonstrated in the context of crime control, does not decline for non-Muslim communities in the context of policing terrorism.
Which Factors Impact The Willingness Of Majority Communities To Cooperate With The Police In Their Efforts To Fight Terrorism?
As mentioned above, the legitimacy of the police in the eyes of citizens was found to have important effects on their willingness to engage in cooperative behaviors, at least on the declarative level. Sunshine and Tyler (2003), for example, found among two samples of New York City residents that evaluations of police legitimacy were associated with willingness to report crimes to the police, provide information, take part in police-community activities, and empower the police. Similarly, Tyler and Fagan (2008) identified that individuals who viewed the police as legitimate were more likely to state they would cooperate with the police by fighting crime in their neighborhoods. These conclusions are supported by other researchers as well (e.g., Mastrofski et al. 1996; Tyler and Wakslak 2004).
At the same time, and similarly to the previous question about antecedents of police legitimacy, it cannot be taken for granted that assessments of police legitimacy would have the same impact on willingness to cooperate with the police in the context of combating terrorism. As argued by Huq et al. (2011), majority or non-Muslim communities are likely to perceive terrorism threats as particularly salient or harmful, and may hold different normative and ideological beliefs about terrorism (in comparison to crime). Thus, it is reasonable to expect that factors such as perceptions regarding the seriousness of the terrorism threat or the effectiveness of the police in addressing it, would become particularly salient in shaping cooperative behaviors.
Nevertheless, and similarly to studies carried out in the context of crime control, the analysis reported by Huq et al. (2011) reveals the critical importance of police legitimacy in shaping cooperation among non-Muslims in the context of policing terrorism as well. Assessments of police legitimacy were found to be the most important factor predicting the willingness of these communities to alert the police to potential terrorism risks, more influential than evaluations of police effectiveness in combating terrorism, the extent to which the police make the respondent feel safe from terrorism threats, or sociodemographic factors (although views regarding the seriousness of the terrorism threat were almost as important as assessments of police legitimacy). When predicting the willingness of non-Muslims to cooperate with the police by taking part in educational efforts about the dangers imposed by potential terrorists and by encouraging community members to cooperate with law enforcement officials in their efforts to combat terrorism, legitimacy assessments were found to be the second strongest predictor, surpassed only by race.
Assessments of procedural justice in both the formation and implementation of counterterrorism policies were also found to have direct and strong effects on overall willingness to cooperate with the police in their efforts to fight terrorism. It should be noted, however, that perceptions regarding the seriousness of the terrorism threat were the primary predictor in this analysis. Nevertheless, similarly to the results reviewed above regarding antecedents of police legitimacy under threat, the legitimacy of the police in the eyes of the public, as well as the fairness of the processes by which they exercise their authority, remains critical in shaping willingness to cooperate with the police among majority communities in the context of policing terrorism.
Do Majority Communities Consider The Potential Negative Implications Of Police Involvement In Counterterrorism?
The research findings reviewed above raise another important question about majority communities and the involvement of local police agencies in counterterrorism. It is often assumed that majority communities desire and support harsh responses to terrorism threats (see, e.g., Gordon and Arian 2001; Huddy et al. 2005), and as reviewed above, there is evidence suggesting that members of these communities evaluate the police more positively in times of severe security threats, at least in the short term (Jonathan 2010). But at the same time, do they also consider the potential costs of extensive police involvement in counterterrorism, such as reduced focus on crime control, order maintenance and other “classic” police responsibilities, or change in the nature and character of policing in the direction of “high policing?” (see Bayley and Weisburd 2009).
Jonathan and Weisburd (2010) have examined this question using a large-scale community survey in Israel, and found that, overall, majority communities are indeed aware of and consider at least some negative outcomes of extensive police involvement in counterterrorism. Many respondents to their survey believe that policing terrorism negatively affects the relationship between the Israeli police and the public, particularly Arab communities. Respondents also expressed strong agreement with the notion that policing terrorism in Israel comes at the expense of other police responsibilities, such as fighting crime and enforcing traffic regulations. Moreover, many hold that counterterrorism is often used by the police as an excuse for weak performance in fighting crime.
These results suggest that majority communities are more sophisticated in their expectations from the police than is often assumed, and their desires are complex. While possibly supporting harsh counterterrorism responses (e.g., Gordon and Arian 2001; Huddy et al. 2005), these citizens are also well aware of the potential, unintended negative outcomes. Thus, it appears that in order to maintain public trust in the police and police legitimacy, even in the face of security threats the police cannot focus solely on providing rapid, forceful responses and abandon adequate performance in “classic” domains, fair processes and appropriate interactions with the public.
Are Majority Communities Affected By The Way Minority Groups Are Treated By The Police?
As reviewed above, majority Jewish communities in Israel were found to be very much aware of the potential negative effects of policing terrorism on the relationship between the police and minority Arab communities. However, Jonathan and Weisburd (2010) have not addressed the question of whether differential treatment of these minority communities affects the relationship between the police and majority groups. In other words, are majority communities sensitive to unfair treatment when it is directed at what may be perceived as an out-group, possibly associated with terrorism threats?
This effect, which was observed by Tyler and Wakslak (2004) in the context of crime control and termed the “spillover effect,” was examined by Huq et al. (2011) in the context of policing terrorism. Survey data collected by these authors in New York City revealed that evaluations that the police are treating Muslims disrespectfully in their counterterrorism efforts, or that they are increasingly targeting Muslim communities, had significant and negative effects on assessments of both procedural justice and police legitimacy among majority, non-Muslim communities. Interestingly, beliefs regarding heightened suspicion of Muslims had no significant effects. Thus, simply viewing Muslim communities as a more risky group was not, in and of itself, a problem in the eyes of majority communities. However, disrespectful treatment or increased targeting of Muslims had a negative effect on how majority groups view the police. Finally, evaluations of procedural justice and police legitimacy among non-Muslims were also significantly and negatively affected by assessments of “public police intrusions” directed at minorities (public police activities, such as searching bags at train stations).
Huq et al. (2011) conclude that when the police, as part of their counterterrorism efforts, behave toward minority groups in a way that is perceived to be unfair, they lose legitimacy among majority communities as well. In other words, in the context of policing terrorism (as is the case with policing crime), it appears that the relationship between the police and majority communities is influenced not only by direct effects, such as reduced focus on crime control or a more militaristic style of policing, but also by perceptions regarding how the “other” group is being treated, even if that group is viewed as a potential source of threat. These results again highlight the importance of fair treatment in the context of policing terrorism.
Discussion And Conclusions
How does policing terrorism impact the relationship between the police and majority groups? What should local police agencies take into consideration when thinking about their partnership with these communities in “the new era of counterterrorism policing?” Before addressing the specific effects (or lack of effects) identified by scholars, it is important to stress that the studies reviewed above, first and foremost, draw attention to the importance of thinking about and investigating the relationship between the police and majority communities in the context of policing terrorism. To date, most discussions and empirical research on counterterrorism and police-community relationship have focused on minority, Muslim or Arab groups. While clearly important, propositions and hypotheses raised by scholars, as well as findings from the few studies that have included majority communities, highlight the importance of focusing on this group as well.
With regard to the specific implications of counterterrorism policing for majority groups and their partnerships with the police, studies have approached the topic from different angles and thus provide different answers to this question. At the same time, as detailed below, commonalities do emerge. First, majority communities’ assessments of the police do appear to be affected by both the terrorism threat itself and by police involvement in this domain. In the short term, public support for the police and evaluations of their performance and legitimacy improve. In the long term, however, these assessments return to previous levels and, what is more, often drop to levels lower than those measured prior to the high-threat period.
One of the explanations offered for these fluctuations is that, over time, the negative, unintended outcomes of policing terrorism begin to take their toll and impact majority communities’ attitudes toward the police. The survey specifically addressing perceptions of the costs of policing terrorism reinforces the premise that majority communities consider, or are at least aware of, some of the prices paid for extensive police involvement in counterterrorism. Whether it is reduced emphasis on crime control or a more militaristic, “high policing” style of policing, these costs appear to impact the views of majority communities, as evidenced by the drop in the public image of the police over time. Perhaps, the most critical is the drop in public trust in the police, which, in addition to being a cost in its own right, may significantly hamper public cooperation and acceptance of police authority (e.g., Tyler 2004, 2009). In this context, it should also be stressed that any immediate improvement in public attitudes toward the police in times of intense security threats should be viewed cautiously, as it is, in all likelihood, fragile, temporary by nature, and in large part a result of the threat itself rather than specific police responses. Such peaks in support may also result in members of the public temporarily ignoring or undervaluing police mistakes or mistreatment.
The second approach taken by scholars to the study of the relationship between the police and majority groups in the context of policing terrorism utilized the “legitimacy” or “procedural justice” model, as specified by Tyler (2004, 2009) and others (e.g., Huq et al. 2011; Reisig et al. 2007; Sunshine and Tyler 2003; Tyler and Fagan 2008). The main question here is whether the basic relationships of the model, as identified in previous studies in the context of crime control, hold for majority communities in the context of counterterrorism policing. Specifically, would “procedural justice” retain its importance as the primary antecedent of police legitimacy?
Would legitimacy assessments, in turn, remain a major predictor of willingness to cooperate with the police? Finally, would evaluations of the way the police treat Muslim minorities impact the legitimacy of the police and assessments of their fairness in the eyes of majority groups?
As reviewed above, there are compelling reasons to suspect that the legitimacy model would work differently for majority communities in the context of policing terrorism, primarily because terrorism threats appear to bring about much fear, uncertainty and vulnerability, as well as ideological perspectives that are different from those generated by crime threats. Moreover, majority communities may believe that counterterrorism policing and any procedural injustice associated with it would not be directed at them, but at the minority out-group linked to terrorism threats. Thus, it is reasonable to suspect that considerations regarding the fairness of police processes or the legitimacy of the police more generally would decline in importance, while more instrumental, outcome-oriented concerns such as the magnitude of the threat or successes the police show in addressing it, would have the most salient impact on citizens.
At the same time, studies carried out both in Israel and in the USA reveal that, overall, this is not the case. Even when facing intense security threats or when asked specifically about counterterrorism policies, assessments regarding the fairness of police processes remain the most important antecedent of police legitimacy. While the performance or effectiveness of the police may rise in importance in situations of threat, it nevertheless remains secondary to procedural justice in predicting police legitimacy, as do other factors such as the sense of security the police are providing or sociodemographic factors. Police legitimacy, in turn, remains a major predictor of willingness to cooperate with the police in their counterterrorism efforts, including willingness to alert the police to potential terrorist threats and take part in educational efforts about counterterrorism (although other, instrumental considerations were also found to be important in this context).
Research findings also reveal that majority communities are not indifferent to the way the police treat Muslim minority groups, even if they are perceived as potentially linked to terrorism threats. In addition to being aware of the negative effects of policing terrorism on the relationship between the police and minority Muslim or Arab communities, beliefs that the police are treating minorities disrespectfully, or are increasingly targeting them, hamper the views of majority groups regarding police use of fair processes, as well as their legitimacy more generally.
In sum, it appears that, contrary to intuitive views, when faced with security threats or when considering counterterrorism in particular, majority groups do not put aside daily concerns with “ordinary policing” and fair processes and become solely interested in forceful, rapid responses. Importantly, this is not to say that instrumental considerations do not matter. The studies reviewed above reveal that majority communities do value police performance more under threat; support and evaluate the police more positively during high-threat periods; and, when considering cooperating with the police in their counterterrorism efforts, do value instrumental considerations, such as the seriousness of the terrorism threat.
At the same time, majority groups are also well aware of the costs of policing terrorism and their negative effects on fighting crime and police-community relationships, and their evaluations of the police, including perceptions of trust, procedural justice and performance, dramatically drop over time, perhaps, at least in part, because of these negative outcomes. Majority communities also desire and value fair processes more than end results when considering police legitimacy, even under situations of acute security threats or when specifically considering counterterrorism policing. Moreover, assessments of police legitimacy remain a major predictor of majority communities’ willingness to cooperate with the police in fighting terrorism, and, finally, it appears that majority groups are highly sensitive to procedural injustice, even when directed at minority Muslim communities. Thus, it appears that majority groups are not willing to “give the police an exemption” in the face of terrorism just as long as they provide protection from the threat. Members of these communities still expect the police to address crime and other “classic” problems and, importantly, insist on fair, polite, respectable processes.
It should be noted, however, the picture is far from complete, as many more questions could be asked and examined in this context. For example, the relationships between the different components of the legitimacy model, as well as public assessments of the costs of policing terrorism, have been tested using public surveys, and thus, the findings reviewed above are based solely on citizens’ statements. It is therefore not clear if, for example, we would actually find more cooperation with the police in their counterterrorism efforts in places or in times where they are perceived as more legitimate. We also know little about how citizens form their evaluations of police use of procedural justice in countering terrorism or assessments regarding the prices paid for police focus on counterterrorism. Are these evaluations based on personal experiences, the experiences of friends or family members, or media coverage of policing terrorism?
Hypotheses regarding the outcomes of policing terrorism and, in turn, their effects on police-community relationships also need to be tested. For example, does focusing on counterterrorism indeed change the nature and character of policing in the direction of “high policing?” Does it affect crime control? While there is some evidence supporting these propositions (e.g., Weisburd et al. 2010), they clearly need to be examined further. In turn, if these outcomes are indeed identified, do they actually affect the partnership between the police and the pubic in the real world, and, if so, in what ways? Finally, questions could be asked about mitigating the potential negative outcomes of policing terrorism. Given that local police agencies sometimes have no choice but to focus on counterterrorism, at least for limited periods of time, what measures can they take in order to preserve, and perhaps even strengthen, their relationships with majority groups while still engaging in effective counterterrorism policing?
While often not the focus of discussions or research, policing terrorism bears important implications for the relationship between the police and majority groups. Perhaps most significant are the research findings indicating that, contrary to intuitive views, even in the face of major security threats or in the context of policing terrorism more generally, and even when considering the relationship between the police and minority Muslim communities, majority groups do not abandon their concerns with fair processes and legitimate policing. Any preconceptions that when facing terrorism threats, majority communities become only interested in security and support forceful, rapid police responses no matter the cost are misleading, and if utilized as the basis for counterterrorism policies are likely to have negative effects on the relationship between the police and majority groups.
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