1st Edition

Comparing Police Organizations The Importance of National Contexts

Edited By Jenny Fleming, Sebastian Roché Copyright 2024

    Police citizen encounters do not occur in a vacuum. Police systems globally have similarities and/or differences which remain largely understudied and therefore underexplained. Comparative policing is a new frontier for policing research as it aims at integrating the institutional and/or macro determinants of police strategy and provides important insights into the context in which such strategies emerge. This volume shows how lessons and insights emerge from a comparative approach to policing research in various regions of the world. It demonstrates the explanatory power of cross-national studies, with a particular focus on politics, policies, and for what concerns the nature of police work and the legitimacy of policing.

    The book presents comparative studies from different geographical locations such as Latin and Central America, Africa, India, and Europe, and offers insights on:

    • Police worker politics in India and Brazil
    • Police, non-state security actors, and political legitimacy in central America
    • Trust in the police and the militarization of law enforcement in Latin America
    • The origins of police legitimacy in Europe
    • How organizational contexts matter by analyzing police-adolescent encounters in France and Germany
    • Legitimacy and cooperation with the police in two African states.

    Cross-state and cross-society research is desirable to increase our understanding of variations of the macro context in which police forces operate, what policing means for citizens and for police officers as professional workers. This insightful volume is a key resource for scholars and researchers of policing, criminology, sociology, and law. This book was originally published as the inaugural volume of Comparative Policing Review / Policing and Society.

    Michael Tonry


    Preface—Why study policing comparatively?
    Wesley G. Skogan

    Introduction—Cross-national research: A new frontier for police studies
    Sebastian Roché and Jenny Fleming

    1.   1.  Police worker politics in India, Brazil, and beyond
    Beatrice Jauregui

    2.    2. Police, non-state actors, and political legitimacy in Central America
    José Miguel Cruz

    3.    3. Trust in the police and the militarization of law enforcement in Latin America
    Hung-En Sung, Bryce Barthuly and Joel Capellan

    4.    4. Institutions, political attitudes or personal values? A multilevel investigation into the origins of police legitimacy in Europe
    Sonja Zmerli

    5.    5. How national contexts matter: A Study of police-adolescent encounters in France and Germany
    Dietrich Oberwittler and Sebastian Roché

    6.    6. Legitimacy and cooperation with the police: Examining empirical relationships using data from Africa
    Francis D. Boateng, Daniel K. Pryce, and Gassan Abess

    7.    7. The inevitable fallibility of policing
    Tim Newburn


    Sebastian Roché is a CNRS Research Professor at Sciences Po Grenoble, University of Grenoble-Aples, France, specializing in comparative policing studies. He is the author, with Dietrich Oberwittler, of Police Citizens Relations Across the Word: Comparing Sources and Contexts of Trust and Legitimacy (2018).

    Jenny Fleming is Professor of Criminology at the University of Southampton, UK and Editor in Chief of Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy. Her recent book, The International Handbook of Policing Ethnography was published in 2023.