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Factors affecting public trust in police: A study of twin cities (Rawalpindi & Islamabad)

Asim Muneeb Khan, Abdul Shakoor, Latafat Aziz, & Anas Baryal

In Pakistan, public trust in police has become a critical issue because of the undergoing transitional phase of this institution. The efficacy of police to maintain peace in the society has frequently been questioned by the civil society and media. Despite the serious attempts made by the government for increasing the efficiency of police, still, the overall situation is quite
dismal. The current scholarship confirms that the trust of public in police plays a vital role to increase police competence. The current study is an effort to understand the level of public trust in police and to explore the social and structural factors that affect public trust in Pakistani Police. A cross sectional survey was conducted by using interview schedule as a tool
of data collection. Five hundred and two respondents (Affectee=247 and Non-Affectee=255) were interviewed from Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Regression analysis indicated that the political interference, stereotypes & negative perception about police were among major predictors of perceived public trust in police. The study also confirmed that strengthening police can enhance the level of public trust in police. Furthermore, the study is
associated with the current debate that political based recruitment and political involvement could deteriorate public trust in police. In the light of these findings, there is dire need of engaging citizens with police in order to develop a positive perception about police among common people. This objective can be achieved by depoliticizing the police and developing a
transparent structure within the institution.

Keywords: police, public, procedural based trust, outcome based trust