Procedural Justice: Advancing Police Legitimacy

Procedural justice is a general term referring to the way in which police officers exercise their authority. Its importance develops out of the many studies suggesting that people react to legal authority primarily by judging how fairly officers exercise their authority, rather than in terms of the favorability/unfavorability of the outcomes they receive.

photo of King County Sheriff in truck

When the police act in procedurally fair ways, they build legitimacy, enhance the voluntary acceptance of their decisions and continued adherence to those decisions over time, increase compliance with the law in people’s everyday lives, and heighten the willingness to cooperate with the police to fight crime in the community.

In collaboration with Melissa Bradley, COPS Office

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