Trust in Private Security Companies and Trust in the Police in Switzerland: Similarities or Differences?

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Silvia STAUBLI, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Research on trust in the police emphasizes the role of contact between the public and the police. The underlying procedural justice approach argues that a fair and neutral treatment by the police such as in a traffic control has a positive impact on peoples’ trust in them. As a result, the police are viewed as a legitimate force (Tyler and Huo, 2002). In Swiss surveys, people regularly report a very high trust in the institution police which makes them ranking amongst the top trust-in-the-police-countries in Western Europe (Staubli, 2017). However, changing requirements lead to a specialization and diversification within the police (Wildi and Hagmann, 2016). In addition, the private security industry has grown, with multiple players entering the field. As a consequence, it is getting more difficult for the population to know who is responsible for what. This paper builds on this context and asks whether peoples’ trust in private security companies is shaped by the same known aspects as trust in the police. Furthermore, Swiss citizens’ perceptions of the roles and duties of the police are compared with those of private security companies. Empirical analyses are based on data of the Studie Sicherheit 2017 (Szvircsev Tresch and Wenger, 2017).

Staubli, S. (2017). Trusting the Police – Comparisons across Eastern and Western Europe. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.

Szvircsev Tresch, T., and Wenger, A. (Eds.). (2017). Sicherheit 2017: Aussen-, Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitische Meinungsbildung im Trend. ETH Zürich: Center Security Studies und Militärakademie.

Tyler, T.R., and Huo, Y.J. (2002). Trust in the law: Encouraging public cooperation with the police and courts. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Wildi, L., and Hagmann, J. (2016). Vom Landjäger zum modernen Ordnungshüter: die Polizeiausbildung in der Schweiz. Bulletin zur Schweizerischen Sicherheitspolitik. ETH Zürich: Center for Security Studies.