Clients' Perspectives on Policing: Service Quality, Justice, and Satisfaction

Edward R. Maguire, George Mason University

Policing is a service industry. Those who request assistance from police, as well as those who are involuntarily subjected to police authority, are its clients. Thse clients have varying opinions about the quality of the service they receive from police. They have varying opinions about the extent to which the encounter, the process, and the outcome they receive is just. They also have varying levels of overall satisfaction with the police. This paper combines these three largely separate traditions of theory and research both inside and outside of policing - service quality, justice, and overall satisfaction - to develop a firmer understanding of how citizens perceive the police. After conceptually mappingg these three bodies of research and theory, this paper outlines the results of a study that sought to measure these concepts in one police department. Finally, based on the results of the conceptual review and the pilot test, it outlines a vision for implementing a large-scale standardized measurement system for measuring service quality, perceptions of justice, and overall satisfaction with the American police.

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Updated 05/20/2006