Ben Bradford

Ben Bradford
University College London | UCL · Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

PhD, London School of Economics

About

218
Publications
153,936
Reads
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7,877
Citations
Citations since 2016
121 Research Items
5819 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,000
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,000
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - present
University of Oxford
Position
  • Career development fellow

Publications

Publications (218)
Chapter
Police in England, Scotland and Wales operate largely unarmed and have done since the formation of the London Metropolitan Police in 1829. Yet, despite the long history of unarmed policing in Britain, terror attacks in the UK and Europe and a putative rise in serious violent crime have led to an increase in the deployment of firearms officers and c...
Article
In the spring and summer of 2020, police in the United States killed Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and other unarmed people of color. In one of the largest social movements in the nation’s history, thousands engaged in public protests and called to defund or abolish the police. Debate about police racism and the need for reform intensified, with pub...
Article
Full-text available
Police departments regularly conduct public opinion surveys to measure attitudes towards the police. The results of these surveys can be used to shape and evaluate policing policy and practice. Yet the extant evidence base is hampered when people use different methods and when there is no common data standard. In this paper we present a set of 13 c...
Article
Full-text available
Police departments regularly conduct public opinion surveys to measure attitudes towards the police. The results of these surveys can be used to shape and evaluate policing policy and practice. Yet the extant evidence base is hampered when people use different methods and when there is no common data standard. In this paper we present a set of 13 c...
Article
Full-text available
Interest in the political economy of crime goes back to sociology’s founding fathers, but the nature of the relationship between restrictive social security systems and crime remains contested. This paper exploits exogenous variation in the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) to local areas across England and Wales to address this question. We fi...
Article
Full-text available
The excellent target article raises much food for thought. In this commentary we first discuss what is included in their proposed category of ‘positive evaluations and responses to police assertions of power to attempt social influence’. We then consider some of the implications of the concentric diagram for our understanding of police authority an...
Preprint
In the spring and summer of 2020, police in the U.S. killed Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and other unarmed people of colors. Thousands across the country engaged in public protests and called to defund or abolish the police, constituting one of the largest social movements in the nation’s history. Public views on the Black Lives Matter movement are...
Article
Full-text available
We examine consensual and coercive police–citizen relations in São Paulo, Brazil. According to procedural justice theory, popular legitimacy operates as part of a virtuous circle, whereby normatively appropriate police behavior encourages people to self‐regulate, which then reduces the need for coercive forms of social control. But can consensual a...
Chapter
Through a consideration of the use of mobile devices by the police and the public, this chapter explores some of the potential issues raised by the incorporation of technology. What internal challenges should be considered for police organisations? What impact may the expansion of technologically mediated interactions have on public perceptions of...
Article
Full-text available
In the UK, knife crime continues to be a persistent and worrying concern. Media campaigns are often used by police and anti-knife crime organisations in an attempt to discourage young people from picking up a weapon. Many focus on the potentially devastating consequences associated with carrying a weapon, with the aim of provoking fear and thus a d...
Article
Objective: We conducted an exploratory study testing procedural justice theory with a novel population. We assessed the extent to which police procedural justice, effectiveness, legitimacy, and perceived risk of sanction predict compliance with the law among people experiencing homelessness. Hypotheses: We did not develop formal a priori hypothe...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives To test whether normative and non-normative forms of obligation to obey the police are empirically distinct and to assess whether they exhibit different dynamics in terms of the downstream effects of police-citizen contact.Methods Analysing data from the Scottish Community Engagement Trial of procedurally just policing, we use natural ef...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Test the asymmetry thesis of police-citizen contact that police trustworthiness and legitimacy are affected more by negative than by positive experiences of interactions with legal agents by analyzing changes in attitudes towards the police after an encounter with the police. Test whether prior attitudes moderate the impact of contact on...
Article
Collective efficacy is a neighbourhood social process that has important benefits for crime prevention. Policing is thought to be one antecedent to collective efficacy, but the mechanisms by which police activity and officer behaviour are thought to foster collective efficacy are not well understood. This article presents findings from a rapid evid...
Preprint
This chapter, for consideration at the Research Handbook in Law & Psychology edited by Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff, has three interlinked themes. First, key to legitimation are relational norms that carry identity-related messages about status, equality and respect. Second, relational concerns extend beyond status, value and standing, to include agen...
Preprint
Drawing on work into procedural justice and legal socialisation, we test the empirical link between experiences of stop and search and the extent to which male adolescents hold negative gendered beliefs regarding sexuality and intimate partner relations. We reason that procedurally unfair stop/searches can signal to young people that it is ‘ok’ to...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Test whether (1) people view a policing decision made by an algorithm as more or less trustworthy than when an officer makes the same decision; (2) people who are presented with a specific instance of algorithmic policing have greater or lesser support for the general use of algorithmic policing in general; and (3) people use trust as a...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this entry we concentrate on empirical legitimacy. Taking the perspective of those subject to (and beneficiaries of) police power, we first discuss the conceptual definition of legitimacy as a component of the relationship between police and public. On what basis can it be claimed that people believe that the police have the right to power and t...
Article
Full-text available
Areas high in collective efficacy – where residents know and trust one another and are willing to intervene to solve neighbourhood problems – tend to experience less crime. Policing is thought to be one antecedent to collective efficacy, but little empirical research has explored this question. Using three waves of survey data collected from London...
Preprint
Full-text available
The use of force is arguably the defining feature of police. Yet this power is often controversial: a key node in the contest and debate that almost always swirls around police, with the question of race never far from such contestation. In this paper, we consider the influence of race in responses to use of force incidents among British-based samp...
Article
Full-text available
We explore young people's experiences and perceptions of knife crime, and we compare these to the understanding of police experts, to explore the perceptions shaping trust in the police and policing. We carry out an experience sampling survey deployed using a mobile application reflecting on safety and knife crime, to understand young people's dail...
Article
We explore young people’s experiences and perceptions of knife crime, and we compare these to the understanding of police experts, to explore the perceptions shaping trust in the police and policing. We carry out an experience sampling survey deployed using a mobile application reflecting on safety and knife crime, to understand young people’s dail...
Article
Some immigrants can be reluctant to cooperate with the police due to experiences of social exclusion and discrimination. Procedural justice scholars argue that people cooperate with police when they feel the police are just and fair because such treatment motivates identification with social categories that police represent. In this paper, we consi...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Test whether cooperation with the police can be modelled as a place-based norm that varies in strength from one neighborhood to the next. Estimate whether perceived police legitimacy predicts an individual’s willingness to cooperate in weak-norm neighborhoods, but not in strong-norm neighborhoods where most people are either willing or u...
Article
Full-text available
Police departments regularly conduct public opinion surveys to measure attitudes towards the police. The results of these surveys can be used to shape and evaluate policing policy and practice. Yet the extant evidence base is hampered when people use different methods and when there is no common data standard. In this paper we present a set of 13 c...
Article
Full-text available
How do social norms and legal requirements combine to shape collective behaviour? A multi-wave ten-city panel study set during the first UK lockdown finds that compliance was a powerful in-group signalling device, driven by the expressive and coordinating power of formal and informal rules. COVID-19 pandemic laws allowed the Government to operate a...
Article
Full-text available
Police organisations have a wealth of experience in responding to emergencies, but COVID-19 is unprecedented in terms of the speed, scale and complexity of developing doctrine and its implementation by officers. The crisis also threw into sharp relief the fact that police policy and, crucially, practice are always implemented within wider social, p...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives. Bring people’s perceptions of systemic racism into procedural justice theory. Test an expanded model of police legitimacy that includes people’s perceptions of the under-policing and over-policing of Black communities. Methods. A cross-sectional survey based on a quota sample of 1,500 US residents designed to resemble the general popula...
Article
Full-text available
Social identity is a core aspect of procedural justice theory, which predicts that fair treatment at the hands of power holders such as police expresses, communicates and generates feelings of inclusion, status and belonging within salient social categories. In turn, a sense of shared group membership with power-holders, with police officers as pow...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives This study tested whether the presence of a firearm changed the way people reacted to police among a British sample.Method In an online study, participants were shown images of armed and unarmed police and rated them on a number of variables. Some participants were primed to think about terrorism, and some participants were exposed to mo...
Preprint
Objective: Drawing on work into the dynamics of authority-subordinate relationships, we examined whether police procedural justice, legitimacy and deterrence predict compliance with the law among people experiencing homelessness. Hypotheses: We hypothesized that people living on the streets of London will be less attuned to the relational and value...
Preprint
Social identity is a core aspect of procedural justice theory, which predicts that fair treatment at the hands of power holders such as police expresses, communicates and generates feelings of inclusion, status and belonging within salient social categories. In turn, a sense of shared group membership with power-holders, with police officers as pow...
Article
Full-text available
Worry about COVID-19 is a central topic of research into the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we present a new way of measuring worry about catching COVID-19 that distinguishes between worry as a negative experience that damages people’s quality of life (dysfunctional) and worry as an adaptive experience tha...
Article
Ethnic minority officers continue to be underrepresented across UK police forces. Further, some ethnic minority groups consistently report lower levels of confidence in police compared to their White British counterparts. Although there is consensus that a more ethnically representative police service is a good idea, there is limited evidence in th...
Preprint
Full-text available
We explore the relevance of Procedural Justice Theory (PJT) for understanding the relationship between police and marginalized groups and individuals. Analysis is based on ethnographic research into the policing of the street population in an inner London borough, through shadowing policing patrols and embedding observation within the homeless comm...
Article
We explore the relevance of procedural justice theory for understanding the relationship between police and marginalized groups and individuals. Analysis is based on ethnographic research into the policing of the street population in an inner London borough through shadowing policing patrols and embedding observation within the homeless community....
Article
Purpose The range of tactical force options available to police is increasing, while public debate about police use of force is never far from the headlines. This paper aims to examine what factors shape how people accept police use of force. Design/methodology/approach The authors use two online experiments to test whether different force options...
Preprint
Ethnic minority officers continue to be underrepresented across UK police forces. Further, some ethnic minority groups consistently report lower levels of confidence in police compared to their White British counterparts. Although there is consensus that a more ethnically representative police service is a good idea, there is limited evidence in th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Areas high in collective efficacy—where residents know and trust one another, and are willing to intervene to solve neighbourhood problems—tend to experience less crime. Policing is thought to be one antecedent to collective efficacy, but little empirical research has explored this question. Using three waves of survey data collected from London re...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper examines how when police are perceived to be procedurally just it can enhance immigrants' identification and solidarity with police as well as their identification with their adopted nation. This in turn has a positive effect on their willingness to cooperate and engage with police.
Article
Full-text available
We use speech act theory to study the U.K. state’s response to large-scale public disorder across English cities in August 2011. This historical case has practical implications for understanding how nation states address other crises—because we explain in detail how the discourse of powerful state actors restores order. Drawing on parliamentary deb...
Book
Making an Impact on Policing and Crime: Psychological Research, Policy and Practice applies a range of case studies and examples of psychological research by international, leading researchers to tackle real-world issues within the field of crime and policing. Making an Impact on Policing and Crime documents the application of cutting-edge researc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Worry about COVID-19 is a central topic of research into the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Worry can be a negative and debilitating experience that damages mental health and discourages healthy re-engagement with the world, but it can also be a problem-solving activity, directing people’s attention to problems, and enco...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Drawing on recent work in policing and organizational psychology, we examined factors related to openness to organizational change and to adopting evidence-based interview techniques among law enforcement investigators. Hypotheses: We hypothesized that a procedurally fair organizational climate would predict outcomes tied to organizat...
Article
Facial recognition technology is just one of a suite of new digital tools police and other security providers around the world are adopting in an effort to function more safely and efficiently. This paper reports results from a major new London-based study exploring public responses to Live Facial Recognition (LFR): a technology that enables police...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives Drawing on recent work in policing and organizational psychology, we examined factors related to openness to organizational change and to adopting evidence-based interview techniques among law enforcement investigators.HypothesesWe hypothesized that a procedurally fair organizational climate would predict support for organizational chang...
Article
Full-text available
The implementation of smart technology in cities is often hailed as the solution to many urban challenges such as transportation, waste management, and environmental protection. Issues of security and crime prevention, however, are in many cases neglected. Moreover, when researchers do introduce new smart security technologies, they rarely discuss...
Preprint
Police departments regularly conduct public opinion surveys to measure attitudes towards the police. The results of these surveys can be used to shape and evaluate policing policy and practice. Yet, the extant evidence base in Canada is hampered by the lack of measurement equivalence and a common data standard. In this paper we present a set of 13...
Preprint
Interest in the political economy of crime goes back to sociology’s founding fathers, but the nature of the relationship between restrictive social security systems and crime rates remains contested. This paper exploits exogenous variation in the introduction of Universal Credit to local areas across England and Wales to address this question. We f...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this paper we examine consensual and coercive police-citizen relations in São Paulo, Brazil. According to procedural justice theory, legitimacy operates as part of a virtuous circle, whereby normatively appropriate police behavior encourages public self-regulation and pro-active cooperation, which then reduces the need for coercive forms of soci...
Preprint
Full-text available
Facial recognition technology is just one of a suite of new digital tools police and other security providers around the world are adopting in an effort to function more safely and efficiently. This paper reports results from a major new London-based study exploring public responses to Live Facial Recognition (LFR): a technology that enables police...
Preprint
Full-text available
Given that there is currently no common approach used across Canada to measure public attitudes towards the police, the objective of this study was to develop an empirically-informed small subset of items that can be used by Canadian police services for this purpose. We recommend a standardized, comprehensive and validated set of 12 ‘core’ survey i...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Given that there is currently no common approach used across Canada to measure public attitudes towards the police, the objective of this study was to develop an empirically-informed small subset of items that can be used by Canadian police services for this purpose. We recommend a standardized, comprehensive and validated set of 12 ‘core’ survey i...
Article
In a series of recent influential papers, Anthony Bottoms and Justice Tankebe make the case for a ‘dialogic model’ of police legitimacy, wherein legitimacy is envisaged as emergent in a process through which the police, as power-holders, make claims to authority which are, in turn, responded to by audiences. Our aim in this article is to analyse th...
Article
‘Confidence’ is widely taken to be a crucial measure of the relationship between citizens and public services such as policing. It is acknowledged that confidence is multifaceted and hard to measure, but often discussions are based on one ‘headline’ rating of a single item, for instance: ‘What is your level of confidence in…’. The subsequent focus...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives: Test whether cooperation with the police can be modelled as a placed-based norm that varies in strength from one neighborhood to the next. Estimate whether police legitimacy predicts willingness to cooperate in weak-norm neighborhoods, but not in strong-norm neighborhoods, where most people are willing to cooperate (or not to cooperate)...
Article
Full-text available
In a fascinating study into the nature of police legitimacy in Southern China, Sun et al. (2018) present evidence that what researchers have previously been treated as possible sources of legitimacy—public perceptions of police conduct defined along the lines of procedural justice, distributive justice, effectiveness and lawfulness—are in fact cons...
Article
Full-text available
Čini se da gubitak povjerenja čini srž problema s našim političkim institucijama, sa sektaškim i vjerskim sukobima te s nizom financijskih kriza s kojima se Europa suočava. Uzroci tog gubika povjerenja središnji su za aktualnu političku i društvenu raspravu. Stoga ne čudi da su kriminolozi također postali zainteresirani za pitanja povjerenja u pra...
Article
Full-text available
Monissa Euroopan maissa on havaittu, että kansalaisten luottamus yhteiskunnan keskeisiä instituutioita kohtaan on vähentynyt. Esimerkiksi poliittista päätöksentekoa ja poliittista järjestelmää kohtaan tunnettu epäluottamus on lisääntynyt. On arveltu, että heikentynyt luottamus on ollut yhtenä osatekijänä monissa taloudellisissa, poliittisissa ja jo...
Preprint
Full-text available
In a series of influential papers, Anthony Bottoms and Justice Tankebe (2012, 2013, 2017) make the case for a 'dialogic model' of police legitimacy, wherein legitimacy is envisaged as emergent in a process through which the police, as power-holders, make claims to authority which are, in turn, responded to by audiences. Our aim in this article is t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Are trust and legitimacy hard to win and easy to lose? In this paper, we revisit the relationship between police-citizen encounters and attitudes towards the police and test the asymmetry thesis using panel data. Despite some evidence from cross-sectional studies indicating that attitudes ‘arrive on foot’ but ‘leave on horseback’, we suggest otherw...
Preprint
Full-text available
Are trust and legitimacy hard to win and easy to lose? In this paper, we revisit the relationship between police-citizen encounters and attitudes towards the police and test the asymmetry thesis using panel data. Despite some evidence from cross-sectional studies indicating that attitudes 'arrive on foot' but 'leave on horseback', we suggest otherw...