Measuring public perceptions of the police

Edward R. Maguire, Devon Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to test Mastrofski's six-dimensional conceptualization of perceived service quality of the police. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on data collected from a mail survey of residents in a suburban Virginia (USA) community and uses confirmatory factor analysis to test the six-dimensional model of service quality. Findings: The six-dimensional model does not fit the data. Instead a one-factor model fits the data, suggesting that public perceptions of police service quality are a one-dimensional construct. Research implications: Further research is necessary on two fronts. First, research should seek to determine whether the findings are consistent across different community contexts and types of samples. Second, research on related perceptual constructs, including procedural justice and legitimacy, should explore measurement properties in more detail. Originality/value: This is one of few studies to examine the construct validity of public perception measures in police research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-730
Number of pages28
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes to the police
  • Measurement
  • Police
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Public Administration
  • Law


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