Officer Support for Use of Force Policy: The Role of Fair Supervision [2017]

Police use of force is an issue of great concern, even in democratic societies. Recent events in the United States and Europe reinforce older lessons that legitimate policing is both important and hard to achieve. This article adds to our understanding of how a fundamental aspect of police organizations—supervision—might contribute to a better justified use of force by the police. We examine the relationship between fair supervision (internal procedural justice) and officers’ support for restrictions on their use of force. Our findings suggest that supervisor modeling can provide an important linkage between the two. The results also suggest that fair supervision fosters support for restraint in the use of force through greater moral alignment with citizens and increased trust in the general public. The implications of this for research and police practice are discussed.

Maarten Van Craen, Wesley G. Skogan

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 6, 2017