‘Accidental’ procedural justice: the Finnish approach to policing

Anthony Laird, Sarah Charman

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At a time when policing agencies are coming under increased scrutiny, the Finnish police are, reportedly, achieving very high levels of public trust. This article reports on the findings of research conducted into the Finnish approach to policing and considers whether and to what extent Finnish policing shows tendencies towards procedural justice. A mixed methods survey and focus groups approach was used to collect primary data that provided novel insight into the nature of policing in Finland from the perspective of police officers. The key findings of this research indicate that the Finnish police are operating in an apparently ‘accidental’ procedurally just manner. Rather than a fully planned implementation of procedural justice theory, a combination of cultural, legal and operational elements seems to have aligned to produce a form of policing that reportedly inspires high levels of trust and/or legitimacy in the general public. However, it was found that Finnish police officers are currently operating under high levels of fatigue and stress. Indeed, this may be compounded by the reported dissatisfaction with certain elements of the management structure and internal communication methods. Although many of the participants in this research appeared to have intentions very similar to those of procedural justice, it would seem that these are coincidental rather than an institutional application of procedural justice theory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Early online date5 Oct 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 5 Oct 2022


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