Procedural justice?
an examination of the Finnish approach to policing

  • Anthony Laird

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

At a time when policing agencies are coming under an increasing amount of scrutiny, the Finnish police are, reportedly, still managing to achieve very high levels of public trust. This research has been conducted in order to consider the question “How do Finnish police officers understand their role in Finnish society and to what extent could the Finnish approach to policing be considered procedurally just?”.
A mixed methods approach was used to collect primary data. This took the form of an online survey, which provided a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. In addition, focus groups involving semi-structured interviews were conducted. Primary data were analysed using thematic analysis. In so doing it became possible to gain an indication of 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, 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/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.
While many of the participants in this research appeared to have intentions very similar to those of procedural justice, it would, however, seem that these are coincidental rather than an institutional application of procedural justice theory.
Date of AwardSep 2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSarah Charman (Supervisor) & Fiona Wadie (Supervisor)

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