From Coercion to Consent: Police Ethnography and Procedural Justice

Organised by the Institute for Global City Policing at University College London 

Online webinar discussing data & analysis from a programme of ethnographic research that critically explores these PJT based assumptions

Procedural Justice Theory proposes that where ‘citizens’ perceive fairness in police practice, they are more likely to experience their relationship to the police as legitimate and comply with the law. There are four factors which are generally understood to be central to achieving procedurally fair encounters: a) trust in the motives of the police, b) dignity and respect, c) voice or participation and d) neutrality. Such encounters are then assumed to incline citizens to respond with greater levels of compliance, respect, and cooperation.

In this symposium we discuss data and analysis from an ESRC funded programme of ethnographic research that critically explores these PJT based assumptions. In the first session we will discuss the theoretical rationale for our research. We then present three empirical papers from the project all of which derive from a programme of ethnographic observations and interviews that the project has enabled.

The first reports on key conclusions from a thematic analysis of interviews exploring the psychology and understandings that police officers take into their routine encounters with citizens. The second reports on a series of observations of police citizen encounters within the custody suites of a large metropolitan force in the UK. The final empirical paper then reports upon data gathered from over one hundred and eighty hours of ethnographic research on the policing of a highly marginalised street population in and around North London.

Taken together the papers analyse the situated and group level nature of police citizen encounters and further explores some of the complexities of their procedural fairness. We conclude the session with a discussant who will pull together the four papers and explore their central implications for theory, policy, and practice.


Professor Clifford Stott (KPAC Director, Professor of Social Psychology, Dean of Research)

Dr Matthew Radburn (KPAC Postdoctoral Researcher)

Dr Leanne Savigar-Shaw (Lecturer in Policing, Staffordshire University)

Dr Arabella Kyprianides (IGCP/ KPAC Research Fellow)


Professor Ben Bradford (IGCP Director, Professor of Global City Policing)

To find out more about this event and how to register follow this link: