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Citizens' Opinions of Police Procedures

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Dated: 2007 Pages: 637-650
Igor Areh; Bojan Dobovsek; Peter Umek
Date Published
14 pages
This study examined Slovenian citizens’ perceptions of police procedures during traffic stops.
Findings showed that overall police procedures were performed well. In traffic stop encounters, citizens thought that officers were polite, fair, and understandable, but that they failed to help drivers return to the flow of traffic and also did not inform people of their rights. In the case of traffic accidents, citizens were satisfied with the officers’ tidiness and willingness to help. Several faults were found: citizens’ satisfaction was lower with the officers’ response time, officers frequently failed to inform drivers of their rights, and female respondents believed that their opinions were not give enough consideration. In Slovenia, police officers can use their own discretion when they make a decision about punishment for a driver who commits minor offenses. If a police officer decides not to punish a driver, no formal record is made. The majority of citizens (over 80 percent) believed that police procedures were fair in that drivers were stopped at a safe spot, the officers informed them of the reason for the stop, and officers informed them of the penalty. The weakest detail of the traffic stop encounter was that the police officers, in most cases, did not help the citizen return to the flow of traffic. Police officers rarely failed to inform citizens of their obligations, but they frequently forgot to inform them about their rights. The responses of female participants was quite good, but the response of males was much worse; this may be due to the negative attitude toward police, a revolt against authority or punishment, or indifference or lack of motivation to cooperate. Data were collected through questionnaires which were sent to 1,210 persons with a residence in Slovenia, and who were stopped by the police for speeding and received a form of punishment. Tables, references