Armed police and public opinion: Trust, affect, and policy preference with Professor Ben Bradford, University College London

Wednesday October 30, 12:30pm-1:30pm
Sandwich lunch served from 12pm
Seminar Room H

In the current climate of concern about terrorism and the rise in serious violent crime in the UK, there have been more and more calls for increased funding for firearms officers and the routine arming of more police. In a country where the police have never before been routinely armed this would represent a significant break with the past, with significant implications for police-public relations and indeed the ‘British’ model of policing. In this presentation I present the results from two recent studies exploring public perceptions of armed policed. First, data from the London Metropolitan Police’s Public Attitudes Survey are used to examine the correlates of public support for arming more police. Trust, and particularly affective responses to the idea of armed police, are shown to be key. Second, data from an on-line experiment are used to explore variation in affective responses to armed vs. unarmed officers; how people’s responses to armed officers are shaped by their trust in police and political orientations; and whether increased exposure to armed police has an effect on people’s views.


Ben Bradford is Professor of Global City Policing at the University College London Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science. He is also Director of the Institute for Global City Policing, an initiative joint funded by UCL, the MPS and MOPAC to promote policing research in London. His research interests include trust, legitimacy, cooperation and compliance in justice settings, social identity as a factor shaping these processes, organizational justice, and elements of public-facing police work such as neighbourhood patrol, community engagement and stop and search.