Does public criticism erode trust in the police? The case of Jari Aarnio in the Finnish news media and its effects on the public’s attitudes towards the police

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Kääriäinen , J T , Isotalus , P & Gunnar , T 2016 , ' Does public criticism erode trust in the police? The case of Jari Aarnio in the Finnish news media and its effects on the public’s attitudes towards the police ' , Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention , vol. 17 , no. 1 , pp. 70-85 . https://doi.org/10.1080/14043858.2016.1144315

Title: Does public criticism erode trust in the police? The case of Jari Aarnio in the Finnish news media and its effects on the public’s attitudes towards the police
Author: Kääriäinen, Juha Tapio; Isotalus, Pekka; Gunnar, Thomassen
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research (2010-2017)
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention
ISSN: 1404-3858
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/173455
Abstract: A significant part of the general public’s observations and image concerning the police comes through the mass media. It has been assumed that one factor affecting the level of trust is the way the media handles the police. This article describes the media uproar that arose in Finland in November 2013 about police misconduct, and its effects on the public trust in the police. Two hypotheses were tested in the study: (a) negative publicity always decreases trust, and so, too, in this case; and (b) a change in trust is affected by the public’s independent interpretation of the publicity battle, in which case criticism might also increase trust. The study materials comprise the news coverage concerning the uproar and four opinion surveys collected after it occurred. The first survey was conducted immediately after the press conference of the case in week 48/2013 and the other ones in three-week intervals. The results show that following the uproar, compared to the earlier results of the European Social Survey, trust in the police did not decrease—on the contrary, it increased slightly. Our results suggest that in this case a large part of the audience has taken, to use the term of Stuart Hall, the oppositional position when interpreting negative news about the police.
Subject: 513 Law
5141 Sociology
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