Complaining to the police: a social psychological analysis

Jane Delahunty, Hielkje Verbrugge, Mira Taitz

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The NSW Police Force is guided by a Customer Service Charter, which defines police customers as 'victims of and witnesses to crimes, members of the community and our own internal colleagues and stakeholders'. Suspects and arrestees do not fall within this definition and are not therefore entitled to customer service. Data gathered from the police citizen complaints database indicates a significant minority (around 30%) of complainants are non-customers, i.e. suspects or arrestees. The distinction between customer and non-customers is problematic for both complainants, who often do not understand the distinction, and the police, who themselves do not always use the definition consistently. This paper questions this exclusionary definition of the customer based on procedural justice research on policing. This indicates that public confidence in (and compliance with) the police has been linked to wider public perceptions of the four dimensions of procedural justice: trust in police, respectful treatment by police, police neutrality and opportunities provided by police for citizens to voice their concerns. While the Customer Service Charter is a positive development in bringing procedural justice principles to police practice, the complaints database analysis casts doubt over the decision to exclude suspects and arrestees.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAPS Forensic Psychology National Conference - Noosa, Qld, Australia
Duration: 04 Aug 201106 Aug 2011


ConferenceAPS Forensic Psychology National Conference


Dive into the research topics of 'Complaining to the police: a social psychological analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this