Exploring determinants of citizen satisfaction levels with the police: The role of strain

Frank V. Ferdik1

1Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of West Florida, fferdik@uwf.edu


Citizen satisfaction with law enforcement can greatly influence crime levels and even police officer job effectiveness. Copious research to date has explored predictors of citizen satisfaction with the police, and while this research is informative, currently no study has examined the influence of individual strain levels in predicting this outcome. Questionnaire data collected from a convenience sample of university students (N = 623) were used to examine whether strain statistically significantly predicted citizen satisfaction with the police. After controlling for important variables such as race and procedural justice, strain negatively correlated with police satisfaction. Policy implications are discussed.


To be advised

Vulnerability & policing

Matthew Ball1, Lorana Bartels2, Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron3, Angela Dwyer3, Patricia Easteal2, Michele Grossman4, Jackie Hallam5, Roberta Julian3, Nicole L Asquith6, Leanne Sargent7

2 Uni of Canberra
3 UTas
4 VU
5 ATCD, Tasmania
7 Victoria Police

Since 2014, academics and policing scholars from across Australia have been working together as part of the Vulnerability, Resilience and Policing Research Consortium to progress policy and practice innovation. In this panel session, members of the VRPRC will discuss the work of the consortium, and the advantages of working in collaboration with policing organisations on these issues. Panel members will also discuss their current research on policing vulnerability.


Vulnerability, Resilience & Policing Research Consortium
– Nicole L Asquith

Re-thinking ‘vulnerability’ in the context of ‘diversity’ – cross-cultural reform in policing education and training in Australia
– Michele Grossman & Leanne Sargent

Exploring law enforcement and public health (LEPH) as a collective impact initiative
– Roberta Julian, Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron & Jackie Hallam

Balancing visibility and invisibility in LGBTI police liaison programs in three Australian states
– Angela Dwyer and Matthew Ball

Women prisoners as vulnerable victims of sexual abuse
– Lorana Bartels and Patricia Easteal

Policing precariousness; Accounting for ontological and situational vulnerability
– Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron & Nicole L Asquith



Nicole L Asquith is the Associate Professor of Policing and Criminal Justice at Western Sydney University, Research Associate with the Sexualities and Genders Research Network, University Associate with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies and Co-Director of the Vulnerability, Resilience and Policing Research Consortium. Nicole’s research is focussed on the policing of vulnerable people.


Global surveillance and transnational policing

M. Mann*, I. Warren

1 School of Justice and Crime and Justice Research Centre, QUT
2 School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University

*corresponding author: m6.mann@qut.edu.au

Cyberspace, by nature, bridges conventional geographic divides. This has enormous implications for transnational and extraterritorial policing activity, especially by the United States. As principles of territorial sovereignty that delimit criminal justice authority within the nation state are shifting, we argue in this paper that global digital communications are reorienting both the content and procedural protections associated with the criminal law. Increasingly data and information is considered ‘trans-’ or ‘un-territorial,’ which provides new opportunities for extraterritorial surveillance, the collection, storage and use of digital communications for evidentiary purposes and transnational policing more generally. We argue that because most English-speaking Internet infrastructure has been developed, is located in or transmitted via hubs owned by US corporations, there are numerous procedural factors that affect transnational criminal investigations conducted on behalf of, or to reflect particular US conceptions of justice, due process and the rule of law. This paper argues the direct impacts of these developments place new legal burdens on  the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the Five-Eyes intelligence partnership, as well as other countries where servers might be located that contain data associated with US criminal investigations. This paper uses the example of the Silk Road investigations against Ross William Ulbricht (aka ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’) to demonstrate how the extraterritorial reach of US investigative authority occurs within a legal vacuum that prioritizes transnational police cooperation over due process considerations. We conclude by arguing high-end controversies over NSA surveillance practices significantly dilute our understanding of the discrete procedural issues that affect lower-order forms of transnational police cooperation.


Monique Mann is a Lecturer at the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, QUT. Previously she worked as a Research Analyst at the Australian Institute of Criminology. Monique is interested in critical socio-legal research on the intersecting topics of organised crime, cybercrime, police technology, intelligence and surveillance.

Researching policing in a digital and networked age

David S. Wall

Cybercrime Research Unit, Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law, University of Leeds, UK. d.s.wall@leeds.ac.uk

This paper will explore the practical and methodological issues arising from interdisciplinary empirical research into the demands made of policing agencies in the digital and networked age. It will draw upon the findings of two ongoing RCUK funded collaborative research projects into the policing of cybercrimes. While collaborative and interdisciplinary research are ‘flavours of the moment’, they are also ideas that are easily articulated, but extremely difficult to implement and this paper will explore the reasons why this is the case. The paper will briefly look at the progress made so far in the research field before outlining some of the key issues arising. It will then go on to outline the practical issues that relate to collaborative research and it will discuss the methodological issues raised by interdisciplinary research. It will then consider some of the legacy problems that need to be addressed, such as the ‘reassurance gap in policing cybercrime’ between the inflated, even exaggerated, demands for (cyber)security and the inability of police and government to deliver at that desired level. It will also look at how the reassurance gap can be closed via collaborative work and co-production. The latter part of the paper will draw upon early research findings using national and local police operational data to draw some conclusions and offer some take away points.


David S. Wall, PhD is Professor of Criminology in the Centre for Criminal Justice studies, School of Law, University of Leeds, UK where he researches (and teaches) cybercrime, organised crime, policing and intellectual property crime. He has published a wide range of articles and books on these subjects. He also has a sustained track record of interdisciplinary funded research in these areas from the EU FP6, FP7, H2020, ESRC, EPSRC, AHRC & other funders, such as the Home Office and DSTL. David has been a member of various Governmental working groups, such as the Ministerial Working Group on Horizon Planning 2020-25, the Home Office Cybercrime Working Group (2014-2016) looking at issues of policy, costs and harms of crime and technology to society, and the HMIC Digital Crime and Policing working group in 2015. He is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He re-joined Leeds University in August 2015 from Durham where he was Professor of Criminology (2010-2015) and Head of the School of Applied Social Sciences (2011-2014). Prior to moving to Durham he was Head of the School of Law (2005-2007) and Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice (2000-2005) at the University of Leeds.

Insights into the evaluation of the investigative contribution of forensic science

Sonja Bitzer* 1,2 and Olivier Delémont 1

1 School of Criminal Justice, University of Lausanne, Batochime, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
2 National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology, Brussels, Belgium

*corresponding author: sonja.bitzer@unil.ch

The effectiveness of forensic science has been challenged by several studies, indicating that it is either scarcely used and thus not relevant or when it is used, its effects on case processing are minor. The majority of the studies focused on an understanding of forensic science as the application of scientific techniques to the matters of court. Consequently, the contribution of forensic science was determined for judicial steps of the criminal justice process, such as suspect arrest, charging or conviction. The proposed remedies for its infrequent use or alleged ineffectiveness focused mainly on technical developments or managerial guidelines.

The objective of our study is to evaluate the use of forensic science in the investigation, as well as the decision leading up to it. Utility of the clue, defined as the added value of information gained by the analysis of the trace, is proposed as a more adequate indicator for the effective and efficient use of forensic science. Similarly is the anticipation of the utility of the clue an appropriate decision factor when choosing which traces to use. Through quantitative and qualitative research methods, robbery cases were studied. Results will be presented, showcasing the contribution of the utility of the clue in the decision-making process when assessing the actual contribution of traces to the investigation, considering the overall information available in the case.


Sonja Bitzer recently finished her PhD thesis in Forensic Science at the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland. Her main interests focus on the understanding of forensic science in different countries and the evaluation of the effectiveness of forensic science in the Criminal Justice Process and the general security context. In September, she started a Post-doc at the National Institute of Criminology and Criminalistics, in Brussels, Belgium, to assess the contribution of forensic advisors and the use of forensic science in major crimes.

Predicting the Australian illicit drug market

S. Goldsmid1* & G. Fuller1

1 Australian Institute of Criminology

*corresponding author: susan.goldsmid@aic.gov.au

Developing a vision of what the Australian illicit drug market will look like at the start of 2018 can assist law enforcement, health-care and governments to proactively allocate resources and form appropriate responses. The Australian Institute of Criminology has embarked on a novel study, to examine the form and nature that the Australian illicit drug market will take based on the opinions and perspectives of police detainees. An adjusted Delphi methodology was implemented. A Delphi study seeks to form a consensus view on a topic across a panel of experts. In this case, the topic was the availability, purity and price of cannabis, methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine at the start of 2018, as well as factors that may exert influence on the illicit drug market by 2018. The expert panel was recruited via the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program, as a substantial proportion of police detainees have regular contact with the illicit drug market as users, sellers and manufacturers. The pilot study was conducted at the Perth watch-house. Police detainees were able to provide estimates of the availability, purity and price of cannabis, methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine now and at the start of 2018. The responses indicated that shifts were predicted to occur for some drugs across the period of interest. Detainees also provided qualitative responses describing the reasoning behind their decisions. This methodology holds promise as a new avenue to gather data that can inform the development of national and state-based illicit drug strategies.


Dr Susan Goldsmid is a Principal Research Analyst with the AIC. She has previously had an established career as a sworn member within the Australian Federal Police, holding various roles in operational, intelligence and training areas. Susan’s areas of specialisation include police practice and futures work. She is currently undertaking research examining Victoria Police operational safety principles, the future of police investigation capabilities, and the future nature of the Australian illicit drug market.

The rise of the evidence-based policing and ‘What Works’ movement in the UK: What are the future implications for policing research?

K. Lumsden

Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, UK, K.Lumsden@lboro.ac.uk

This paper considers the rise of evidence-based policy and practice (EBP) as a dominant discourse in policing in the United Kingdom, and the implications this has for social scientists conducting policing research. Despite the pitfalls identified in previous critiques of the evidence-based practice movement in education, health, medicine and social care (see Hammersley, 2013), recent years have witnessed its spread to the realm of policing. There is a need to consider the various organisational factors impacting upon police work, as well as the wider political agendas that constrain it. In relation to the latter this specifically includes the ways in which the adoption of evidence-based policing and the related ‘gold standard’ used to evaluate research (and define ‘legitimate’ methodologies) acts as ‘a technology of power’ (Foucault, 1988) to shape the nature of policing/research and ‘what works’ (or ‘doesn’t work’). The discussion draws on semi-structured interviews conducted with police officers and staff from police forces in England.


Dr Karen Lumsden is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Loughborough University, UK. She is author of Boy Racer Culture: Youth Masculinity and Deviance (Routledge, 2013), co-editor of Reflexivity in Criminological Research: Experiences with the Powerful and the Powerless (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and has published in a range of journals including Sociology, Qualitative Research, Sociological Research Online, Policing & Society and Mobilities. She is on the Editorial Board of Sociological Research Online. Research interests include policing, crime, youth culture and social media, with contributions to methodological debates on ethnography and reflexivity.

The Auxiliary Police Force in China

Lena Y. Zhong

City University of Hong Kong

On January 11, 2016 at the 22nd meeting of the Chinese Communist Party Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms led by President Xi Jinping, the Opinions on Managing the Regulation of the Auxiliary Police Force under the Public Security Organs (the Opinions) was passed. The endorsement of this document at such a high level meeting reflects the urgency of regulating the auxiliary police force in China.

In China the Public Security Police have always worked closely with a force of auxiliary police, although the latter has been variously named, most notably the joint prevention teams. Over the years efforts have been made to manage the auxiliary police elements, and sometimes even to abolish the force when public outrage is aroused with cases of auxiliary police members abusing their power.

This paper will first provide an overview of the various auxiliary police elements in the past several decades, especially in the wake of the economic reform. Then it describes the possible dilemmas the public security police have faced in handling the auxiliary police forces over the years. Thirdly, it explains the major principles as reflected in the Opinions as endorsed in early 2016. Fourthly, it introduces the Auxiliary Police Force under the Hong Kong Police Force in Hong Kong. Lastly the paper concludes by opining what the Public Security Police will need to consider when implementing the Opinions to regulate the Auxiliary Police Force in the era of economic reform.


Dr. Lena Zhong is associate professor of criminology at City University of Hong Kong. Her research interest includes policing, crime prevention, and organized crime.

Triad involvement in the Umbrella Movement: Extralegal service provider or hegemonic security agents

Lo Wing

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong returned to China under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” in 1997. Its mini-constitution stipulated that the Chief Executive shall be elected through universal suffrage. In 2014, Hong Kong people thought a decision made by the National People’s Congress of China had deviated from the promise, resulting in a series of protests, police suppression, and people’s occupation of several sites for more than two months. It was the largest civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong. The police was unable to remove the occupiers. Through ethnographic research method and individual interviews, the present study found that the government temporarily lost its governance of occupied sites, which created a vacuum for triads to provide extralegal services to meet the needs of both conservative and liberal camps. The study found that triad society members were involved in protecting and attacking protestors.  The presentation will address the reasons how and why they participated in the Umbrella Movement.


Hong Kong, Umbrella Movement, Triad Society, Occupy Central


Professor Lo is the Head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences of City University of Hong Kong, specializing in Chinese triad society research. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the British Journal of Criminology, editorial board member of Youth Justice, Asian Journal of Criminology, and British Journal of Community Justice, founding general editor of the Routledge Studies in Asian Behavioral Sciences, and founding associate editor of the International Journal of Criminology and Sociology.

Governing Public Space: The use of legal and non-legal mechanisms of exclusion in Melbourne and Frankston

N. Helps

PhD candidate at Monash University, Nicola.Helps@monash.edu

This project examines the tensions and complexities surrounding the use and governance of public space within Victoria. Specifically this project investigates the legal and non-legal mechanisms of control, which operate in public space and considers how they contribute to the regulation of that space, through for example excluding ‘undesirable’ populations. In order to examine the use of legal controls, this project uses the case example of Victoria’s move-on powers. Move-on powers were introduced in Victoria in 2009 and signify an extension to the social control arsenal available to police and authorised officers. These powers allow police to determine, according to their discretion, who can and cannot use public spaces by granting them the authority to move along those they deem ‘undesirable’. This project seeks to investigate how move-on powers have been brought into the process of governing public space, and the interplay between these power and other non-legal mechanisms of control (e.g. urban design and architectural initiatives).

This project also aims to extend the theoretical and methodological work of Mariana Valverde by further developing our understanding of social and spatial control. Specifically by drawing on Valverde’s work on ‘scalar analysis’ and ‘spatiotemporality’ this study will incorporate an analysis of the more nuanced and sometimes overlooked qualitative elements that shape the governance of space.


Nicola is a PhD candidate and teaching associate at Monash University. Her current research explores the tensions and complexities surrounding the use and governance of public space within Victoria.