Is It the What or the How? The Roles of High-Policing Tactics and Procedural Justice in Predicting Perceptions of Hostile Treatment: The Case of Security Checks at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel

Tal Jonathan-Zamir*, Badi Hasisi, Yoram Margalioth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

What affects perceptions of hostile treatment by police, characterized by feelings such as humiliation and intimidation? Is it what the police do to the citizen, or is it about how they do it? The important effects of procedural justice are well documented in the policing literature. Yet, it is not clear how high-policing tactics, coupled with procedural justice, affect one's sense of hostile treatment: is it the case that what the police do does not matter as long as they follow the principles of procedural justice, or do some invasive or unpleasant tactics produce negative emotions regardless of the amount of procedural justice displayed by the officer? In the present study we examine this question in the context of security checks at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel. Using a survey of 1,970 passengers, we find that the behavioral elements of procedural justice are an important antidote, mitigating the negative effects of four “extra” screening measures on the perceived hostility of the checks. At the same time, two security measures retain an independent and significant effect. We discuss the implications of our findings and hypothesize about the characteristics of policing practices that are less sensitive to procedural justice.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)608-636
Number of pages29
JournalLaw and Society Review
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

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© 2016 Law and Society Association

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