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posted on 2023-08-04, 09:21 authored by Daisy Muibu

Building cooperative relations with the public is necessary for an effective police force. However, establishing the legitimacy needed to motivate willing community cooperation and police empowerment is especially challenging in the world’s most war-torn states – arguably the areas where effective and legitimate police forces are needed the most. Using Kismayo city in Somalia as a typical case of protracted conflict, this dissertation relies on survey and interview data collected by the author in the field to examine public willingness to cooperate with and empower the police from three different perspectives. The first perceptive (Chapter 2) examines the role that perceived militarization of police has on residents’ willingness cooperate with the police in a region that has experienced prolonged warfare. Contrary to the prevailing Western perspective that police militarization is inherently detrimental to public perceptions of the police, results from the logit models suggest that different dimensions of militarization motivate willingness to cooperate with the police while other suppress willingness. The second perspective (Chapter 3) examines how residents conceive of police legitimacy and whether this notion of legitimacy predicts willingness to cooperate with the police. Results of the confirmatory factor analysis suggest that how the public conceive of police legitimacy in an area that has experienced prolonged warfare differs from the dominant measures of legitimacy in the West. A more valid, context-specific measure of legitimacy is developed. This context appropriate measure of legitimacy is positively associated with willingness to cooperate with the police and does so through a community co-production mechanism identified through a mixed methods approach. The third perspective (Chapter 4) compares the relative impact that the normative and instrumental models of policing have on public willingness to empower the police in a context of protracted conflict. Findings from the ordered logit regression model suggest that procedural fairness tied to the normative model has a positive relationship with police empowerment, while the instrumental model does not. Importantly, field interviews suggest that residents’ willingness to ‘co-produce’ security with the police is the causal mechanism driving the observed relationship between procedural fairness and police empowerment.



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Degree Awarded: Ph.D. Justice, Law and Society. American University.; Electronic thesis available to American University authorized users only, per author's request.


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