Procedural justice and road policing: is it important?
Road policing is an important component of programs designed to alter road user behaviour with the use of theory to underpin such programs becoming more prevalent. One theory that may be useful to examine in a road policing context is procedural justice. The concept of procedural justice suggests that how the police treat people when they interact with them is very important. Procedural justice has four elements: neutrality, respect, trust and voice. In interactions where the elements of procedural justice are present, individuals are more likely to comply with the directions of, and to cooperate with, the police. They are also more likely to see the police institution as legitimate. The concept of procedural justice has been applied and explored in a broad range of policing contexts but in a limited way within road policing. This paper considers the concept of procedural justice, explores what we know about its application to road policing and discusses some of the implications for road safety. The paper argues that more research is needed to identify the impact of procedurally just police interactions in a road policing context on both perceptions of police and road safety attitudes and behaviours.