Community Policing and Public Trust: A Field Experiment in Uganda
Principal Investigators: Robert Blair, Guy Grossman, Benjamin Kachero, Anna Wilke
The ability of the police and other state security institutions to enforce the law depends on the trust and cooperation of the policed. Our study aims to address the challenge of building trust and cooperation between police and citizens in Uganda, using the “Muyenga model” of community policing. The Muyenga model is explicitly designed to create opportunities for more positive, mutually respectful interactions between civilians and police officers; by allowing police officers to respond more proactively to the needs of citizens and communities; by providing mechanisms to report acts of corruption and abuse; and by encouraging citizens to rely on state security and justice sector institutions when crimes are committed or violence occurs. The model has been piloted successfully in a small number of communities, and is now scaled up sufficiently to allow a rigorous study of its effectiveness. We combine the Muyenga model of community policing with advanced training in child protection and prevention of domestic violence for Ugandan police officers, as part of a factorial research design.
Intervention Date: November 2017 – August 2018
Our research design combines the Muyenga model of community policing with advanced training in child protection and prevention of domestic violence for Ugandan police officers. The unit of randomization is the parish (covering 3-10 nearby villages). The unit of analysis for most outcomes is the individual. Randomization proceeds in two stages. First, two sub-counties in each district will be randomly assigned to treatment, for a total of 24 sub-counties (that have at least 4 parishes each). Second, in each of these 24 sub-counties, one parish is assigned to each of four groups: (1) community policing; (2) advanced training; (3) community policing and advanced training; (4) control. We evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions across three core families of outcomes: (1) perceptions of the police; (2) citizen cooperation with the police; and (3) rates of crime and violence.
We expect that both interventions will improve citizens’ perceptions of the police; increase citizen cooperation with the police; and reduce the incidence of crime and violence. We expect that effects on crimes that disproportionately affect women and children (e.g. domestic violence and child abuse) will be especially pronounced for the two treatments combined. We also expect that effects on women’s perceptions of and cooperation with the police will be especially pronounced for the two treatments combined. As potential mechanisms, we expect that the community policing intervention will improve citizens’ understanding of the criminal justice system and increase *norms* of citizen cooperation with the police (as opposed to citizen cooperation with the police per se).