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Abstract

Community policing is regarded as a more proactive policing policy compared to traditional methods of detecting and punishing crimes already committed. Few studies have investigated the effect of such policing on young people’s attitudes toward the police and to date no research in this area has been conducted in the Republic of Ireland. Semi-structured interviews with 20 young people (12 to 18 years old) from the West of Ireland explored the effects of interactions with a community officer on overall attitudes toward the police. Findings suggest that young people make distinctions between different types of officers. While the community officer is positively regarded, this has little impact on young people’s attitudes toward the police more generally, or towards other police officers they encounter and may even reinforce negative views of these officers through comparison of their experiences with the community officer.

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