Understanding diversity in policing: Serbian perspectives
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine relations between police and vulnerable social groups in Serbia as a post-conflict society in transition. Design/methodology/approach - The research is based on a qualitative methodology that generated data from 13 round tables and focus groups. Findings - Although the attitude of the police is gradually changing, representatives of minority groups perceive that the police still hold preconceived stereotypes regarding some societal groups. In order for the police to gain the confidence of these minority groups, they must proactively seek to engage these groups more meaningfully. Institutions in Serbia have still not developed an appropriate strategy for dealing with minority group victims of violence. In addition to legal problems, there are those issues that are embedded within wider cultural stereotypes. Excessive centralization and the hierarchical structure of the police have tended to exacerbate relations between the police and min...ority communities. Members of these ethnic minorities therefore tend to view the perceived inappropriateness of responses to inter-ethnic incidents as being due to a number of causes. Research limitations/implications - Owing to the qualitative approach, the results are not easily generalizable, but they indicate the most important problems of Serbian policing regarding marginal social groups. Practical implications - This research may be a useful source of information for the Ministry of Interior in attempts to improve relations with minority groups. Originality/value - This paper reveals problems in relations between the police and vulnerable social groups and draws on the views of both minorities and the police. In Serbia, there is no similar research into this issue.
Keywords:Police / Discrimination / Disadvantaged groups / Ethnic minorities / Serbia
Source:Policing-An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 2009, 32, 3, 431-445
- Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, Bingley