Black in blue: Racial profiling and representative bureaucracy in policing revisited

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72 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the association between the degree to which a police force is ethnically representative of the population it serves and the force's engagement in racial profiling as a policing tactic. Evidence for this study comes from English and Welsh police forces that implemented force-specific recruitment targets for officers from ethnic minority backgrounds between 2000 and 2010. Results suggest that an increase in the proportion of ethnic minorities on a police force is significantly associated with a decrease in the proportion of ethnic minorities that are stopped and searched by that police force. We also examine whether the effects of representative bureaucracy accrue nonlinearly or dynamically. This analysis failed to produce strong evidence for the "reform fatigue" and "diversity fatigue" hypotheses. Finally, we demonstrate that active representation has primarily occurred in forces in which racial profiling was intensively used as a policing tactic. These findings have implications for the democratic legitimacy of representative bureaucracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-561
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2014S1A3A2044630).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Public Management Research Association. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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