Does Increasing Ethnic Representativeness Reduce Police Misconduct?

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80 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines whether representative bureaucracy improves organizational integrity using evidence from English and Welsh police forces that implemented ambitious targets to increase the share of ethnic minority officers during 2000–2010. The evidence shows an association between an increase in police force ethnic minority representation and a subsequent reduction in police misconduct. An increase in representativeness is also shown to be associated with a decrease in the share of black complainants but not with a change in the ethnicity of those subject to complaints. This evidence suggests that diversifying a bureaucratic workforce to reflect the community it serves may effectively catalyze bureaucratic integrity. In turn, improved organizational integrity influences bureaucrats’ attitudes and behaviors toward minority citizens, resulting in greater satisfaction among minority constituents. Representative bureaucracy may be an effective internal means of controlling administrative power for the good of the citizenry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by The American Society for Public Administration

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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