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Mechanisms for Eliciting Cooperation in Counterterrorism Policing: Evidence from the United Kingdom


  • This research was supported by the National Institute of Justice and the Open Society Institute. Schulhofer's work was also supported by the Filomen D'Agostino and Max E. Greenberg Research Funds at New York University School of Law. Huq's work was also supported by the Frank Cicero, Jr. Faculty Fund at the University of Chicago School of Law and a Carnegie Scholars fellowship. We thank Frank Zimring, two anonymous reviewers for the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and also conference and workshop participants at the 2010 Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, the University of Chicago Law School, the Yale Law School, the Political Science Department of Yale University, and the University of Minnesota Law School for helpful comments. This research was conducted with support from the Law and Social Science program of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF0751874).

Aziz Huq, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School, 1111 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 66037; email: Tyler is University Professor at New York University, School of Law and Psychology Department; Schulhofer is Robert B. McKay Professor of Law at New York University, School of Law.


This study examines the effects of counterterrorism policing tactics on public cooperation among Muslim communities in London, U.K. The study reports results of a random-sample survey of 300 closed and fixed response telephone interviews conducted in Greater London's Muslim community in February and March 2010. It tests predictors of cooperation with police acting against terrorism. Specifically, the study provides a quantitative analysis of how perceptions of police efficacy, greater terrorism threat, and the perceived fairness of policing tactics (“procedural justice”) predict the willingness to cooperate voluntarily in law enforcement efforts against terrorism. Cooperation is defined to have two elements: a willingness to work with the police in anti-terror efforts, and the willingness to alert police upon becoming aware of a terror-related risk in a community. We find that among British Muslims, both measures of cooperation are better predicted by procedural justice concerns than by perceptions of police efficacy or judgments about the severity of the terrorism threat. Unlike previous studies of policing in the United States, however, we find no correlation between cooperation and judgments about the legitimacy of police; rather, procedural justice judgments influence cooperation directly.