An Assessment of Democratic Policing in the Turkish National Police: Police Officials' Attitudes Toward Recent Police Reforms
This study defines democracy, describes democratic policing, analyzes the development of democratic policing principles in the developing country of Turkey and contends that democracy can be enduring only when the police embody democratic values. As Turkey transforms itself in order to become a member of the European Union, the process has fostered national, institutional, cultural and socioeconomic adaptations, all of which lead towards democracy. This process has influenced the Turkish National Police (TNP) as well. In theory, these efforts towards political democratization, legal reform and the adoption of European Union police policy guidelines should have a positive effect on Turkish policing. Therefore, by assessing the attitudes of Turkish National Police officials, this study aimed to explore the effects of democratic policing and related constructs as the TNP transformed to meet EU requirements. A 68-item questionnaire was designed in order to obtain demographic information as well as data on TNP attitudinal patterns towards demographic development and the associated policy implications, as well as the implicit changes in organizational structure and police occupational culture. Utilizing a web-based survey strategy, 384 responses were collected from different demographic groups within the TNP. Analysis of the TNP responses allowed the identification of factors that may have impacted TNP officials' attitudes towards democratic policing principles. The findings were enlightening. The respondents had supportive attitudes towards democratic policing items. After factor analysis, six factors were retained: democratic policing, democratic development, departmental leadership, community-oriented policing, cynicism towards reforms and aggressive law enforcement. Observation of these factors led the researcher to perform a subsequent analysis testing a proposed Police Attitude Model for Democratic Policing. Utilizing (OLS) standard multiple regression statistics analysis, revealed that three latent factors (democratic development, departmental leadership, and community-oriented policing projects) combined with two demographic variables (crime-prevention/patrol assignments and Aegean region) significantly predicted respondents' attitudes towards democratic policing: F (34, 343) = 6.414, p < .000. R2 = 0.389. Although the regression analysis revealed no clear relationships between the two cultural variables and democratic policing, correlations among the other variables in the proposed model are discussed. Surprisingly, and contrary to a majority of current literature, tenure was found to be significantly associated with attitudes towards democratic policing. Additionally, other notable statistical relationships between the various factors, the demographic data, and attitudes towards democratic policing are discussed. Lastly, potential limitations of the study are discussed, as well as policy implications, and directions for further research.