Police Legitimacy in Divided Societies

Conor Murray, Brian Payne, Philip Birch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Policing divided societies is a complex issue driven by many facts, with religion being a common catalyst. A fallout of such division is the sectarian bias that typically occurs through police practice. In this chapter, through the consideration of both Israel and Northern Ireland as case examples, the interface of religion and social cohesion are explored. By doing so, the chapter will explore the difficulties faced in maintaining police legitimacy in ‘divided societies’ – societies in which overt and hidden forms of division exist – and where structural impediments to effective policing based primarily on religious differences. The chapter also highlights the continued importance of police reform in diverse contexts as a means for improving police legitimacy, particularly within divided societies that are historically polarised and lacking social cohesion.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime, Criminal Justice and Religion
Subtitle of host publicationA Critical Appraisal
EditorsConor Murray
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003276593
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Dec 2022


  • Behavioural Sciences
  • Humanitites
  • Law
  • Social Sciences


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