Police Trust Measure in Philippines

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2018

28 Pages

Free online reading


This study measured public trust on the police in Davao Region, Philippines. There are 11 dimensions of trust used in this survey including devotion to duty, justice, service orientation, loyalty, discipline, valor, professionalism, perseverance, morality, humility, and honesty.

Most trusted police office is the DOcPPO (Davao Occidental Provincial Police Office), while DCPO (Davao City Police Office) comes in near second. The slack in trust is DSPPO (Davao del Sur Police Office) and DNPPO (Davao del Norte Police Office).

Artificial Neural technique reveals that the devotion to duty, justice and humility, honesty and service orientation are pivots of trust. Regression technique shows males having higher trust than females, older ones than the young ones.

Finally, a single instance of inadequate police response will confirm the public expectation of poor public service. Therefore contingent on the part of the police to observe professionalism and service orientation in responding to police calls and at any point of public service, there should never be an insinuation for monetary support in exchange for police response.

Keywords: police community relations, dimensions of trus


Public trust is a core requirement to secure the cooperation of public with the police and the compliance to the law (Jackson & Bradford, 2010). It is considered as a social foundation and if coupled with other elements such as arm and resources (Newton, 1999) become a coherent power to rule. Jackson & Bradford (2010) see the need to measure the trustworthiness of the police for the police to execute its role as a civic guardian who secures public respect. They can do these when they embody community values.

The need to secure the trust of the public on the police leads to the more profound effect of confidence; if public trust the police, it gives legitimacy to the institution it represents, which compels the public to comply with the laws. Ultimately, the public compliance with law ensures the rule of law. Community policing experts like Hough and colleagues (2010) install mechanisms for the police to win the confidence of the public – respect in all aspects of police activities. For one, among the Boston Police, even if police are recognized for their competence, public trust erodes if they display no sense of respect even if they perform well in their duties (Soutland, 2011).

Performance measurement of the PNP is just half of the whole story. The other half is the general sentiment of the public on the areas where trust declines such as in the processes, delivery of services and integrity of the police as an institution (Brillantes & Fernandez, 2011) or trust is high such as in ensuring order, and on quality of neighborhood peace. It is along this line which outcomes always bear dominant effects on public satisfaction, and the eventual trust.

Thus this study was conducted to measure the trust ratings of the police of Police Regional Office XI and its Provincial Police Office (PPOs) in the southern part of the Philippines. Likewise, trust indicators were measured down to the level of PPOs which were deemed areas for improvement to gain public trust to ensure peace and order in the community, and the eventual cooperation of the community to maintain order.


The cluster sampling was employed in the study. The whole Davao Region population was divided into provinces, then using a sampling calculator a total of 1820 respondents were determined which were proportionately distributed. The survey was conducted on November to December of 2017.

Before the conduct of the survey, a seminar was conducted to the personnel of the Regional Police Community Relations (RPCR) and the Regional Police Strategy Management Unit (RPSMU) to ensure that the sampling technique remains systematic all throughout the survey period. Given that it is inevitable that the police are themselves, enumerators who will result in Murphy's Effect on research, the police were forbidden to survey their areas of operation.

The trust survey instrument is composed of 29 questions segmented into 11 dimensions of trust. The aspects are profoundly associated with the PNP's code of conduct and practice of the profession. The items were rated by the public on a scale of 1 to 5, with five as highest and lowest as lowest. The respondents were asked how they observe the police demonstrating the trust items. Responses were then weighted to obtain averages. The 2017 results were compared with the 2015 and 2016 surveys. The 2015 and 2016 were studies initiated by the College of Criminal Justice Education of the University of Mindanao.

To determine the public trust, ratings that fell between "good" to "outstanding" were summed up then were computed to obtain percentage share against the sample size per Police Office (PO) and the sample for the whole region. The aggregated responses were then converted into scales with the corresponding adjectival description as presented in table 1.

Table 1 Scale distribution

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A total of 1820 respondents were involved in the survey which was conducted in the third quarter of 2017. Some 36% of the respondents are from Davao City, while the Davao del Norte also takes a more significant share of the population (23%). All other provinces maintain a 6% to 14% sampling size.

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Fig 1 Distribution of respondents

The respondents are generally 18 to 40 years old (51%), a little more than half are females (51%). Most are coming from income class DE, while there were also some 1% income class A or those earning an income more than P80,000 per month. They obtain a sizable education, with most reaching high school (33%) to college (50%). Most of the respondents also belong to an averaged-size family with three children and parents.

Table 2

Respondents profile

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Victims of crime and police assistance

Fig 2 presents the distribution of respondents having experienced crime in the last six months. Of the total, 309 (17%) were victims, or their family members were victims of crimes. Of the 309, most of the victims or their relatives are in Mati (18%), Digos City (12%), Panabo City (21%), Monkayo (12%) and Pantukan (12%), Sta Cruz (11%) and Bansalan (11%).

Other areas where respondents or their families experienced crimes are in Tagum City, Carmen, IGACOS, Kapalong, Maco, Compostela, Lupon, Nabunturan, Baganga, Laak JAS, Gov Gen, Matanao, New Corella, and Asuncion and in Davao City. In Davao City, most of the crimes happened in District 3 and District 2.

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Of the 309 respondents who mentioned that they or their family members were victims of crimes, only 213 (69%) asked for police assistance. The commonly sought out Police Stations are that of Mati, Pantukan, Digos City, Panabo City, Monkayo, Tagum, Maco, Bansalan, Compostela, Lupon, Carmen and Davao City.

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Of those who asked assistance, 128 (60%) of them were satisfied with the response of the police. The other 85 who were not satisfied were coming from Panabo City, Laak, Bansalan, Carmen, Sta Cruz, Tagum, Nabunturan, and IGACOS.

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Trust Measurement

There are 11 dimensions of trust used for this study. These dimensions are measures of demonstrable behaviors of the police in the process of law enforcement or in their conduct as members of the society. These dimensions are service orientation, valor, perseverance, and professionalism, and justice, devotion to duty, loyalty, discipline, morality, honesty, and humility.

By service orientation, the public rates high trust (4.25) due to the impression that police are servants of people (4.39) and are willing to help even the arrogant community members (4.11). Note that the public underscores service orientation of the police if they can provide a kind service even to those posing as arrogant. It is remaining composed even being shouted upon or given harsh response by the community. Borrowing concepts from psychology, the Service Orientation Inventory (SOI) focuses on maintaining good relations than on competencies on tasks (Hogan, 1984).

Simply said, the police act of service is to maintain order in the community, they are in fact called on to restore community order. To this degree, any escalation of tension resulting from the confrontation between the police and the subject of response may not sit well with the community. After all, the members of the community know each other. After a police response, the community remains to be neighbors. What is therefore sublimely asked of the police is to remain gentle to the subject of the police assistance, as the police are held accountable of the quality of order in the neighborhood (Reisig & Parks, 2000).

Table 3

Public trust on service-orientation of police

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Table 4 presents the humility dimensions of trust on the police. Note that humility construct of trust is associated with money. For any display of ostentatious wealth and power never sits well with the public, they in fact mistrust any police doing that. Though high trust on this item (4.04), the Davao Region Police need to exert more effort on the impression that police service is never asking money. In fact, the study reveals that this is one thing that they cannot trust the police with: police not receiving money from private individuals (3.95) and police won’t receive money from businessmen (3.85).

Bowles & Garoupa (1997) demonstrate the change in the behavior of criminals when they would learn that police receives a bribe. The perception that the police cannot resist monetary offers reduces the cost of committing crimes. The criminals will be emboldened, crimes are committed, and chaos is prevalent even in the known presence of police. Thus, the concept of “police retainer” describes the perpetual payment of money in exchange for non-arrest of the habitual commission of violations and crimes. If there are police who displays wealth and asset in their neighborhood more than they are supposed to receive, while at the same time public experience crime. The presence of the police as deterrent force weakens, crimes are committed (Chang, Lai & Yang, 2000), and no rule of law is observed.

Table 4

Public trust on the humility of police

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The professionalism of the police is associated with their demonstrable acts of working on tasks according to prescribed rules and never asking for any support for them to respond to calls for assistance. It is the behavior of acting right and acting right away. It cannot be professionalism if police response is delayed no one will ever be considered as professional police if at times when asked for assistance, would excuse oneself due to lack of support or logistics. However, this is a concern of adequacy of resources which is a universal truth. The police need to respond and be deployed, and even intrude highly uncertain places and events but have to assure the public that they remain consistent and truthful to rules and protocols.

On this, the police need to process communication process to exercise quasi-judicial functions on peace control, crime prevention, and mitigation; all these needing deployments requiring time and space (Manning, 1988). The police response, as a matter of professionalism, needs to meet public satisfaction, and in fact, an on-time police response influences public satisfaction (Percy, 1980).

Table 5

Public trust on the professionalism of Police

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The public trust in police is also measured through perseverance. This dimension of trust received a high rating (4.15) due to impressions that police withstands organizational pressure to do dirty works. Citing studies of Violani & Marshall (1983) on occupational stress which includes superiors pushing their officers to commit mistakes at work caused huge damage to the psychological abilities of the police. The situation made them objectify their emotions caused them to depersonalize the situations, and push them to create a condition when they have to split their loyalty and their morality.

At the instance this happens, the community increases rust on the police by creating an atmosphere to support lower officers. Yet, a more potent force to ensure persevering commitment of the police is the fortification of the police culture which begins at the early stage of recruitment (Drummond, 1976). The culture must solidly be founded upon on morality, and any deviance to norms of morality must be punished heavily.

Table 6

Public trust on the perseverance of police

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Meantime, the public maintains high trust on the devotion to duty of the police (4.28) largely due to the demonstrable behavior of police’s satisfaction with their work (4.33) being evident in the ability of the police to respect the rights of the accused and in following protocols during operations. Details are found in table 7.

The results simmer for the organizational commitment of the police, and as many studies established that the police personnel’s improved devotion to duty is influenced by support and encouragement of senior officers (Beck & Wilson, 1997) and the demonstrable behavior that the make to the lower ranking officers. For one, the “Oplan Tokhang” is a nationally implemented program where they can draw inspiration from which feeds into their satisfaction for work and their psyche.

Table 7

Public trust in devotion to duty of the police

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Table 8 presents the trust on the bravery of the police which they draw from their observation on the police’s obedience to the law they implement, and when they implement, they do it without fear. One thing that is strikingly evident in the result is the implementation without fear which signifies professionalism and in the belief on the righteousness of the public on their police, however, the bravery context is far more extended by the belief that the police themselves obey the very law that they implement.

In context, the valor of the police is not associated with them going to war, arresting worst criminals in the thick of the jungles or the darkest nook of the urban squatters. The valor refers to the assurance that the police can police their ranks. And if somebody of their ranks commits crimes, they implement the law without fear of retribution nor fear of the officer's wrath. In fact, what decays trust of the public is when the high ranking officers themselves are the ones protecting the criminals and syndicates in a retainer concept as explained by Bowles & Garoupa (1997).

The Davao Region Police receives high trust because they are perceived to implement laws not only among the ordinary citizens but even from among their ranks. It is assurance that there is the rule of law.

Table 8

Public trust on the valor of police

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Table 9 presents the trust rating of the public on the morality of the police. The public observes the respect for women of the police, and the community maintains high trust when they see police personnel spending time in church or in a place of worship. However, the public does not trust their police as having no involvement with illegal gambling. The theoretical lens of the perception is explained by the works of Herbert (1996, 2010).

The term "morality" is commonly pronounced in the parlance that takes different strokes in the police work. In fact, moral regulation is a coextension of state formation, of creating a moral order, hence, deeply entangled with legality (Herbert, 1996). It appears, therefore, that the police arise from the moral suasions of society, but takes on the lethargic yet creative function in ensuring that order is assured. On this also lies one feature that may limit the impression, a strong masculinism in the policing activity deters community cooperation.

Masculinism in community policing refers to the active role sin chasing bad guys, aggressive patrols aimed at arrests of felonies and robbers, but all forgetting the importance of passive acts which Herbert (2010) suggested as attending a neighborhood meeting.

Hence, the high command of the police must be able to ensure that the police are not into illegal gambling on the one hand, while at the same time show interests in the activities of their neighborhood, not as a police chasing felons, but individuals who are also deeply interested with the events happening in their community.

Table 9

Public trust on the morality of police

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The demonstrable behavior of the police that they can associate with justice is respect for the rights of individuals which earned high trust, and the professional act of their duties and that the police duties are in conformance with justice. The last two receiving high trust from the public. If these are combined, they form the trust on justice dimension which earned the police high trust, as presented in table 10. The evident component of justice as perceived by the public is fairness, equality, and appropriateness of rewards or punishments (Pollock-Byrne & Pollock, 1989).

Note that the public seeks first the professional conduct of the police, a manifest of fairness and impartiality. Anything that is deviant is an injustice, and therefore, affects the distributive nature of justice, or for any matter, retributive justice.

Thus, the public demands that the police must perform duties in conformance with rules that are consistent with justice and its many extensions of impartiality (Pollock-Byrne & Pollock, 1989), judiciousness which ensures proper outcomes (Charette, Crocker & Billette, 2011), and fairness (Bradford, 2014).

Table 10

Public trust on the justice of police

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Table 11 presents the impression of loyalty of the police as perceived by the public. The police earned high trust (4.24) due to their observance of how the police honor their badge and their uniform, a symbolic understanding of the sanctity of the profession.

The public maintains very high trust on this. Though, when it comes to upholding public interest over personal ones, the police fall a little notch lower at a high trust level (4.18). Theoretically, the firming and forming of values in the profession of the police whereby the police are expected to manifest a mode of conduct for a desired end-state (Ellwanger, 2010), and perhaps the act of making the society a better place to live is a business that the police must do.

So when the police make a living out from the community policing, they also make sure that their employment is meaningful (McCartney & Parent, nd), and a meaningful job of police is when their good will is reciprocated by the people of the neighborhood.

Table 11

Public trust on the loyalty of police

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Table 12 presents the dimension of trust by the honesty of the police. The honesty is much understood by the public as marital fidelity. This trust dimension received a high rating though, but comparably the lowest among other trust dimensions.

The impression on fidelity to a lawful-spouse took the badger on trust (3.78) while respecting the sanctity of marriage earns few points higher (3.98). This impression comes out to be disturbing at a glance and needing some theoretical substance to explain. Humphrey (1987) explained that an extra marital affair creates a hurricane of emotions that brings in devastating blows to family, work associates, and to members of the society.

Imagine police burdened with too much emotional stress due to a wrecking family doing patrol and chasing felons, their emotions are largely unstable and may act beyond protocols set by their profession. The seismic effect of a behavioral change may cause damage in the impression of the public. Very alarmingly, a study of Walter (1981) reveals that the police intervention who can relate to a domestic dispute precipitates the incident as the police themselves reveal their emotions and feelings which exacerbate the conflict.

Table 12

Public trust on honesty of police

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Summary of trust dimensions

On the whole, trust remain to be high (4.16) for the combined trust dimensions that will measure how the public is trusting the police. The high trust is brought about by the devotion of duty of the police (4.28), the justice (4.27), and service orientation (4.25), loyalty (4.24) and discipline (4.24). These five (5) characteristics are consistent with the procedural trust of the public on the police. It is taking, as a bundle, that the police are devoted to working and that their devotion to work is manifested in their impartiality in the conduct of policing affairs, and that they are seen as public servants willing to make sure that laws are implemented. Hence, the trust on the procedures firms up the impression of the distributive justice, not one is above the law.

On the one hand, the police need to improve behavioral dispositions that are associated with the ostentatious display of wealth and power, marital fidelity and their deep respect for women. These are the personal trust that the public modestly affords to bestow on the police. Marital honesty, for one, need be given further analysis as there seems to be a portent of distrust that hovers on the character of the police. The implication of this, when the impression of the public is confirmed largely burdens the procedural trust on the police.

Table 13

Summary of trust ratings per dimension

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As provided in figure 5, the trend in trust on dimensions of trust is established. The uptrend is observed for valor, professionalism, justice, devotion to duty, loyalty and discipline. Irregular movements are observed for trust in honesty, morality and humility. The famous Davao-based sociologist and academician, Dr. Amorado, accumulate these three dimensions of public trust as trust characters (Amorado, 2012).

As Amorado associates integrity and intent with character, so does good intent is useless unless embroiled in the capacity for integrity. In fact, it can be redounded that morality, honesty, and humility are manifests of capacity trusts or in lay words, the ability of the person to become open and reciprocative of trust being given.

Fig 5. Trust rating indicators over three periodic cycles

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The public who trust the police

Of the ratings indicated, it is good to determine the percentage of population is maintaining high trust on the police. This is suggestive of the cooperation of the community with the police to maintain peace and order.

As presented in figure 6, public trusting their police in 2016 range from 54% to 88% with lowest on humility; by 2017, trust on the police increased. From a lowest of 75% to highest of 90%. There are more people trusting their police in 2017 compared to 2016 results. On 2018, public trust changed; with a low of 66% to a high of 82%.

In 2015, the dimension of trust where people can barely trust their police was on humility (54%) and highest in perseverance (88%). Compare this with 2016 results were lowest of 75% on humility and highest on service orientation. In two years, the public is finding difficult to trust their police in living a modest life corresponding to their pay. Such display of wealth or power is what Stephen Covey warned; integrity is not arrogation, trust is humility (Covey, 2006).

By 2017, the trust dimensions and the percentage of alluding public trust on the police showed irregular movement. Comparing with the 2015 and 2016 results, lowest rated item for 2017 is honesty which is associated with marital fidelity; this comes as a new trust issue to deal with.

Fig 6. Percentage of the public with high trust

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In general, the average trust of the police for three years is 81% with the highest average occurring in 2017 at 85% and lowest of 78% in 2017. See figure below. Although there are unique and significant modifications in the trust measurement such as the alteration of the survey instrument and sampling design over the period, it can still be made in a generalized ability that the police in Davao Region maintain high trust rating, and a higher number of the population are trusting them. The trust that based on competencies (Bracey, 2002) and capacities (Cate, 2006; Amorado, 2012).

Fig 7. Trust rating indicators over three periodic cycles

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The next thing to do is to determine the most trusted Police Office (PO) and at the same time discover the sturdy trust items, and trust dimensions found to be slacking. Likewise, the overall trust of the Regional Office is also relevant information to extract.

As presented in table 15, the Police Regional Office maintains 78% public trust with strongest on devotion to duty, valor, discipline, justice, and loyalty all with 82% public trust. The slack dimension for trust is honesty in context of marital fidelity.

The most trusted police office is Davao Occidental Provincial Police Office with the average public trust of 87%, a high of 93% on devotion to duty, valor and loyalty and a low of 68% on honesty. The second most trusted police office is the DCPO with public trust of 85% at a high of 88% on service orientation, valor and justice; and a low of 74% for honesty.

The Davao del Sur Provincial Police Office landed last among the six police offices. The said police office maintains discipline as the only item above a threshold of 75% while the rest fell short of it.

The Davao Oriental Police Office maintains the public trust of 77% with high of 85% on perseverance and low of 72% in honesty. The Compostela Valley holds a 76% public trust with highest of 85% on justice and low of 64% in honesty. The Davao del Norte Police Office posted public trust of 75% with high of 83% on discipline and low of 64% in honesty.

Table 14

Trust rating of Davao Region Police

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The architecture of the artificial neural network using a back propagation model is presented in figure 8. The neural network, as Khan and colleagues (2001) describe, is a computer-based algorithmic model that follows the structure and behavior of neurons.

In the configuration designed below, the rightmost is the dependent variable trust; in the middle is the hidden layer which connects the input layer to the output layer. The input layer contains the predictor variables.

The output layer is influenced by the input layer through the synaptic behavior of the hidden layer. This is evident in the two lines that connect the dependent variable and the independent variable thru the hidden layer. The positive influence is indicated by the light-colored lines, while the negative influence is signified by the heavy-colored line.

Using the back-propagation, the trust is positively connected with the trust through hidden layers H(1:1) and H(1:7). The hidden layer H(1:1) is positively connected to service orientation, humility, perseverance and devotion to duty. Meantime, the layer H(1:7) is positively connected to honesty, justice, morality, devotion to duty, perseverance, professionalism, and humility. Thus, the potential determinants that can be extracted are devotion to duty, perseverance, and humility.

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Fig 8.Network schema to determine the influence of trust dimensions on trust

An importance analysis technique of the artificial neural network further reveals the trust dimensions that bear strong contribution to the public trust. As presented in table 16, the most important is devotion to duty, this being followed by justice, humility, and honesty. The service orientation and valor can further hype the public trust effect.

Table 15

Independent Variable Importance

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A regression technique was conducted to detect patterns and factors that influence the public trust on the police; the public is segmented by the demographic characteristics. Using a stepwise technique, six (6) variables were found to show statistical influence such as age, sex, household income, education, size of family, and satisfaction on police assistance.

It was noted that older ones maintain higher trust and the younger individuals, while males maintain higher trust than females. This can relate to the family impact of public impression of extra marital affairs of the police. The females feel for the impact of a dysfunctional household due to extra marital activities, while the males see this as a collateral for a masculine-oriented profession (Paoline, 2004; Herbert, 1996), an admission that the policing has a sub-culture of its own (Cochran & Bromley, 2003).

Meantime, higher income groups maintain lower trust than their low-income group counterparts. In fact, as one moves up through the income scale, public trust on police tapers off. The suspicion of the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy can be attributed to the arrogance of the police in displaying off their wealth and finances that may be more than their paygrade. Also, the expectation on the police to ask for financial support, and even the higher certainty that they will milk the moneyed ones, be this true of just trivially passed on among the public, saddled public trust.

Education improves public trust, and this is true even in the personal condition of the individual. It was observed that those who possess advanced education maintain higher trust on the police than those who obtained a limited education. This can be attributed to the ability of the educated ones to demand from the police what necessarily be rendered by the police along the lines of profession and forms of public assistance. Also, the educated ones can articulate their call for assistance to which the police organization can appropriately respond to. The name of the game is the proper communication between the stakeholder and the police.

The bigger the size of the family the lower the trust they can afford; this underscores the possibility of longer and more frequent police interaction. This is just quite disturbing given that the police symbolize quality of peace and order in the neighborhood as put forth by Reisig and Parks (2000). It may come that the more people in the household, the higher is the likelihood that they become victims of crime or felony. In most of the incidence, it may appear that police assistance fall short of quality public service. Or this can be just a result of the belief that a loose household is a target household of police chase as well.

Table 16

Determinants of public trust on the police

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The three-year average of public trust on the police is 81%, which reached 85% in 2016 from 80% in 2015 but dipped to 78% by 2017. The PRO XI can claim strength on valor, discipline, justice, loyalty, and devotion to duty of its police officers. An urgent need for impression-change is about marital honesty and humility. The former is on assuring the public that a policeman/policewoman household is never a dysfunctional household. While the later is on the brazen display of wealth and power in the neighborhood. Police must maintain modest life consistent with pay grade.

The most trusted police office is the Davao Occidental Provincial Police Office (DOcPPO) followed by the Davao City Police Office. The slacking police office relative to public trust is the Davao del Sur Police Office (DSPPO) and the Davao del Norte Police Office. For one, Panabo City in Davao del Norte posted the highest incidence of crime experience gathered by this survey.

The most trusting individuals are the older and educated males; while the suspicious are females, the moneyed ones, and those belonging to bigger households. Also, the police must realize that a single instance of public service becomes a consistent and irreversible police impression. Hence, if for once police poorly assisted an individual, all other police assistance will be made poor no matter how fast or efficient it had been. Finally, the police need to exert effort to bring down the impression that police service is public service. It is never for a fee, nor needing anything in exchange.


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Police Trust Measure in Philippines
University of Mindanao  (Research and Publication)
police research
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
File size
830 KB
Community relations, police trust
Quote paper
Adrian Tamayo (Author)Andre Cardenas (Author)Rowela Cartin (Author)Reymerty Pecson (Author)Althea Lou Espero (Author), 2018, Police Trust Measure in Philippines, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/419694


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