Maguire, E. R., Hill, S. L., & Giles, H. (2023). Caught in the middle: Accommodative dilemmas in police–community relations. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Advance online publication.


Police reform movements often focus on improving relationships between police and the public. These relationships are a primary focus of community policing and procedural justice, two major reform efforts in policing worldwide over the past three decades. Reform movements that seek to improve relationships between police and the public rely, in part, on improving the way police communicate with the public. The idea of altering the style and content of communication to improve trust and reduce tension and conflict is consistent with a framework called communication accommodation theory that has appealed to a wide variety of disciplines. Although communication accommodation is implicit in many efforts to reform the police, little attention has been paid to the realistic constraints that police leaders may face in seeking to accommodate members of the public or their own employees. There are times when police leaders face “accommodative dilemmas” in which choosing to accommodate an outgroup means either not accommodating, or underaccommodating one’s own ingroup, and vice versa. Drawing on the study of intergroup communication, this paper illustrates and discusses these accommodative dilemmas in police-community relations.

Year: 2023
Language: English
Type: Journal article