In Finland, more than one in four young females and almost one in three young males experienced some type of adversarial police contact in a year. The high prevalence of adversarial police contact among contemporary youth highlights the need to study the nature of the contacts and labelling theory’s hypothesis of control bias. Consequently, we develop the theory’s concept of social visibility to examine differential selection. We draw on a nationally representative youth survey to explore police contacts among youths aged 15 to 16 (N = 5826). The open-ended responses suggested that police interventions typically focus on traffic situations or use of alcohol in public places. Also, we used multivariate logistic regression to examine which factors increase the likelihood of adversarial police contact. We found that a variety of delinquency and heavy alcohol use emerge as strong triggers of getting caught by the police. In addition, male gender, living in a city, having a single father, and low educational aspirations increases the likelihood of police contact, controlling for delinquency, and socio-demographic variables. Our findings seem to be consistent with mixed-model hypothesis, which highlights that both, differential involvement and selection, might operate together. We suggest that even in the Nordic conditions, which is characterised by high social equality, social biases seem to exist and some youth are more socially visible to formal social control than others.
For more than four years, our EU COST funded network on Police Stops has been gathering information, hearing from experts…Read more
Workshop 'Registration of police stops and ethnicity and defining the police stop' 31 Aug - 2 Sept 2022
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