Assessing the quality of police services using SERVQUAL

Mike Donnelly, Neil J. Kerr, Russell Rimmer, Edward M. Shiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the application of the SERVQUAL approach to assess the quality of service of Strathclyde Police in Scotland. Measuring service quality in public services is fraught with difficulty especially in public services where customers are vulnerable citizens whose contact with the service may be limited. The paper reports on a SERVQUAL survey of elected representatives serving the area covered by Strathclyde Police Force. The survey captures respondents' expectations of an excellent police service and compares these with their perceptions of the service delivered by Strathclyde Police. The paper also reports on a parallel SERVQUAL survey of police officers in Strathclyde to examine how well the force understands its customers' expectations and how well its internal processes support the delivery of top quality policing services. While there is a significant shortfall in meeting customer expectations, the police force appears to have a good understanding of what these expectations actually are. There also appear to be gaps in the formalisation of service quality standards, in the force's ability to meet established standards, and in its ability to deliver the level of service it promises to customers. A key technical result is that the primary SERVQUAL instrument appears to be internally consistent but lacks discriminatory validity between the five SERVQUAL dimensions in this service arena. The paper will be of interest to strategic and operational police service managers and to academics investigating the reliability and value of service quality assessment tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-105
Number of pages13
JournalPolicing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • police
  • Scotland
  • service levels


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