1.Police Culture - Improved police training offers the best way to address police misconduct. Do you agree?
2. Policing strategies - Zero Tolerance Policing is often spoken about by politicians and media commentators as a favourable strategy in reducing crime. Why is this and does scholarly research support such claims?
3.The Use of Force – Police use electronic stun devices (Tasers) and are said to be a benefits to both police and public safety in arresting violent offenders. Is this claim valid? What are some issues associated with the use of these devices?
4.Corruption - Corruption is a necessary and unavoidable aspect of police work. Discuss.
Corruption Is Unavoidable Aspect Of Police Work A Discussion.
Corruption - Corruption is a necessary and unavoidable aspect of police work.
The word corruption is never viewed in a positive light and it has however closely associated with police work. Therefore the statement that corruption is a necessary and unavoidable aspect of police work becomes problematic. Police work is devoted to the protection of common public and bringing the law breakers to justice. Police corruption abrades the trust that is placed on them and causes criminal behaviour. Police Corruption refers to a form of misconduct, wherein the police officials break their political contract or abuse their power for organisational or personal gain. The breech of conduct is called “the colour of law” and may include violence, sexual assault, false arrests or fabrication of evidence. It is very important to address the issue of corruption because it slows economy, undermines security, obstructs justice and reduced trust of the people from their government. The topic aims to analyse if corruption is necessary and unavoidable aspect of police work.
Police as a bureaucratic institution to safeguard the interest of the general public and maintain law and order. The police force evolved especially in the 19th century to address the rapid social changes brought about by industrial evolution. Before 1800s, the governments of various nation maintained law and order at various levels in the local and the national level. It was under the rule of Napoleon of France who institutionalised the policing under the name Gendarmerie, a military model of police force. This model was widely used by other nations during the time and later replaced by the British police model (Bayley 2017). The management of the police force has always played an important role in shaping the ethics and moral conduct of the police force. The management varies from place to place and therefore the amount of corruption varies as well (Hess et al. 2015). When a particular organisation is known for its acceptance and tolerance for such harmful practices, it has very negative impact on the reputation of the organisation. Police officers are often not respected as much as the people in the military position owing to the reputation and association of corruption with the police force (Nelson 2017).
Studies point that the corruption exists predominantly in most in most police forces all of over the world. The basic of police work translates to punishing the criminals and protecting the innocent. Corruption is a breach of ethical and moral policing and is a harmful practice within the community. The procedural laws binds police officer from breaking the law and commits them to perform their tasks effectively. There has been cases of police corruption case in point, the case of Birmingham Six, wherein six people were convicted of bombing two pubs in Birmingham in 1975 where the convicts where released from prison and acquitted of all charges initially due to police corruption (Newburn 2015). Recently, the Queensland police received backlash for not taking any action against a rape victim without investigating her claim this kind of misconduct and failing at delivery of protecting innocent clearly shows that the police corruption is rampant phenomenon (Smee 2019).
There is certain causative agents of corruption, therefore it is essential to understand the causes and involvement of corruption. Studies aim to show that police officers tend to act corruptly when they try to further their personal or organisations agenda. According to experts there are different types of corruption segregated into the type of intention that perpetuates corruption. Corruption can be influenced by personal gain which may involve selling important and crucial information or gaining financial benefit. The second kind of corruption is something that can help the organisation, it is also called the noble cause corruption done to achieve convictions. There are many other kinds of corruption which was identified by Roebuck and Barker such as when an officer receives something due to their position but not breaking the law is called the corruption of authority (Caldero et al. 2018.). Kickbacks are when an officer receives money or things when they refer business to others. When people are arrested police officials may steal their personal belongings, this is known as opportunistic theft (Caldero et al. 2018.). Police officials are often offered bribes for not following a thorough investigation and is a criminal violation the process is called shakedown. Drug mafias often give hefty bribes to the police officers to protect their illegal practices this is a serious corruption and quite dominant in most countries. There are also cases where the police officer is directly involved in committing the crime such as drug dealing, human trafficking (Caldero et al. 2018).
In addition to these above mentioned causes there is a behaviouristic pattern that suggests corruption such as racism, extreme violence, planting and tampering evidence, sexual harassment and others are also corrupt behaviours that is prevalent in the police force. Idealistically offering or taking any form of bribery in cash or kind is unacceptable. However, in real life situations it is more complicated than that, often there are various combination of factors which stops police officers from doing their job and taking corruption (Porter and Warrender 2009). The combination of factors can cause internal and external corruption is complex and often becomes necessary. The word “necessary” is not used to justify the heinous corrupt practices not is it to support such actions. In certain situations like a high profile murder investigation can force a police officer to take a bribe. Real life crime situations are complex and not easy to solve, often there maybe involvement of high profile politicians who have diplomatic immunity and are involved in a possible murder case. The officer in charge of the operation maybe forced and even threatened to take a bribe as it might hamper international relations and the government needs to sweep it under the rug. In this fictitious scenario the complex situation forced the officer to accept the bribe, it becomes essential for the officer to take the bribe to save international relations. This may be categorised under the category of noble corruption that was done to protect the country. Nevertheless, the actions does not validate the process. Police officers are people who have regular lives and sometimes fear, blackmail can act as a trigger to accept and participate in corruptive practices (Newburn 2015).
The Use of Force
Corruption and the tendencies that promotes such practices can be explained by social psychology (Rusch 2016). Power is an aphrodisiac, often when police officers are in charge of a situation where people involved are in lower social strata they may tend to act in a dominant manner and take undue advantage of the people and may bully them. Power hierarchy accompanied by legal rights often encourages disruptive behaviour among police officers and may be said is influential of corruptive practices (Nelson 2017). Psychology explains, that the intuitive decision making process is dependent on mental shortcuts that is pre-set in the brain (Rusch 2016). People also take deliberate decision which may or may not be influenced by their personal nature. When decisions are not well thought through and taken on spot it may lead to bad decision making policy which may be attributed to making bad choices including (Rusch 2016). One such phenomenon is the over confident effect where the person’s perceives their moral compass far superior than it actually is. Another form is the reciprocation of the corruptive behaviour, wherein the person may feel like they owe them a favour and it later becomes a habitual acceptance and sustains corrupt relationship. For example in 2015 a state coal mine inspector in US testified that the state legislator offered to help the medical expenses and later it developed into a relationship where the inspector had to help the legislator in his career.
Opportunity is one of the leading causes of corruption due to the availability of the context. Police officers are entrusted with the case they are handling and they may choose to bend the rule as they see fit. Sometimes they may sell certain information regarding crucial cases to the press for money or may sell drugs which is in possession of police custody. Social factors is also attributed to support the cause of corruption. Colleagues may influence other officers to participate in the corruption practices. Peer pressure can often lead respectable police officer with good ethics and moral conduct to get pressurised and perform certain action which can affect their career. Commanders may feel responsible for their subordinates’ action and ensure strict policing to curb corruption. External oversight if introduced by independent commissions can act as motivation to stop misbehaviour and conduct of the
Corruption is not a singular activity it is varied layered and complex therefore Porter has suggested some changes that can help with preventing police corruption. Some changes that needs to be in effect is visible leadership. An effective management is characterised by strong leadership, when subordinates notice their leader is strong, moralistic and conducts ethically they too feel motivated to follow. Strong leadership acts a role model to monitor and check any breach in the conduct of the police law (Porte rand Warrender 2009). Secondly, Porter suggests that if there is a policy of reporting of corruption within the organisation, each member of the police force can act as the moral watchdog and contain the prevalence of corruption. This also helps to strengthen the team and fight against crime more effectively and lastly, whenever there is an opportunity for corruption in work there needs to be stricter procedures to contain and monitor corruption practices (Porter and Warrender 2009). As the technological advancement increases there is a huge opportunity for the government to monitor and combat corruption with the use of body cameras and use of cameras in the police cars and other equipment. The cameras record the activity of the police officers and can persuade them to act in accordance with law knowing they are being monitored(McClure et al. 2017). Social media and media acts as public watchdog to ensure that corruption is curbed significantly. When police officers know they are being watched they often act in accordance to the law (Enikolopov et al. 2018). Training also plays an important role in shaping the police force. Culturally inclusive training to young officers can help them to be aware of their work and implication it can have on the common public. Investigation, providing care and protection to the weak maybe present in the philosophical training however, it is important that young officers know their contribution to the society and how they can improve it (Hope 2017). Training should introduce through screening tests through which the individuals’ behavioural tendencies can be measured which can help to reduce corruptive practices.
Corruption is unavoidable and a lucrative opportunity to earn a quick favour or money, however, the consequence of it is far severe and complicated. Corruption not only harms the organisation but it also allows crime to increase and thrive. It completely destroys the trust of common people and takes away their basic human rights. It reduces the economic development within a country as more people need to pay bribe to get their work done. The public opinion is effected severely when there is a public-police encounter and often leads to violence as common people perceive police officers as negative agents of the law (Roberts 2018). The common perception of the public is often attributed to the reputation of the police and association with bribe (Roberts 2018). There has been cases where there has been mob violence against police officers resulting in death. These are severe mindset perception that has been caused by years and years of corruption and malpractices against the common people. The stigma attached to the job is also very challenging for the police officials. It also has severe psychological impact on the law officers as well. When a person is faced with their own moral conscience they cannot hide their own malpractices and dishonest ways from themselves. The guilt can often lead to stress, work anxiety, depression, and anger, these behavioural and psychological effect is very potent and real problems of police officials (Nelson and Smith 2016).
In conclusion, corruption and police work is very closely associated. The problematic situation is a complex amalgamation of a lot of factors which facilitates its development. Often the low wage and harsh working condition act as demotivating factor for the police officer which encourages them to take the easy way out. In the long term these activities is harmful for the officers as well as the organisation. Even though corruption sometimes becomes invasive, there needs to be better change of policy to promote good practices and curb corruption.
Bayley, D., 2017. Governing the police: Experience in six democracies. Routledge.
Caldero, M.A., Dailey, J.D. and Withrow, B.L., 2018. Police ethics: The corruption of noble cause. Routledge.
Enikolopov, R., Petrova, M. and Sonin, K., 2018. Social media and corruption. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 10(1), pp.150-74.
Hess, K.M., Orthmann, C.H. and LaDue, S.E., 2015. Management and supervision in law enforcement. Cengage Learning.
Hope Sr, K.R., 2017. Training to curb police corruption in developing countries: A suggested framework. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 19(1), pp.3-10.
McClure, D., La Vigne, N., Lynch, M., Golian, L., Lawrence, D. and Malm, A., 2017. How body cameras affect community members’ perceptions of police. Results from a randomized controlled trial of one agency’s pilot. Washington, DC: Urban Instititue.
Nelson, K.V. and Smith, A.P., 2016. Occupational stress, coping and mental health in Jamaican police officers. Occupational medicine, 66(6), pp.488-491.
Nelson, W.E., 2017. The Emerging American Police State: The Problem Is Not with the Police, but Higher Up. TOuRO L. REv., 33, p.709.
Newburn, T., 2015. Literature review: police integrity andcorruption.
Porter, L.E. and Warrender, C., 2009. A multivariate model of police deviance: examining the nature of corruption, crime and misconduct. Policing & Society, 19(1), pp.79-99.
Roberts, J., 2018. Public opinion, crime, and criminal justice. Routledge.
Rusch, J., 2016, April. The social psychology of corruption. In Proceedings of 2016 OECD Integrity Forum, Fighting the Hidden Tariff: Global Trade Without Corruption.
Smee, B. (2019). Independent group targets misconduct and corruption in Queensland police. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/05/independent-group-targets-misconduct-and-corruption-in-queensland-police [Accessed 8 Nov. 2019].
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