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you will write a journal article in the form of a critical commentary. While journal articles often involve the presentation of results from a research study

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Abstract 

In this paper I will be analysing the current issues surrounding the methods used to combat corruption within the Police department and evaluating its effectiveness and how this can have an impact on the rest of society. I will also be suggesting alternative deterrence methods while also evaluating the most suited techniques specific to each scenario. As the strategies currently in place tend to disregard the roles that social, cultural and environmental variables have over officers and the likelihood they become corrupt. Research shows that there were very few cases whereby the Government found and/ or acknowledged the presence of a ‘noble cause corruption’ thus eliminating the excuse that the standards of which officers must abide by are unrealistically high. Additionally, the West Midlands Police Department in response to corruption state that they are aiming to identify those most at risk of turning to corruption, however it is not specified how they plan to do so. As a final point, results discovered that the most impactful prevention methods are those which stem from internal factors within the police force as this is the most cost-efficient strategy and is easily implementable into the current system. The method consists of, higher quality training on police morals/ ethics and all officers are tracked on whom has completed the training to remove the excuse of them having not known the correct code of conduct, while also making the police superiors – and those within the hierarchy – responsible for any misdemeanours and rule breaking, hopefully leading to less corruption while also ensuring there is a high ranking member responsible for their subordinate stepping out of line. 

 

Introduction

Police Corruption has no single comprehensive definition however, the “legal system has stated what it is not, but not what it is (Walker and Katz, 2010). There is a consensus that it involves a breach or some form of compromise of “special trust” or a breach of position/ duty. McMullan determines an officer corrupt if “he accepts money or money’s worth for doing something he is under a duty to do anyway, that he is under a duty not to do, or to exercise a legitimate discretion for improper reasons” (1961). Corrupt Police officers/ forces has been a widely discussed topic as of recent and whether it is receiving the adequate recognition as a topic for discussion and dissection. Evidence of this is discussed by Tiffen outlines the continuous media coverage surrounding the matter and discusses whether this makes the issue relevant or whether this is just a ‘moral panic’ (2004). The article also highlights whether the media are showing an accurate portrayal of the extent to which police corruption exists within society, while simultaneously portraying the efforts police departments have made to ensure that corruption is swiftly eradicated. For example, a proactive initiative implemented by the Las Vegas Police Department applied a psychology-informed “hands off” policy for officers involved in foot chases, use of force dropped by 23%. (Abrams, 2020). There are many variables present which have been used to discuss the level of media portrayal such as inaccuracy of events, selective or out of context reporting, and that the media overall “report characters in misleadingly one-dimensional terms” (Tiffen, 2004). Ultimately, demonstrating that there is an ethical issue within the media regarding police corruption which can be extremely detrimental as the media largely impact public opinion and their biased coverage of the topic doesn’t allow fair judgement for the public. Police corruption is a topic of serious concern as it “undermines the morals and values that the police system represents” (Punch, 2000). For corruption to be properly combatted it is vital that there are better indicators to decipher what is and what isn’t deemed as corruption. Kristine & Kelsey acknowledge that there can be a small minority of police which can be referred to as “bad apples” and that they do not represent the entirety of a police department where the majority do abide by the code of conduct (2019). The article goes on to suggest that to fix the system these “bad apples” must be located and then taken out of the organisation for the corruption not be spread across the rest of the department. Regardless, it is obvious that although this has been frequently addressed and outlined as a cause for concern from the government, “the problem is with the system not isolated instances of police corruption (Levan and Stevenson, 2019). 

Theories of Corruption 

The causes of misconduct and corruption have been attributed to various sources, including individual, ecological, and organizational factors (King, 2009). There are also many other theories associated to forms of police corruption which include traditional criminological theories. Social learning theory, control balance theory, opportunity theory, deterrence theory, theories on self-control, organizational theories, the life course perspective, and developmental approaches have all been used and tested to explain misconduct and corruption (White and Kane, 2013). An individual explanation for corruption lays focus on the “bad apple” approach, however this does not explain the environmental theory of corruption. The social structural theory analyses how criminal law, cultural conflict and political culture can majorly influence decision making in police officers when it comes to decision making and enforcing certain laws and practising misconduct. The neighbourhood explanation theory focuses on disorganisation within society, such as poverty and informal social control within communities which can influence police deviance. Theories about the nature of police work take into consideration how certain occupational settings and circumstances which are exclusive to policing, can provide opportunities for corruption. Police organizations theories focus on the organizational structure of police departments and the integrity of their leaders and supervisors. Police subculture theories attempt to explain corruption because of peer pressure and group solidarity factors that exist within the subculture of police officers (Walker and Katz, 2010). 

On the contrary there could be instances whereby police become corrupt for a good reason which is known as “noble cause corruption” (Caless, 2008). For instance, an officer could tamper with evidence or use manipulation tactics to coerce a perpetrator into a confession in hope that they are punished for their crimes. The root cause of this form of corruption does not stem from a place of selfishness as it does not benefit the officer financially as say a bribery would this is just generally just seen as the officer acting “for the greater good”.  This phrase tends to be associated as justification for “noble cause corruption” however Punch’s (2000) three key factors - on what may cause a police officer to become corrupt – do not give an explanation for “noble cause corruption”. 

For this coursework, you will write a journal article in the form of a critical commentary. While journal articles often involve the presentation of results from a research study, they may also be theoretical treatises or critical viewpoints on a topic of interest. In this assignment, as a critical commentary, you will explore an aspect of your selected current issue and evaluate its effects and consequences in a local and/or wider social/cultural/political/environmental context. Your article should take the form of the development of an argument from your own standpoint; that is, your own opinion based on your informed understanding of the issue and with an appropriate evidence base to substantiate your view.

Bleakley, P. (2021) The Cult of Corruption: Reframing Organizational Frameworks of Police Corruption from a Cultic Perspective. Deviant Behavior, 42(5), 565-577. 

Caldero, M., and Crank, J. (2015) Police Ethics: The Corruption of Noble Cause. 3rd ed. London ; New York: Routledge.

Corsianos, M. (2012) The Complexities of Police Corruption: Gender, Identity, and Misconduct, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, MD. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central.

 

 

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