Police Corruption Essay

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Police corruption is a problem that can be traced back to the early days of policing. It is a serious problem within most police forces today, as it is widely know that is it something that is not only hard to calculate, but also hard to reduce and near impossible to eradicate. The following will explore what corruption is defined as and reasons for why police corruption occurs. Reasons that will be covered that can be deemed as the cause of corruption are, the police cultures’ solidarity and loyalty, that a high level of discretion is used, which cannot be monitored, and that there is a corrupt hierarchy within the police force that is difficult to control. Methods to prevent corruption will then be explored, such as more rigorous recruitment procedures and the reinforcement of the motivation to do what is right. Lastly, it will be explored why in fact it is so hard to reduce corruption in the police force and subsequently why it will never go away. Before it can be examined why police corruption occurs, it must first be defined, what police corruption means, as there are many widely accepted definitions. Punch as cited in Palmer (1992: 103) defines corruption as, “When an officer receives or is promised significant advantage or reward…for doing something that he is under a duty to do anyway, that he is under a duty not to do, for exercising legitimate discretion for improper reasons and for employing illegal means to achieve approved goals.” Barker and Wells as cited in Palmer (1992:104) offer a similar definition, “Police corruption is any prescribed act which involves the misuse of the officer’s official position for actual or expected material reward or gain.” (For a more detailed explanation of corruption, see Ivkovic 2003:595). As a part of their job, police are given a number of rights and powers, such as the ability to exercise discretion. This
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