Policing & Society Vol. 21, No. 1, March 2011, 110Á127
Corrupt police networks: uncovering hidden relationship patterns, functions and roles
Mark Lauchsa*, Robyn Keastb and Nina Yousefpourb
a School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 4001, Australia; bSchool of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 4000, Australia
(Received 27 October 2009; ﬁnal version received 19 July 2010) This paper applies social network analysis techniques to a case study of police corruption in order to produce findings that will assist in corruption prevention and investigation. Police corruption is commonly studied, but rarely are sophisticated tools of analyses engaged to add rigour to the field of study. This paper analyses the ‘First Joke’, a systemic and long-lasting corruption network in the Queensland Police Force, a state police agency in Australia. It uses the data obtained from a commission of inquiry that exposed the network, and develops hypotheses as to the nature of the networks structure based on existing literature into dark networks and criminal networks. These hypotheses are tested by entering the data into UCINET and analysing the outcomes through social network analysis measures of average path distance, centrality and density. The conclusions reached show that the network has characteristics not predicted by the literature. Keywords: police corruption; social network analysis
Background Public officials who place their own interests before those of the public have corrupted a system in which they are supposed to act as agents of the public will (Lauchs 2007). The police are an essential part of the Australian justice system and are the frontline actors in keeping the peace and social stability and cohesion. Thus, good governance relies on honest policing. However, there will always be at least a small group of corrupt police officers, even though Australians are culturally averse to corruption (Khatri...