Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Police Corruption Essay Example for Free

Police Corruption Essay Corruption is a complex problem having its roots and ramifications in society as a whole. Corruption is defined as â€Å"improper or selfish exercise of power and influence attached to a public office or to a special position one occupies in public life† Definition of corruption is sufficiently broad to include a range of such activities: â€Å"A public official is 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.† [McMullan (1961: 183-4)]    Punch (1985) broadens this definition in two ways. He defines corruption as occurring: â€Å"When an official receives or is promised significant advantage or reward (personal, group or organizational) for doing something that he is under a duty to do anyway, that he is under a duty not to do, for exercising a legitimate discretion for improper reasons, and for employing illegal means to achieve approved goals.† Punch has broaden the definition in the way that corruption is not always individual it can be in group or organizational and sometimes it also involves illegal means to achieve the goals.   Corruption in one form or other has always existed in the country. The Bofors, HDW Submarine deal, Airbus deal, ABB Loco deal, Jain Hawala Racket, Sugar scam, Security scam, Urea scam, Fodder scam, etc., are a few example of corruption in various departments. The tentacles of corruption have spread to the system of governance –from civil-political-military. Thus no institution can claim itself to be free from corruption. It has now become the part of life and is a problem that has and will continue to affect us all, whether we are civilians or law enforcement officers.   Unlike the other executive wings of the government, the police,  Ã‚  Ã‚   which have maximum visibility in the society, are a pet theme for such corruption. In police, corruption is usually viewed as the misuse of authority by a police officer while in duty to fulfil personal needs or wants. Few facts about police corruption: It is: Pervasive – corrupt practices are found in some form in a great many police agencies in all societies; A continuing problem – there is evidence of corrupt practices from all stages of police history; Not simply a problem of the lower ranks – corruption has been found at all levels of the police organization; Not simply financial: activities (including ‘process’ activities) extending beyond bribery and extortion have been found. For a corrupt act to occur, three distinct elements of police corruption must be present simultaneously:   1) Misuse of authority,   2) Misuse of official capacity   3) Misuse of personal attainment. (Dantzker, 1995: p 157) It can be said that power inevitably tends to corrupt, and it is yet to be recognized that, while there is no reason to suppose that policemen as individuals are any less fallible than other members of society, people are often shocked and outraged when policemen are exposed violating the law. General police deviance can include brutality, discrimination, sexual harassment, intimidation, and illicit use of weapons. Police corruption is a universal problem that has its regime in many countries and is a recurring issue that cannot simply be away by repressive measures. Police officers are the state made flesh and plays a role of law enforcers, problem solvers and the most direct representatives of the state. They give their visible, uniformed, 24-hour presence on the streets and their crucial involvement in social intervention and law enforcement. If they are corrupt, then the citizens will lose their confidence in them. Police corruption is not an individual aberration it can takes place from patrol to chief and can be generated by the organization itself. Corruption within police departments falls into 2 basic categories, which are external corruption and internal corruption. External corruption: It involves the relation of police with the public and can involve one or more of the following activities: Payoffs to police: By essentially non-criminal elements who fail to comply with stringent statutes or city ordinances; (for example, individuals who repeatedly violate traffic laws). By individuals who continually violate the law as a method of making money (for example, prostitutes, narcotics addicts and pushers, professional burglars). 2) Clean Graft where money or courtesy discounts or gratitude is paid to police for services. Internal corruption: It is the relationship between various officers within the police department. Police corruption comes in various shapes and sizes from the major drug trafficking and money laundering to looking the other way on minor everyday violations of the law. The typology of police corruption given by Roebuck and Barker (1974) has eight categories, to which Punch (1985) has added a ninth one (Table I). TABLE I Types and dimensions of police corruption. Types   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Dimensions 1.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Corruption of authority  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚              2.   ‘Kickbacks’  Ã‚  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   3. Opportunistic theft      Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   4. ‘Shakedowns’         Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   5. Protection of illegal activities      Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   6. ‘The fix’      Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   7. Direct criminal activities         Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   8. Internal payoffs      Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   9. ‘Flaking’ or ‘padding’  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   When officers receive some form of material gain by virtue of their position without violating the law per se (e.g. free drinks, meals, services) Receipt of goods, services or money for referring business to particular individuals or companies Stealing from arrestees (‘rolling’), from traffic accident victims, crime victims and the bodies or property of dead citizens Acceptance of a bribe for not following through a criminal violation – not making an arrest, filing a complaint or impounding property Police protection of those engaged in illegal activities (prostitution, drugs, pornography) enabling the business to continue to operate Undermining of criminal investigations or proceedings, or the ‘losing’ of traffic tickets A police officer commits a crime against person or property for personal gain ‘in clear violation’ of both departmental norms and criminal law Prerogatives available to police officers (holidays, shift allocations, promotion) are bought, bartered and sold Planting of or adding to evidence (particularly but not exclusively in drugs cases; Punch 1985)    Causes of the police corruption: To find out the causes of police corruption one has to focus on the nature and the kind of police work. One of the old explanation suggests that corruption is the product of â€Å"Bad Apple† i.e. corruption is due to few number of police officers who are quite unrepresentative of the wider standards exhibited by the organization. Factors of police corruption: Constant factors Variable factors Constant factors include the following: Discretion: The exercise of discretion is argued to have both legitimate and illegitimate bases. Low managerial visibility A police officer’s actions are often low in visibility as far as line management is concerned. Low public visibility Much of what police officers do is not witnessed by members of the public. Peer group secrecy ‘Police culture’ is characterized by a high degree of internal solidarity and secrecy. Managerial secrecy Police managers have generally worked themselves up from the ‘beat’ and share many of the values held by those they manage. Status problems Police officers are sometimes said to be poorly paid relative to their powers. Association with lawbreakers: Police officers inevitably come into contact with a wide variety of people who have an interest in police not doing what they have a duty to do. Variable factors Community structure: Refers to the degree of ‘anomie’, the political ‘ethos’, and the extent of culture conflict. Organizational characteristics: Levels of bureaucracy, integrity of leadership, solidarity of work subcultures, moral career stages of police officers, and the perception of legitimate opportunities. Legal opportunities for corruption: Moral: so-called ‘victimless crimes’ (Schur, 1965) associated with the policing of ‘vice’. Regulative: the exploitation of minor or trivial regulations such as those associated with construction, traffic and licensing. Corruption controls: How the guardians are themselves ‘guarded’. Social organization of corruption: Two basic forms: ‘arrangements’ and ‘events’. ‘Moral cynicism’: Association with lawbreakers and contact with temptation is inevitable in police work, inclining officers towards moral cynicism. Corruption control and Prevention: Basically controlling corruption is the only way that we can really limit corruption, because corruption is the by-product of the individual police officer, societal views, and, police environmental factors. Therefore control must come from not only the police department, but also must require the assistance and support of the community members. Controlling corruption from the departmental level requires a strong leadership organization, because corruption can take place anywhere from the patrol officer to the chief. Various strategies can be followed to control corruption viz., : Human resource management: It includes amendment of the existing system, training and implementation of new procedures.   Anti-corruption policies: Includes policies that would codify the standards of behavior of staff and outline the general parameters of the organization’s response to the problem. Internal controls: Emphasizes on detection and punishment of the wrong doings. External environment and external controls: Involves the attempt to encourage the public to be more vigilant and more willing to report suspicions of corruption. Although the police department have to solve the problem of corruption on their own still some support and assistance from local community is required. Public should be given knowledge regarding the negative effects of corruption on their police agency. They should be taught even ‘gratitude’ i.e. the most basic and common form of police corruption acts as a catalyst for more and future corruption. Earlier we use to think that corruption is a temporary, exceptional ‘problem’ which can be removed by ‘surgical’ treatment, as if it was a malignant cancer, to restore an otherwise healthy agency (the ‘bad apple’ metaphor), but now things have shifted to see corruption as   universal and as forming a permanent concern. All measures to control corruption have to take place in presence of sound leadership, sufficient resources and a battery of measures that should all be reinforcing the same mission and message. Thus it is the healthy leadership which is important and a focus on front-line supervision over the essential primary processes at the base of the organization is required. The police organization deals with people in trouble and people who cause trouble thus its cutting-edge is formed by uniformed officers and detectives in situations of low visibility. There has to be a persistent, patient emphasis on integrity and professional standards and on pushing the message that a corrupt policeman is a criminal, that he or she lets down colleagues and the profession, and that ‘noble-cause’ corruption is self-defeating. This is because, when it is exposed, it makes it more difficult to secure convictions and makes police methods suspect (Rose 1996). Vigilance and realism must be the watchwords of the police administrator seeking to control corruption. The emphasis, then, is on pride, professionalism, standards of competence and performance, legitimacy and of gaining and retaining confidence. Conclusion: To curb the widespread social evil, called corruption the efforts will have to come from both the police and the civil society. Society members should be educated about the negative effects of corruption within the police force and its long term disadvantages. For controlling corruption the police department requires an organization lead by people of strong character and who have good leadership qualities. The departmental goal should be well defined and should be pursued earnestly. According to today’s situation there is more urgent need to address basic issues like improving the working conditions of the police persons, inhumanly long working hours, the inadequate police-population ratio, a pay structure which is not proportional to the work allocated and, the disproportionately low budget for meeting the day to day expenses. All these are some major factors which are responsible for contributing to the image of the Police Force as insensitive and a corrupt organization. As long as citizens are willing to go along with corrupt police officers, just for the reason to obtain favors, there is no way in which corruption can be curbed . Some effective steps should be taken to make the picture cleaner and corruption free for the future generation. Thus one should not perceive corruption and other forms of police misconducts as individual aberrations of an incidental character that can be effectively banished by temporary, repressive measures. Reform of the police is the part of the reform of the society. It is important to focus on corruption control and to open our eyes to other insidious forms of police misconduct and even serious police crime. References: Punch Maurice (2000), Police Corruption And Its Prevention: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 8: 301–324. Newburn Tim, Understanding and Preventing Police Corruption:Lessons from the Literature; Research, Development and Statistics Directorate 50 Queen Anne’s Gate London SW1H 9AT. Bracey, D. H. (1992) ‘Police corruption and community relations: Community policing’ in Police Studis Vol 15 No 4, 179-183. Sayed, T. and Bruce, D. (1998a) ‘Police corruption: Towards a working definition’ in African Security Review Vol 7 No 1, 3-14. Thomas KV (2004), Corruption in Indian Police. Holloway Brandon(2002),Police Corruption (2002, November).   Police brutality, the copcrimes homepage for law enforcement and government corruption. Available: http://www.copcrimes.com/homepage.html

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