Police Officials Play An Integral Role Criminology Essay

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Police officials play an integral role in the maintenance of our democratic society. While these roles compel police officers to maintain a high level of ethical standard which some officers readily adhere to, others find pleasure in engaging in misconduct. Police misconduct, the term used to describe inappropriate actions carried out by police officers in connection with their official duties. These misconducts can range from: breach of confidence, consumption or use of liquor or drugs in a manner that is prejudicial to duty, corrupt practice (bribery), and excessive use of force. This paper reviews eight (8) academic journals with the following evaluations of police misconduct: civilians' opinions of the code of silence on misconduct, factors that influence police sexual misconduct, the code of silence among South African police, the self-report survey on the code of silence, education level impact police misconduct, police misconduct results from individual officer attributes, community factors, and organizational factors, media coverage amplifies the issues of police misconduct, and applying social learning theory to police misconduct.

Firstly, according academic journal "Civilianizing the 'blue code'", despite the significance of integrity to officers themselves, police misconduct abundant literature based on research, the culture of , a wide gap of significant knowledge exists in respect to the integrity of police staff and their opinions of misconduct. Having been able to identify such gap a methodology was constructed to develop unique findings that would also build on previous research of policing integrity around the world. This methodology consisted of an unidentified electronic survey distributed to all employees of a police force in northern England. This channel provided the means through which any changes between police staff and police officers could be analysed. The results showed that there were a lot of similarities between police officers and police staff; however, in terms of integrity they both had significantly different opinions. The key discovery of this journal is that police staff are considered stronger advocates of the 'code of silence' due to the fact that they are less likely to report misconduct as compared to officers themselves. The researchers however, provided some explanations as to why this might be the case.

Secondly, according to the academic journal "Police Chiefs' view on police sexual misconduct" the researchers' paid close attention to the factors that influence sexual misconduct by police. To examine this phenomenon twenty police chiefs in a main city area were interviewed about their perceptions of the nature, extent, and causes of police sexual misconduct. According to the responses in the interview police chiefs' claim police sexual misconduct to be a problem. It was stated that while serious/criminal forms of police sexual misconduct, e.g. rape, sexual assault, and sex with a juvenile are rare, they believe the less serious, non-criminal incidents e.g. flirting on duty, consensual sex on duty, and pulling over a driver to get a closer look are more common. The findings revealed four main factors which influences this behaviour: lack of knowledge about PSM, police departments' poor complaint systems, opportunity for sexual misconduct, and most importantly police culture. The researchers went further by suggesting possible methods to control police sexual misconduct and stated that police chiefs and administrators must make a genuine commitment to controlling this problem.

Thirdly, according to Ivcovic (2012) in exploring the code of silence among South African police officers, their 2005 survey from seven provinces of 379 police officers found that a considerable proportion of respondents were ready to protect various forms of police misconduct. Between July 2010 and August 2011 they engaged in the second part of the survey, encompassing from nine South African provinces, 771 police officers. Their findings provided further evidence of the blue wall, the code of silence shading all forms of police misconduct. Approximately quarter of the respondents stated that they would protect a fellow officer who verbally abused citizens, covered up colleagues who drove under the influence and caused an accident, accepted gratuities, and those who failed to respond to graffiti. They stated that at least one out of eight police officers will support their colleagues and cover up any form of misconduct, whether its striking a prisoner, a kickback, a false report on drug possession, and protection of a hate crime. They concluded the respondents' willingness to advocate the code of silence is directly related to whether their co-workers would protect them if any incident of misconduct were to arise.

Fourthly, while Ivcovic's research focused on the colleagues' involvement, Pollock (2008) focused her study of police misconducts on the self- report method. This is because researchers assume that the 'code of silence' is difficult to break even in an unspecified survey. In this study a self-report method was carried out in a police facility in Finland. From a list of 16 possible police misconducts, participants were showed and asked if they knew any police officer who participated in any misconduct in the list or whether they themselves participated in one or more of the misconducts mentioned in the list. The findings indicated that, in this anonymous self-report survey, police officers are clearly willing to report on service misconducts, both by fellow officers and those committed by themselves. Thus, the assumed 'code of silence' does not seem as unbreakable as the literature suggests.

Fifthly, according to Manis (2008), this article focused on the relationship between police officers' education levels, types of degrees, and the type of complaints filed against patrol officers. This was the first study of its kind, it examined the impact of the type of degree; Criminal Justice Degrees versus non-Criminal Justice Degrees earned by police officers and the type of complaint; informal and (or) formal complaints filed against them. This study concluded that there is no significant statistical difference between the different type of degrees earned by police officers in regard to the frequency and type of complaints filed against them by supervisors, colleagues, and citizens.

Sixthly, according to King (2009) in studying police misconduct focus must be placed on three key aspects: attributes of the officer, community factors surrounding the officer, and police organizational factors. It was simply stated that officers who engage in misconduct all share common attributes that was present before becoming officers. These officers are labelled bad apples by society and organization itself. Likewise, king suggested that community factors do contribute to officers' misconduct. One outstanding example of such a situation would be where drug dealers offer police officers money as a form of gratitude for not arresting them and busting their drug block. These criminals who influences the officers are referred to as bad orchards, according to the researcher. King used the organizational correlation create solutions to misconduct. His first suggestion was to create rules, his second was to create surveillance to detect misconduct and by extension punish them, and lastly he suggested the dismantling of the blue wall of silence.

Seventhly, according to Graziano (2010) it is important to examine whether media influences public opinion about police misconduct. Exposing a video clip of reflexion on the incident of residents' beliefs about the causes of profiling. The majority white and minority black, were not convinced that Chicago police officers refrain from engaged in profiling after the incident shown in the video. These findings suggested that attitudes towards the occurrence of racial profiling are susceptible to the manner in which the media projects incidents of police misconduct. Exposure to the video clip was not related to differences in residents' beliefs about the causes of profiling, but was related to differences in perceptions of the dangerousness of traffic stops. The findings highlight the need for more research on how media constructions of police misconduct influence attitudes about profiling and impact community-police relations.

Last but not least, according to Chappell (2004) a study must be done to determine if Akers' social learning theory could explain police misconduct. Using a random sample of Philadelphia police officers data was collected, they examined the impact of social learning theory on citizen complaints about police misconduct. Three key factors were discovered from their investigations. First, accepting gifts from citizens or from businesses is considered by this survey sample to be normal and not suggestive of serious forms of misconduct. Second, officers' attitudes towards using excessive force were linked to citizen complaints, rather than attitudes about theft or accepting gifts. Third, officers anticipated that punishment would be greater for theft rather than for using force. But, variables related to excessive use of force were the most consistent predictors of citizen complaints. All in all, the results of this study indicate that Akers' theoretical framework may provide a useful theoretical lens through which one can view the problem of police misconduct.

To conclude, police misconduct has many different aspect of study. In this review