Police Corruption


Police officers have access to the private lives of individuals in a community. The access granted comes with an expectation that citizens will trust in them, and the police officers will reasonably conduct themselves within their duties (Echanzu, 2012).In instances where  by cases such as corruption mishandle trust, the officers are subjected to the law enforcement agencies that punish them. Different aspects motivate corruption cases among police officers that need to be addressed.

Aspects that Motivate Police Corruption

Corruption in public officials is considered that in cases of pure greed, police officers usually are tempted to take part in the actions. Police officers are in most cases caused by society, influences from departments and disposition within individuals at work. Therefore, actions taken up by behavioral control determine the conducts of a police officer (Rose-Ackerman, 2016). Police can be considered to be of misconduct through the breaking of the law and victimization of citizens of a country. Misconduct is at this moment referred to as improper behavior within the actions of individual or intentional engagements of wrongdoings. Corruption among police officers is thus misconduct that damages the professional integrity of a police officer and ruining trust within the community.

Acts committed in the law enforcement agencies includes taking of bribes, stealing from the citizens, accepting of gratuities in exchange for favors and harming of innocent individuals. The behaviors are categorized as acts that undermine the law enforced. Additionally, the actions are a form of betrayal to the trust that police officers are usually given in guarding their safety. Corruption among police officers is, therefore, is misconduct that permeates to different levels of society.  Some officers can engage in malpractices without acting together within the random groups.

On the other hand, organized misconducts exist in instances where police officers get themselves a leader who controls them.  Through controlling powers, the leader influences illegal activities among the group members.  The group activities initiate a level of corruption that infests on the agency creating difficult times within the departments with the community exposed to sufferings and the safety of honest officers being compromised.

Police officers get involved with corruption cases depending on their character which is inbuilt in them.  Characters can be used to anticipate misconducts within individuals thereby being considered essential in helping to identify the potential of an officer committing them. Characters come up in four different types; bad character, uncontrolled character, self-control character, and excellent characters.  Bad character refers to a person can afford to take an opportunity to victimize a person for personal gains while uncontrolled character focuses on a person allowing their desires to outweigh them of their senses on good and bad.  On the other hand, the self-controlled character is when an individual has a sense of identifying right and wrong with the ability to resist any misbehavior. Lastly, an excellent character defines a person with high moral standards that shape them in different aspects of life.

Corruption Is an act of bribery that involves violation of the law and the rules and norms of the society.  Corruption can be considered to either be internal or external.  Internal corruption occurs within agreements that take place between police officers which impact changes within the administration. External corruption, on the other hand, involves acts that engage the public with arrangements made between the police officers and the public. The engagement of external corruption engages the actions of using payoffs administered to officers regarding criminal acts such as payment of bribes for the violation of the law and police officers paying off to earn special offers. It is at this moment arguably that power leads to corruption as the practices reach out to all the professions.

Police corruption is typically  misconduct that seeks to the obtaining of financial benefits with gains in exchange for arrests on criminal cases to be made. Accepting of bribes is common in exchange for illegal actions committed that violate the law.  It happens in cases such as police officers taking bribes to cover up for victims caught with illicit drugs (Punch, 2000). The victims get to free themselves from facing the law enforcement agencies by offering to bribe the officers to let them walk away free which is an offense.  The officers deliberately participate in the crimes by themselves through allowing criminals to go unpunished for their misconducts and taking of bribes which work against the integrity of their profession.

General factors that cause corruption includes; intrinsic nature of police jobs,  nature of police cultures, nature of police departments, presentation of corruption opportunities and corruption control measures put in place. The nature of police jobs determines their engagement in corruption depending on how they conduct themselves.  In cases where environmental factors do not favor the police officers such as low income, the officers are tempted to seek alternative ways of getting extra money for their sustenance. Most officers take part in the taking of bribes to benefit from accessing personal gains that will enhance their living standards. Depending on how police departments handle the needs of the officers, they influence them to take part in corruption activities. Police officers can at times want to have access to specialized treatment based on how they are managed. A police department that mistreats the officers with the use of unfavorable measures subjected to them make them participate is misconducts to gain favors of proper treatment.

The nature of police culture influences police officers to get involved in corruption. Different departments motivate corruption by the policies they use and how they conduct themselves. In cases where the police departments are strict on corruption cases discourages officers from taking part in them as they acknowledge that they put both their jobs and lives at risks of law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, departments that are reluctant to handle measures in curbing the issue tends to support them thereby encouraging the police officers to do it bearing in mind the management does not consider it as a serious offense.  Officers at this moment engaged in corrupt practices by looking at the costs they pay for being corrupt (Prezler, 2009).

Police departments can motivate police corruption depending on how they organize themselves.  Departments must ensure that they operate with integrity and observe the laws that abide by their jobs. Police officers under departments that acknowledge their legal duties, function concerning their jobs by being responsible in their actions.  Through the functional units creating job satisfaction among the officers with sensitization of the need of respecting the trust they have been given by citizens, motivates them to work for the common good of the nation. Issues of corruption in the departments can only be sustained with the tolerance of unethical practices and lack of leadership that accounts for the effective performance of duties. Weak leadership and administration with lack of supervision encourage officers to become corrupt in their jobs.

Presentation of corruption opportunities determines how police officers handle them. Societal factors on cases such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy levels influence conditions that the officers take advantage of. In a scenario where the citizens are illiterate and not aware of their civil rights on how to handle different matters makes them disadvantaged from being subjected to harsh practices by police officers. Due to poverty levels, individuals opt to give out bribes to evade themselves costs of paying for fines in courts.  Unemployment is an issue that many citizens can render some of them to offer payment of bribes to have special favors on job employments granted to them.

Finally, corruption control measures influence how police officers engage in corrupt deeds. Activities of training encourage officers to acknowledge their duties and how to maintain integrity and honesty in their day to day operations. Similarly, recruitment and selection activities determine the types of officials’ appointment to service citizens of a nation. The selection process by following the right procedures reaches out to credible officers with good records on their job performances.  The police departments should at this moment come up with control measures that curb corruption cases. Encouraging the use of reliable systems to account for corrupt officials will help minimize the issue. In addition to that police officers strive to remain patriots within systems that favor operational duties with consistency to their needs. The use of weak systems encourages police corruption through access to loopholes in the work environment that tempts them.  Corrupt behaviors are contributed by lack of control measures that will prevent the occurrence of the actions.


With the existing issues of corruption cases in police departments, there’s a need for instant control and implementation of control measures to curb the problem.  Application of control measures to detect and investigate corruption cases will help in monitoring and cultivating of a culture that will not tolerate corruption. Establishment of Anti-corruption bodies by governments to monitor police departments will be a step towards the elimination of cases of bribery happening today.


Echazu, L. (2012). Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability, and Reform in Policing.

Rose-Ackerman, S., & Palifka, B. J. (2016). Corruption and government: Causes, consequences, and reform. Cambridge university press.

Punch, M. (2000). Police corruption and its prevention. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 8(3), 301-324.

Prenzler, T. (2009). Police corruption: Preventing misconduct and maintaining integrity. CRC Press.