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Essay on Police Corruption

The primary objectives of police are to honor and safeguard property and life, protect the rights and freedoms of every person in the jurisdiction of the state, and maintain security and peace. To attain the goals, the police must interact with the observers and society to accomplish law as stated by the constitution of the United States of America. The interaction between the police and society should be guided by professional and ethical principles that promote the effective development of police work. However, police face a challenge in upholding commitment and integrity to maintain the credibility deposited by the citizens. They eventually violate work ethics, which negatively affects the public perception of security. Police participation in corruption affects their image and loses citizens” trust in their duties.

Police corruption is the primary threat to security organizations since it relates to work ethics. The root of police corruption is that individuals or organizations bribe the police to work in their favor in secrecy (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). These acts create a feeling of fear and insecurity among citizens and disrupt the moral principles and the institutional image of the police. Police corruption affects individual rights, public order, and crime control.

Effects of police corruption on individual rights and due process

According to the Human Rights Committee, it is the right of every individual to be treated equally without discrimination (Tankebe, 2010). In a court of law, the defendant has the right to prove innocence through a criminal trial and due prose. However, when police corruption is involved, individual law is violated, and due process is interrupted to favor the corrupt. Police corruption intrinsically excludes, distinguishes, and restricts fairness and equality. It nullifies and impairs the equal recognition exercise and enjoyment of human rights (Tankebe, 2010).

The right to be treated equally is among the significant human rights in all human rights treaties. Despite your race, ethnicity, sex, or gender, everyone should be treated equally by the state. Being corrupt is discriminatory and against the set laws and work ethics of police. Being corrupt police nullifies and impairs all people’s enjoyment, recognition, and exercise on an equal and fair footing of individual rights and freedom (Schmalleger, 2010). Therefore, it is considered an abuse of power for personal gain and to violate the law and judge in favor of the corrupt.

For instance, when the police are bribed to cover a murder case for an individual, the solid, legally obtained evidence to prove someone was killed in cold blood is likely to disappear in favor of the corrupt person, mostly the suspect. When such incidents happen, someone’s right to a fair trial and the rule of law is violated. The effects of breaching such rights are particularly grave when the target individual comes from a marginalized group such as irregular immigrants, indigenous groups, social minorities, or sexual minorities (Tankebe, 2010). The due process will have been disrupted, and faulty judgment will be made in favor of the guilty. An innocent person is likely to go to jail and suffer disproportionately from such incidences of human rights violations because their position in the corrupt society makes them vulnerable targets of corruption, and they cannot afford the cost of bribing.

Effects of police corruption on public order and crime control

The impacts of police corruption on public order and crime control are far-reaching. Having a corrupt police department compromises law’s order and basic function, making the punishment and prevention of law violation and human rights challenging to the state (Schmalleger, 2010). Corrupt police cause public mistrust of the police, making it hard to be trusted by the public and complex for them to perform their duties effectively, preventing crimes and offering protection to human rights. The institutional legitimacy and integrity of the police department are also at stake when the policing system becomes corrupt (Schmalleger, 2010). Therefore, for the public to respect the law and honor police services, there needs to be profound confidence that the police are following the law and that, whenever applying the law, they treat everyone equally as per the law and the demands of their work ethics. Failure to adhere to the law and participating in corruption will cause an increase in crime rates and weaken the ethical standards of the community and policing system. Suppose the public will perceive the policing system as the one breaking the law, and they are benefiting from the corrupt acts (Schmalleger, 2010). In that case, they are likely to lower their moral standards and be more willing to participate in criminal behaviors.

The quality of police service offered to society is also directly proportional to the number of street crimes. A corrupt police officer is equal to an absent police officer from work (Bayley & Perito, 2011). The quality of services offered by corrupt police officers is poor. A corrupt officer works for money, not to honor the work ethics and duty. Therefore, whenever a crime happens, and they are bribed, they will directly or indirectly serve in favor of those who have given a bribe. They will subtract evidence from the crime scene and omit critical information for the prosecution of the offender. Such actions give criminals the freedom to commit more crimes as long as they have enough resources to bribe the police and serve in their favor. Corrupt police will bargain with criminals, accept gratuities, take kickbacks, and fix traffic tickets to permit vices such as prostitution, gambling, illegal drinking, and the use of drugs in society (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). Such actions will cause an increase in crime rates within society and undermine public confidence in the police, harm police morale, undermine police discipline, and destroy respect for the law (Schmalleger, 2010). Therefore, an increase in police corruption increases the rate of crimes.

Controlling police corruption

Several analysts have warned that despite the many strategies used to curb police corruption, nothing has proven to be effective enough to curb police corruption (Rosen & Kassab, 2019). Police corruption is a complex problem in the United States, and therefore, it needs multi-faceted solutions. Although not all police are corrupt, most of them are corrupt. Therefore, most of these strategies for controlling police corruption should start with the social and political realities and the characteristic of the local police instead of implementing a “one size fits all” approach (Schmalleger, 2010). Strategies such as political and leadership will can play a significant role in eradicating police corruption. Although the political will is not hundred percent perfect, it is necessary to make a struggle to eradicate some police behaviors. It is a long-term approach that can significantly help contain and reduce corruption among police. According to Punch (2000), leadership and political will can be a successful struggle in eradicating some instances of police misconduct since it is an ongoing approach. Establishing a political will is a reliable strategy in police reforms since fighting corruption may challenge powerful vested interests that are likely to resist reforms. The political will strategy has proven to be reliable in Hong Kong and Singapore due to the strong political will of their leaders in reducing police corruption.

Article 18 of the United States Constitution states that public servants are responsible for any break of law or breach of the constitution if they ignore their duty or overstep their function (Punch, 2000). Similarly, the current Judicial Code states that every public servant who, in their line of duty, discovers that a crime has been committed in their area of operation they are supposed to provide every relevant data that is denounced and conducive to the appropriate authority, for the prosecution of the offender(s) (Punch, 2000). Police are this category of public servants, and therefore, they are expected to report to the corresponding authority or superiors any information regarding lawbreakers. They should also report their workmates who participate in a criminal offense or violate any of the provisions in the Code of Ethics.

Legislators should also reevaluate laws that create loopholes for police misconduct. The reassessments should be based on the recognition that the primary portion of police misconduct is promoted by laws that illegalize prostitution, the use of illegal drugs, and gambling (Punch, 2000). Therefore, legislators should decriminalize victimless crimes by legalizing and regulating them. Police corruption is a crime. Accordingly, corrupt police officers should be prosecuted. The United States government should promote the anti-corruption campaign through a culture of transparency and integrity against corruption in the public sector.


Police should adhere to their duties of maintaining law and order and stop accepting bribes and rewards regarding how they will operate. They should always adhere to the Code of Ethics and work according to what has been established by law. Any police misconduct should be met with strict punishment to enhance the making of objective decisions based on the code of conduct, ethics, and law.


Bayley, D. H., & Perito, R. (2011). Police Corruption: U.S. Institute of Peace.

Punch, M. (2000). Police corruption and its prevention. European journal on criminal policy and research, 8(3), 301-324.

Rosen, J. D., & Kassab, H. S. (2019). The fragile States, Corruption, and Crime. In Drugs, Gangs, and Violence (pp. 37-56). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Schmalleger, F. (2010). Criminal justice: A brief introduction. Pearson/Prentice Hall

Tankebe, J. (2010). Public confidence in the police: Testing the effects of public experiences of police corruption in the U.S. The British Journal of Criminology, 50(2), 296-319.


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