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European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 301–324 | Cite as

Police Corruption and its Prevention

  • Maurice Punch
Article

Abstract

This article has two themes. Firstly, that police corruption is not an individual aberration of an incidental nature that can be readily combated with temporary, repressive measures. The 'new realism' on this maintains that corruption and police misconduct are persistent and constantly recurring hazards generated by the organisation itself. Secondly, there is consensus on effective measures to tackle it and to promote integrity. Ingredients are strong leadership, a multi-faceted organisational strategy, a well-resourced internal affairs unit, proactive techniques of investigation, and persistent efforts to promote professional standards. The essence is a judicious and sophisticated balance between negative and positive social control. Policing is about the rule of law and due process: corruption and other forms of police deviance undermine the legitimacy of the police organisation and by implication the state. A 'clean' police is a crucial barometer of a healthy society. One can have few illusions about the difficulty of achieving this but a comparative review of the experience in four societies - USA, Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands - provides clear indicators about reform, control and leadership in fostering integrity and in tackling corruption.

control corruption discipline integrity leadership reform 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurice Punch
    • 1
  1. 1.Mannheim Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, London School of Economics and Department of SociologyUniversity of EssexAmstelveenNetherlands

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