Corruption and Integrity in the British Police

Louise Westmarland, The Open University

ABSTRACT
This paper presents the findings from a survey of British police officers who were asked about their attitudes towards police corruption, unethical behaviour and minor violations of police rules. It reveals that officers regard certain actions, such as those involving the acquisition of goods or money as much worse than behaviour involving unnecessary brutality or bending of the rules in order to protect colleagues from criminal proceedings. It also reveals that officers who responded to the survey are relatively unwilling to report misdemeanours by colleagues unless there is some sort of acquisitive motive or outcome predicted. Overall the findings confirm the 'blue code' and 'Dirty Harry' assumptions about police misconduct but also provide an initial study of a small sample (n=275) that point to the value of further investigation.

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Updated 05/20/2006