Police corruption can be minimised but will never go away.

Essay by NarinUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2005

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Police corruption has become the topic of much public controversy in recent times mainly due to the heightened level of journalistic coverage afforded to the phenomenon. Documented cases of police corruption, however, have been around for over a century. These reports have extended the world over. In the United States, for example, police corruption has been tied in with illicit drug enterprises from as far back in history as 1890. The level of corruption varied from one jurisdiction or district to another, with criminal organisations implanting themselves in the more debauched precincts. In the middle of the twentieth century, US federal law made police officers more accountable for their behaviour. Unfortunately, there has been a perceived regression in police accountability with a recent US Supreme Court ruling holding that officers would only be held responsible for causing innocent deaths if their actions were grossly negligent and preceded with intent.

Following the July 7 bombings this year, the British parliament passed legislation endowing officers of the law with powers even greater than that of their counterparts in the US. This is the changing face of law enforcement globally in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and London. Such are the policy changes during any time of intensified crisis - but increased power is always a double-edged sword and it is up to the police themselves and public representatives to provide a shield against the perpetual battle against corruption.

At the outset, however, it is important to recognise a definition of police corruption. Simply put, it is the misuse of public authority for personal profit. More specifically, a corrupt undertaking consists of an abuse of authority coupled with an exploitation of official capacity and personal attainment (Dantzker, 1995). Aberrations in police behaviour can include, but is not limited...