Accountability and Policing


Accountabilityand Policing

Accountabilityand Policing

Thegreat majority of persons engaged in policing depict commitmenttowards honorable and capable public service. They constantly portraygreat standards of individual and procedural integrity in conductingtheir roles. This is because they work under an organizationalculture that mandates accountability from every police officer. Clearand comprehensible guidelines and rules define an organization’sculture, surfacing the issue of organizational culture of integrity.Integrity regards to the total of good qualities needed in bringingforth the overall objectives of defense and public service. Anorganizational culture of integrity comprises numerous aspects. Theadvancement and maintenance of such a culture cannot be theresponsibility of police management alone. The argument is made inreference to three topics. These are the moral significance of policework, managing corruption and off duty behavior of police higherstandard for police personal when off duty.

TheMoral Significance of Police Work

Anorganizational culture of integrity entails the guidelines on what ismorally correct and incorrect for police work. This means, it guidesthe actions officers take when in operation. Officers learn how toassess the graveness of several kinds of misconduct throughobservation of their department’s conduct in detection anddiscipline of the misconduct. In case undocumented policy differs todocumented policy, the ensuing confusion reduces an agency’sgeneral integrity improving attempts (NationalInstitute of Justice,2005). Being moral refers to making appropriate decisions amid whatis right and wrong. It applies to both the individual andorganization, thus advancement and preservation of an organizationalculture of integrity is the duty of police management, as well asindividual officers (NationalInstitute of Justice,2005).

Inreference to the policing duty, a civilian cannot expect the officerto work just lawfully. They ought to act morally as well. The lack ofmoral significance implies that policing becomes inefficient andintolerable in a free community. Police officers exercise moralalternatives, referred to professional judgment on a daily basis intheir decision to detain or not (Cohen &amp Feldberg, 1991). Theappropriate employment of the judgment mandates police to be learnedand properly skilled to make concrete and professional decisions whenon duty. The decision comprise various factors, like the complexityof the crime, if an arrest will assist in resolving the misconduct,the presence of competing precedence for police resources, thepresence of lawful alternatives, or consideration that the misconductmight have been an honest error, thus warning and release is served.An additional illustration includes the decision to employ force whenmaking arrests (Cohen &amp Feldberg, 1991).

Insuch situations, integrity is integral in settling on what decisionsto make when misconduct arises. The development and upholding of anorganizational culture of integrity will require the efforts of bothpolice management and the individual. This is because everyorganization has rules that direct conduct and response tomisconduct. However, the organization also realizes that the policeofficer acts on personal thinking at times. For instance, whendeciding to arrest or not, the organizational culture is clear onwhen arrests should be made. The officer, aware of the culture,decides on when to arrest. An officer that lacks integrity may notact morally in their arrest even when expected by theirorganizational culture of integrity (NationalInstitute of Justice,2005).

Anintegrity culture may realize the lawful and moral obligation toemploy force reasonably. In such conditions, the officer realizesthat preserving human life is a major societal value. Whereas thepolice might lawfully employ force in several circumstances, likearresting any individual escaping from a grave offence, they opt torestrict themselves. This is achieved through setting an apparentdifference amid what they are capable of doing against what they willdo (Cohen &amp Feldberg, 1991). By so doing, the police officermakes a moral verdict to just apply force when life is threatened.The moral significance of police achieves more than lawful complianceand tackles the important and extra actions formulated to enhancetheir relations and efficiency in society.

Themoral requirements of a police organization ought to be tackled intheir vision and mission statements. A department might announcetheir commitment to being open to the society and take part incollaborative and team-founded leadership. A mission statementdescribes the manner police desire to work with the society (Cohen &ampFeldberg, 1991). If they declare they are geared to solving societychallenges, being partial and efficient, and progressively enhancingwhat they do, civilians expect the conduct. Vision and mission arenot legal organization requirements. However, police managementrealizes their effectiveness in enhancing integrity in policing.


Policecorruption is an actual challenge in most nations in the globe, wherepolice are viewed as amid the most corrupt organizations. Policecorruption is mostly blamed on the personal traits of policeofficers. It is supposed that officers are engaged in corruption dueto low moral values. When the corruption becomes public, policeadministrators resort to sacking the corrupt individual. However, itis necessary for police administrators to realize the associationamid organizational culture and corruption (Martin, 2011). Thus,concentrate on the function of culture in generally influencing theconduct of persons in the police organization. Organizational culturecan have a positive or negative effect on the manner police staffconduct their duties. Police corruption cannot prevail withoutinherent recognition by the policing administrators. The culturalimpact on police misdemeanor and deviant conduct is based on theextreme to which the organization endures and endorses suchmisconduct. Regrettably, corruption that progresses in anorganization without question from managers easily forms anatmosphere of eroding integrity amid subordinates (Martin, 2011).

Themanagement of corruption is driven by the organization’s culture.It is the duty of police management to develop and maintain anorganizational culture of integrity. The culture would entail severalconditions, which are the traits officers ought to acquire in havingintegrity. These include prudence, the capability to differentiateamid differing virtues and settle on the most appropriate action totake (Martin, 2011). An organization founded on trust, which isnecessary in associations amid officers and civilians, colleagues andseniors. Eradication of self-interest is an important trait thatguides the actions of officers. Without eradication of self-interestin policing, it is possible for officers to exploit their power inenhancing themselves (Martin, 2011). The organizational cultureshould also emphasize on responsibility. It involves a clearcomprehension of what is right and taking responsibility in place offinding excuses for errors made.

Policemanagement comprises an essential section of police work, and theleaders of an organization hold the eventual accountability for itslimitations. Equally, management greatly influences the triumph of agroup (McCormack, 1990). Thus, leaders have an important impact inavoiding corruption. By working towards the objectives of adepartment, the top executives play a fundamental function increating the organizational climate. Those that endeavor at ensuringa great standard of ethical behavior can act as the means to avoidcorruption and ensure the public’s trust. An upright managementdoes not act to safeguard their individual egos, attempt to put up aperfect appearance with no substance in their endeavors, orintimidate those under their leadership (McCormack, 1990). Rather,principled leaders work with their colleagues on measures to createan organizational culture through advancing an agenda, which explainsthe moral objectives of the organization.

Althoughpolice management plays a crucial role in creating the generalclimate of the organization, they cannot make sure that great levelsof integrity are ensured on their own. Thus, management of corruptionrequires effort from both management and officers. The probabilityprevails that regardless of how thorough management is in managingcorruption, lower level police officers cannot ensure that an officeracts with integrity. The proportion of supervisors to officers is toolow to permit for close insight (McCormack, 1990). In policing,leadership is not merely described through rank. Rather, all officersare required to demonstrate some level of leadership, since they workunsupervised most of the time. Officers get training and a hugequantity of rules and regulations, with the expectation that theywork within the principles (Domoro &amp Agil, 2012). Management israrely engaged except in instances where an officer or a graveincident, mandates their reaction. Thus, despite being the functionof police management to manage corruption through creating anorganizational culture of integrity, other organizational members, aswell, should make certain that the standard of integrity is ensured,through personal ethics (Domoro &amp Agil, 2012).

OffDuty Behavior of Police Higher Standard for Police Personal when offDuty

Policemanagement is responsible for the development and upholding of anorganizational culture of integrity (Kaptein &amp Reenen, 2001).This specifically applies when officers are on duty and under thesupervision of their leaders. However, when off duty it is notpossible for police management to ensure that officers act withintegrity. This is because they are not under their leader’ssupervision. Thus, off duty conduct of police depends on individualintegrity and not the organizational culture of integrity (Kaptein &ampReenen, 2001). The extreme, to which a supervisor can lawfully aim tocontrol the off-duty behavior of officers, and take action inreaction to violations of law, relies on several aspects. If policeofficers do not work under a union, the employer is directed by theguidelines of the common master servant rule (Kaptein &amp Reenen,2001).

Whereofficers are unionized, the extreme and situations under which theworker can restrict behavior and discipline workers will normally berestricted through the terms of a general consent (Robinson, 2004).Such terms will usually triumph over the overall guidelines of thecommon rule, since they are handled as the expression of the commonwill of the workers and employer. Because all officers work undergeneral state supervision, then it is expected that off dutyofficers’ conduct themselves in manners align to the organizationalculture of integrity (Robinson, 2004). It calls for dedicatedpersonal effort from the police officers in making sure that they actwith integrity. When off duty, officers are not assigned to anyroles. However, it does not imply that they should not conductthemselves in manners that fail to demonstrate integrity to theirservice. It also implies that in case a crime occurred while on duty,the officers are capable of handling the misconduct in the similarmanner they would while on duty (Robinson, 2004).

Anorganizational culture of integrity when off duty entails the similarstipulations as those of officers on duty. The disparity is thatofficers on duty are under supervision, while those off duty are notsupervised (Prenzler &amp Ransley, 2002). The organizational culturefor off duty officers involves representation of the police force inmanners that are ethical. Officers should not engage in misdemeanor,especially with the public, which erodes the integrity of the entiresystem (Prenzler &amp Ransley, 2002). The community is aware of theofficers that serve them. Even though, officers off duty may not beunder observation from their supervisors, society closely observestheir conduct. This means that integrity in this case is not drivenby organizational culture, rather personal ethics (Prenzler &ampRansley, 2002). It is impossible to develop and maintain a culturethrough mere reliance on police management. Personal ethics alsoplays a crucial role, as discussed.


Integrityis important in policing. The organization serves public needs andmust constantly demonstrate adherence to the laws it advocates. Anorganizational culture of integrity is more effective compared toindividual ethics. Police management ensures that all individualsadhere to set guidelines. The organizational culture of integritycomprises of rules police officer should follow and characteristicsinherent in them. It also includes the vision and mission ofpolicing. However, the advancement and upholding of such a culture isnot the entire role of police management. Officers require personalethics in ensuring that they act with integrity. The moralimportances of police work, managing corruption and off duty policeconduct are topics that demonstrate how police management andpersonal ethics result in an organizational culture of integrity.


Cohen,H. S &amp Feldberg, M. (1991). Powerand Restraint: The Moral Dimension of Police Work. New York: Praeger.

Domoro,O &amp Agil, S O. (2012). The Influence of Organizational Culture onPolice Corruption. Journalof Business and Management,2(5), 33-38.

Kaptein,M &amp Reenen, P. V. (2001). Integrity management of policeorganizations. An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management,24 (3), 281-300.

Martin,R. (2011). Police Corruption. An Analytical Look into Police Ethics.FBILaw Enforcement Bulletin,1-1.

McCormack,R. (1990). AnUpdate in Managing Police Corruption: International Perspectives. Chicago: Office of International Criminal Justice.

NationalInstitute of Justice.(2005). Enhancing Police Integrity, 1-16.

Prenzler,T., &amp Ransley, J. (2002). Policereform: Building integrity.Annandale, NSW: Hawkins Press.

Robinson,P. (2004). Shared Responsibility: The Next Step in ProfessionalEthics. ThePolice Chief,71(8).