You are on page 1of 13


Concept of corruption.........................................................Page-02
Defining police corruption...................................................Page-02
Dimension of police corruption...........................................Page-03
Nature and Scope of Police Corruption................................Page-05
Causes of Police Corruption................................................Page-08
Recommendations For Combating Police Corruption...........Page-10
References.......................................................................... Page-13

Concept of Corruption
The word Corruption comes from the Latin verb corrupts which literally means a broken
object . Conceptually, Corruption is a form of behavior , which depart from ethics, morality,
tradition, laws and civil virtue.
Corruption has recently been the subject of substantial theorizing and empirical research, and this
has produced a bewildering array of alternative approaches, explanations, typologies and
remedies. Corruption is understood as everything from the paying of bribes to civil servants and
the simple theft of public purses, to a wide range of dubious economic and political practices in
which businesspeople, politicians and bureaucrats enrich themselves. The issue of corruption is
an old one, that has re-entered the current political and economic debate from the new interest in
the role of the state in the developing world, and from the assumption that the state is an
indispensable instrument for economic development, redistribution and welfare.
Police corruption is a specific form of police misconduct designed to obtain financial benefits,
other personal gain, or career advancement for a police officer or officers in exchange for not
pursuing, or selectively pursuing, an investigation or arrest.
Historically, police corruption has been a persisting, serious, and in some cases, pervasive,
feature of police services. Corruption can be seen as a kind of occupational hazard for police,
with the nature of police work offering an unusually large number of opportunities for corrupt
behavior. Moreover, features of police organization have acted to undermine the disposition to
decline such opportunities. Reducing police corruption requires the development of integrity
systems for police services, which function to minimize the attractiveness of corrupt behavior
and reinforce and develop the disposition to act in a morally upright manner.
Defining police corruption
Corruption is a process of subversion or corrosion of a non-corrupt, pure or ideal state of affairs.
Police corruption, then, refers in the first instance to acts which undermine the proper
functioning of a police service (and perhaps more broadly of the criminal justice system) and,
derivatively, of the moral character of the police who engage in it.
One term closely related to deviance is corruption, also known as graft.

According to McCarthy (1996), this practice includes the intentional violation of

organizational norms (i.e., rules and regulations) by public employees for personal material
gain (p. 231).
Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain (Rovert Klitgaard )
UNDP Source Book on Accountability, Transparency and Integrity define corruptions asCorruption= (Monopoly + Discretion)-(Accoutability+Integrity+Transfarency)

Punch (1985) broadens this definition in two ways.

He defines corruption as occurring:
When an official receives or is promised significant advantage or reward (personal, groups or
organizational) for doing something that he is under a duty not to do, for exercising a legitimate
discretion for improper reasons and for employing illegal means to achieve approved goals
(Noble cause corruption).
Goldstain (1977)
Corruption is designed to produce personal gain for the officer or others.
Kleining (1996:166)
Police officers act corruptly when in exercising or failing to exercise their authority, they act with
the primary intention of furthering private or department/ divisional advantage.
Most police departments have members who commit corrupt acts from time to time. Only some
police departments, however, become corrupt police departments. (Sherman)
Police corruption, the second subcategory of occupational deviancy, involves overt criminal
activity by police officers. This includes committing crimes like theft or robbery, selling drugs,
or taking money or something of value to not enforce the law (Roberg and Kuykendall, 1993, p.
Dimension of police corruption



Corruption is a common phenomenon of any society.

Like any other governmental machinery Police is not devoid of corruption.
Legal authority and power allow Police personnel to do corruption.
Like BTTB, RHD, PWD/LGED, Health Sector, Forest Sector, Judiciary/Magistracy, Police
have become synonym of corruption.



Laws have empowered Police to arrest people.

Arrest with or without warrant legal coverage for both types.
By twisting law Police can abuse the power of arrest.
Based on Police report, the course of trial is usually set the fate of a criminal/innocent is
thus determined.
Criminals to avoid punishment/innocent to avoid harassment invite/allow Police to do


Core job of Police Protecting the innocent and bringing the criminals to justice.
Ethical values honesty, strict adherence to laws, professionalism and service attitude.
Need for money, wealth and security ethical values are discarded.
Where ethical practices are weak, corruption becomes strong.
A society where ethical values are fragile, corruptions spreads like epidemic.


Bureaucratic structure of Police organization allows its members to do corruption.

Government organizations like Police always have some level of corruption.

An entire organization cannot be manned by saints . While there are broadly accepted paradigm cases

of police corruption, such as accepting bribes for overlooking criminal behavior, or even
engaging in such behavior, there is less consensus about how to define police corruption.
Accounts of police corruption tend to splinter along two lines.
Firstly, there are differences about the role of police, and hence of the ideal which provides the
contrast against which police corruption is identified. Those differences stems from the wide
range of activities that police engage in from collecting fees on behalf of government
departments, and informing people of the death of a family member in an accident, to arresting
suspected criminals and testifying in court and the variety of purposes they appear to have in
doing so including enforcing the law, saving lives, maintaining social calm, and protecting
peoples rights. Some theories of policing have it that the primary function of police is to enforce
the law; others that it is to protect rights; others again that it is to use force, or the threat of force,

to deal with emergencies that no-one else can handle. Since different theories of policing give
different accounts of what an ideal police service looks like, they will also differ, at least to some
extent, about what counts as police corruption. Nevertheless, while not all theories hold that the
defining purpose of policing is the enforcement of law, there is general agreement that police, at
least in legitimate states, are servants of the law, and that behavior which conflicts with that role
is, at least potentially, corrupt.
Secondly, there are disagreements about what might be called the scope of police corruption. Not
every act which detracts from the effective functioning of a police service counts as police
corruption. Consider an ill-advised decision by police management to make use of the (in itself
legitimate) strategy of saturation policing in a crime-ridden area which exacerbates existing
antagonism towards police by racial minorities, leading to riots and greater lawlessness. The
decision makes the police service less effective than it should have been, but is not an instance of
corruption. It is necessary, then, to find a definition of police corruption which is not unduly
broad. On a relatively narrow construal, police corruption simply consists of misuse by police of
their position to gain personal advantage. This construal still allows for differences about which
behaviors are corrupt. Some who hold this view consider that unlawful or unethical behavior
should only be considered corrupt if it is motivated by the desire for personal gain, whether or
not a benefit is actually received; others think that corrupt activity is identified by its outcome
corrupt activity produces a private benefit for a police officer, (or is an instance of a kind of
activity that tends to produce such an outcome). There are also differences about what kind of
benefit counts: for some, it is money or moneys worth (such as free food or liquor); others hold
that it may also be other kinds of goods, such as career advancement.

Nature and Scope of Police Corruption

In 1972, the Knapp Commission issued a report on corruption in the New York City Police
Department. Two types of corrupt officers were identified:
a) Grass eaters
b) Meat eaters
Grass eaters:
The officers who occasionally engaged in illegal or unethical activities, such as accepting small
favors, money, or gifts for ignoring violations of the law during the course of their duties.
Meat eaters:
The police officers who aggressively misuse their police powers for personal gain. For example:
they would solicit bribes, commit burglaries, or manufacture false evidence for a prosecution.


Forms of corruption:Bribery: Bribery is the bestowing of a benefit in order to unduly influence an action or decision.
It can be initiated by a person who seeks bribes or by a person who offers and pays brides. Active
bribery refers to the offering or paying of the bribe, while passive bribery refers to the receiving
of the bride. The benefit can be virtually any inducement, such as money, company shares,
inside information, entertainment and employment of the mere promise of incentive . The benefits
gained can be direct or indirect. It can be described as indirect gains when the benefits flow e.g.
to a friend, family, private business, campaign funds or political Parties.
Embezzlement and Fraud: These offences involve the taking or conversion of money, property
or valuable items by an individual who is not entitled to them but, by virtue of his or her position
or employment, has access to them. Employment-related equipment, such as motor vehicles, may
be used for private purposes. Those offences do not include theft per se but only situation
involving a public official or where the public interest is crucially affected.
Extortion: Extortion relies on coercion, such as the use or threat of violence or the exposure of
damaging information, to induce cooperation. Extortion can be committed by government
officials but they can also be victims of it. An example of extortion is when police officers
threaten to arrest people to extract money from them.
A conflict of interests: It arises when a person, often a public sector employee or official, is
influenced by personal considerations when doing his or her job. Thus, decisions are made for
the wrong reasons. This kind of corruption involves, for example, engaging in transactions,
selling influence, or acquiring a position that is incompatible with ones official duties for the
purpose of illegal enrichment. An example of this kind of corruption is when a public official,
who has access to secret information, uses the information to take decisions concerning personal
Favoritism, Nepotism and Cronyism: Favoritism is a general term used to describe use of
power to make decisions on the basis of personal relations rather then on objective grounds.
There are several forms of favoritism. Among the most commonly cited are nepotism and
cronyism. Nepotism applies to a situation in which a person uses his or her public power to
obtain a favor for a member of his or her family. Cronyism is a broader term than nepotism, and
covers situations where preferences are given to friends and colleagues and favoured political
supporters. These two kinds of corruption, nepotism and cronyism, can easily overlap.
Political Corruption: Political corruption is the abuse of entrusted power by political leaders
for private gain, with the objective of increasing power or private wealth. It need not involve
money changing hands; it may take the form of granting favors that poison politics and threaten

democracy. An example of political corruption is when political parties or candidates receive

money in exchange for the goodwill towards the entity or group making the contribution.
Poor governance: poor governance is the underling problem of our country. It creates an
environment in which corruption will flourish. Because of poor governance there is no
transparency or accountability of the government to the public. As such the politicians, public
and private employees all get involved with corruption.
Poverty: Around 50 percent of the people of Bangladesh live under poverty line. They are
unable to manage their basic needs. Honesty, morality, virtue etc are meaningless to them. They
need two meals a day for them and their family. So they do not hesitate to adopt unfair means or
offer bribe to fulfill their needs.
Unemployment: This is a vicious problem for Bangladesh. There are around 140 million people
in Bangladesh and most of them are unemployed. It is also not possible for the government of a
poor country like Bangladesh to create employment for all its peoples. The demand for jobs is
much greater than its availability. So people try to get a job by offering bribe.
Lack of patriotism: patriotism is a divine virtue of human being. It is normal that every citizen
would love his/her motherland. A true patriot loves his country and cannot indulge in activities
like corruption. But in our country the number of patriotic people are decreasing day by day and
the number of corrupted people are increasing due to lack of patriotism.
Lack in rules of law : There are hundreds of laws in Bangladesh but the proper application of
law is rare. Also there are lots of ambiguous laws that need to be amended. Besides the law
enforcing agencies in Bangladesh is also corrupted.
All these create an environment for corruption and corruption gradually have its roof deep in the
Political Unrest : Poly typical unrest is a common scenario of Bangladesh science
independence. The political parties in our country want to go power by any means. When they
are in power, they indulge in corruption in favour their party rank and files. When the opposition
parties go to power they also follow the same path and engage in corruption.
Poor remuneration : The government servants are paid very poor salaries which is barely
enough to maintain their families. Although the price of essentials is going up every day their
salaries are not increased in proportion to the market price. Besides, there are no arrangement for
incentives for efficiency or performance. Failing to maintain there families some of them indulge
in unfair means. Of course there are a segment of the government who are by nature corrupted.


Causes of Police Corruption

The problem of deviance and corruption is plagued with numerous misperceptions. Nevertheless,
two basic perspectives exist to explain the causes of corruption: popular and scholarly.

Popular Conceptions
Police chiefs and their directors of public information traditionally suggest that deviance and
corruption are the result of the bad or rotten apples in their ranks. The rotten or bad apples
are either weak individuals who have slipped through the elaborate screening process of most
police departments and succumbed to the temptations inherent in police work, or deviant
individuals who continue their deviant practices in an environment which provides them ample
opportunity (Barker, 1977, p. 354). Despite the logic that seems to support this conclusion, this
explanation can be easily discounted. The bad or rotten apple explanation suggests that despite
the elaborate screening mechanisms that police departments use, one or more corrupt police
officers may, nonetheless, be hired. On the other hand, political and community activists and
some pundits offer a bad barrel explanation. This is the claim that the entire police department
is deviant or corrupt. In most cases, this perspective is a vast overgeneralization.
Intellectual/specialist Conceptions
Over the past five decades, numerous dominant causal explanations for police corruption have
been offered: irresistible opportunities for corruption presented to police officers; low pay rates;
cynicism surrounding the pay and promotion mechanism; socialization and reinforcement; extent
of corruption in the community and broader society; tolerance among citizens and the police; and
inadequate leadership (Baker, 1977; Roberg and Kuykendall, 1993; White, 2007).
First, police officers are constantly exposed to situations in which the decisions they make can
have a positive or negative impact on an individuals freedom and well-being. Citizens may try
to influence this discretion by offering ... any item of value that will result in a favorable
decision (Roberg and Kuykendall, 1993, p. 192). Because of the way that policing is designed,
including a lack of direct supervision and the clientele police must deal with on a daily basis,
multiple opportunities for corruption may present themselves during any given week (Barker,
In the area of so called victimless crimes (e.g., gambling, prostitution, drug use and dealing),
police officers are placed in an untenable position. They have a great deal of discretionary power

to invoke a criminal sanction (Barker, 1977). Because the police regulate vice activities, they
face numerous opportunities to collect graft on a regular basis.
Socialization and Reinforcement
Police officers share both their history and their identity. By interacting with other officers and
being exposed to similar situations (e.g., boredom, fear, and excitement), officers can form deep
and often hide emotional bonds. Through this process, similar norms and values are transmitted
and shared (Barker, 1977).
Many officers may view the world as a we versus they environment (Becker, 1963). Police
tend to see the world as being composed of insiders and outsiderspolice and persons who are
not police officers are considered outsiders and are viewed with suspicion (Kappeler, Sluder,
and Alpert, 1994, p. 60).
Despite individual convictions, the work group of police officers remains a powerful influence
on each officer (Barker, 1977). In the police academy context, the building of communal officer
identity begins, an identity that is further developed once work on the force starts. Shortly after
graduating from the academy, through a combined process of working on the streets plus
interactions with senior police personnel, officers soon become cynical and a have a higher
proclivity to engage in deviance. Specifically, this cynicism may pave the way to corruption.

Level of Corruption in the general public

The community and political environment are influential in establishing attitudes toward corrupt
activities. When corruption is found in other government agencies, among judges, prosecutors,
and politicians, and in the business world, it contributes to the ability of the police officer to
rationalize his or her own behavior (Newfield and Barret, 1988; Roberg and Kuykendall, 1993).
Pay Rates and Cynicism Surrounding Remuneration and Upward job Mobility
Another cause for corruption may be the belief of some police officers that they are not paid
enough (Barker, 1977). They may believe that the risks they take deserve more compensation
than what they are paid, and thus, they may feel entitled to more money than their standard pay
and benefits.
Effects of Police Corruption
Police corruption affects society, including political, economic, and sociological. The social
aspect is perhaps easiest to define, because even one corrupt officer in a department can generate
an overall distrust of the department (the Rotten Apple theory). This negative outlook on policing

by civilians helps maintain an "us versus them" mentality among police, which only serves to
further the rift between police officers and civilians.
Police corruption, when brought to the public eye, increases pressures on departments by
lawmakers to enact change from within. In 2013, the West Valley City, Utah police's narcotics
unit was disbanded due to rampant corruption among its officers. These officers were found
stealing small items from seized vehicles, taking evidence, and placing tracking devices on
potential suspects' vehicles without warrants. This action, like many others, not only increases
distrust among the public, but lawmakers begin to feel pressure from the masses to remove
officers and revamp entire departments.

Recommendations For Combating Police Corruption

Public Sector:

Establish the office of Ombudsman for curving corruption fairly;

Reform the anticorruption bureau of Bangladesh for active against corruption;
Develop comprehensive national strategies for combating corruption;
Strengthen law enforcement mechanisms, including the role of the judiciary and provide
witness protection programmers;
E. Increase transparency through the establishment of competitive public procurement
procedures and encourage the adoption of international rules in this area;
F. Improve conditions for international investment through simplification of government
Improve transparency and accountability in budget preparation, execution, and oversight
of expenditure,
Develop codes of ethics in public administration to be enforced by strong sanctions;
Strengthen procedures for an effective and merit-based civil service, particularly
recruitment, promotion and pay,
Adopt Freedom of Information laws and provide access to public information,
Strengthen parliamentary oversight, independent audit and investigative bodies to be
backed by sufficient human and financial resources.

Private Sector:
Establishing public-private partnerships to develop anti-corruption strategies, goals and

Promoting good corporate governance on the basis of international standards and


Strong commitment by top management of companies to implement anticorruption

Developing and implementing codes of ethical conduct and ensuring their effectiveness
through internal control mechanisms, training of personnel and sanctions;
Accounting and auditing rules and standards to ensure transparency in Police department;
Building coalitions for maintaining integrity, including ethics centers.
Media and Civil Society:
Mobilizing civil society (media, NGOs, business, labor, and professional associations) to

monitor good governance;

Creating an anti-corruption network of NGOs to share information on regional/country

anti-corruption initiatives;
Conducting surveys of businesses, consumers and public opinion to provide feedback for
delivery of public services and fostering competition;
Implementing education programmers aimed at fostering an anti-corruption culture in
Enabling the media to effectively exercise public scrutiny;
Improving ethical and professional standards of journalists and promoting training in
investigative journalism.

Recommendations for Minimizing Corruption:

Corruption is criminal activities; it taints the giver and the taker in equal measure. Corruption has
permeated the entire social system in our country. So, alleviating corruption is the prime concern
for not only the government but also the nation as a whole. A single measure is not sufficient to
remove existing corruption and prevent corruption. So the following measure can be adopted in
this regard:
Political commitment is the sine qua non to prevent corruption. Democracy is the basic
requirement of good governance. At present, democracy is passing miserable days. Long
practices confrontational politics and political repression have made democracy
paralyzed. But elected and effective parliament can play effective role in preventing and
removing corruption. For that reason national consensus and restoration of democracy is
needed without making any delay.
Independent and strong judiciary is the most effective safeguard against corruption.
Independent judiciary is the indispensable requisite of a free society under rule of law.
Sometimes the National Human Rights Commission can play a role on the work of
government officials with its watch dog mechanism. But for the last one decade, the bill
relating to establishing NHRC has been pending with the hand of government high ups.
Departmental accountability of the government servant must be ensured. Corruption
technology should be quickly introduced in public administration to assist in efforts for

ensuring transparency and accountability and reduce red-tapism. Coordination between

different departments at the district level should be strengthened. Attendance at the
district coordination meetings should be made compulsory for all departmental heads.
The local governments should be made stronger and the power of the administration
should be effectively decentralized.
Effective parliament can be the vital mechanism against corruption. A special
parliamentary standing committee on corruption can be formed headed by an MP from
the opposition so that parliamentary control can be effectively ensured against the
corruption activities of government officials.


Corruption is one of the oldest and most persistent problems in policing. Historians have
found evidence of bribery in the earliest years of colonial Indian subcontinent.

Although a number of police departments have successfully reduced it in recent years,

corruption persists as a major problem in some department today. Police corruption
remains one of the most serious problems in policing. Controlling corruption is extremely
difficult. Corruption is not simply the result of a few bad apples but is deeply rooted in
the nature of Bangladeshi society.

Organizational factors influence the relationship between the police and the society and
causes police corruption. When police officer are trained various problem in the police
organization, they must be corrupted in their duties. Reducing of police corruption, it
must be noticed in police organization.



Monjur Kader, Md. Muajjem Hussain, Criminology. p-283

Robert Reiner, Policing and the Police, in Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan and Robert Reiner,
eds., The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Second Edition,1997 pp.997, 998.

Ernest Found: The Police, Policy And Constitutional Rights.p.6.1998

Criminology; Monjur Kader and Md. Muajjem Hussain p.227, last accessed on 28.06.2011

S.K LAHIRI, Police Ready References,3rd Edition, Orient Publishers, at Page 248

The Special Power Act of 1974. p,55.

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) Vs Bangladesh, 23(2003) BLD, HC.

Theoritical and Applied Criminology, Shekh Hafizur Rahaman Karjon, p,229.