What is Police Corruption?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 March 2020
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Police corruption is often used colloquially to refer to any type of police misconduct, but the term is more appropriately used for police misconduct intended to produce financial or personal gains for those police officials involved. This type of activity could be considered a subset of police misconduct. In many cases, police corruption involves explicit monetary gain and might take the form of bribes or kickbacks. Occasionally, police corruption might take the form of favors, such as the promise of a promotion in return for a conviction based on wrongfully obtained or falsified evidence. Corruption is a serious problem for police, both due to the severity of the crime and the difficulty of prosecuting corrupt officers internally.

Many cases of police corruption involve monetary compensation, either directly to officers in the face of a crime or systematically for more regular crimes. A bribe, for instance, might be offered to a police officer who has just caught a criminal in the act of committing a crime. Bribes need not be monetary in nature, and sexual favors are often offered as bribes.

Police officers are sometimes offered more regular monetary compensation in return for turning a blind eye to crime in a systematic fashion, resulting in police protection for illegal activities. This type of police corruption is usually a feature of organized crime. Sometimes, police corruption might involve police officers performing illegal activities themselves for profit, with the understanding that their jobs will protect them from prosecution.


Sometimes police corruption is internal and involves some members of the police force demanding cooperation from other members while offering promotions and raises in return. Obtaining a difficult conviction by falsifying evidence, for example, might result in a promotion to a better job. This type of corruption is particularly difficult to prosecute because police officers often operate under a code of silence, which is used to protect other members of the police force. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, it is often difficult to find witnesses from within the police force who will testify.

Given that many different types of activities can result in personal or financial gain, it is difficult to delineate the terms of corruption for police. Some people do not even consider gains to be necessary for actions to count as corruption. It is important to note that the term corrupt when used to describe a police officer does not always imply that the officer acted in order to improve his or her own situation. In some cases, corrupt police officers engage in misconduct because they find it pleasurable or because they enjoy power, in which case they are corrupt without demonstrable returns.


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Post 3

There has always been police corruption and political corruption and there always will be. The key is to keep the illegal activities at a manageable level, so that the average person is not affected or is not aware of how he is affected, and so that the bad cops and politicians don't get too bold.

Post 2

I always wondered why prison officials couldn't keep drugs out of prisons. I mean, if you can't keep drugs out of a controlled environment like a prison then what is the use of trying to fight a so-called war on drugs on the streets?

After seeing a documentary about a particular jail in the United States, I now understand why controlling the flow of drugs in prisons is do difficult.

In many jails and prisons, the prisoners pay the guards to get drugs and other illegal items into the prison. In this jail that was featured in the film, the guards were selling drugs, cellphones, and they were setting up some prisoners to be attacked. Some of the

female guards were even having sex with the inmates for money.

As long as there is police corruption and the prisoners have the means and know how to bribe guards there is little hope that we will make any significant strides in reducing crime.

Post 1

Back in my hometown drugs have practically taken over in some sections of the community. This seems really strange to me because when I lived there the place was just a small country town with a couple flashing traffic lights. But, I guess there are not many places that are not faced with some type of illegal drug problem.

I used to be close with one of the former detectives on the police force there, and he told me that as soon as the cops lock up one drug dealer three or four new dealers are trying to takeover his territory and customers.

One of the reasons the detective left the police force was because of the police

corruption surrounding drugs there. Some of the biggest drug dealers in the town were on the police force. They were not on the streets making the sells, but they were in charge of the guys who were, and the police officers were offering protection from arrest for their dealers and protection from competitor drug dealers. It helps your business when you can put the competition in jail.

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