Criminal Justice Sample Essay on Police Corruption

Police Corruption


Police corruption refers to various misconducts that law enforcement officers engage in as they seek to obtain personal favors that include money and work promotions. This is usually done through abuse of powers and privileges that enable them to take bribes, accept kickbacks, participate in organized crime, and receive free goods and services in order to avoid partial or full execution of justice (Kutnjak, 2013). The main aim for this review is to establish what different scholars have documented in relation to police corruption in order to make a summary of what is known as well as what has not been studied about police corruption. The paper will thus make a summary of what is known about police corruption, discuss critical studies on corruption, identify gaps prevailing in these studies and make recommendations of what can be studied to fill the gaps.

Police corruption

Police corruption is widely defined as a form of misconduct undertaken by police officers with the sole intention of obtaining personal benefits that may range from material gain to securing higher employment positions. This topic has widely been discussed, as various scholars seek to gain more understanding about its causes and various measures that can be formulated to ensure that this vice is contained. A study carried out by Asch (2011) revealed that police corruption is an international problem that has led to citizens in various nations losing trust in their law enforcement officers due to increased bribery and partiality in exercising justice. Due to varying legal systems operating in various countries, police corruption acts may vary as what may legally amount to corruption in one country may not be the case in another. It was noted that police corruption has been divided into two categories that include internal corruption, which is the type of corruption that is usually practiced between police officers and external corruption, which is the type of corruption that may take place between citizens and police officers. Analysis of police corruption has been a challenging task that many scholars avoid due to its sensitivity and complexity. Although various cases of police corruption are reported through the media, research has shown that most of them are never revealed as participating parties conceal them. A study by Benjamin (2010) revealed that police officers are required to observe the ‘Code of Silence’ that demands for them to maintain secrets relating to all activities carried out within the institution. Benjamin found out that this has perpetuated various cases of false testimonies, corrupt behaviors and manipulation of investigators without them being disclosed. While this may have led to increased cases in injustices, it has allowed various police officers to avoid punishment from their seniors as they are only scolded or temporarily suspended. Police corruption has equally become a common practice that has grown from a single spontaneous act to a well-established norm. This has enabled organized criminals to infiltrate police institution where they are accorded protection to engage in illegal activities in exchange of hefty financial benefits to police officers. This practice has ultimately eroded the image of police forces globally as citizens view them as unreliable and dishonest people that seek to gain personally out of their misery (Elaine, 2010). 

Summary and conclusion

A review of various studies has indicated that various types of police corruption are commonly practiced and that various reasons perpetuate this practice between police officers and citizens of various nations. Scholars undertaking these studies further established the various effects that police corruption can have on members of the public as well as the extent to which this vice has grown to become a well-established norm. These studies however did not establish any remedies and interventions that can be formulated to ensure that this practice is controlled or stopped. My study will therefore look into various remedies that can be formulated to ensure that this vice is controlled.


Asch, B. (2011). Mitigating Corruption in Government Security forces: The Role of Institutions, Incentives, and Personnel Management in Mexico, Santa Monica, CA, Rand.

Benjamin, O. (2010). Empirical Analysis of Corruption, NBER Reporter, 2010 (4): 45-55.

Elaine, J. (2010). Exposing Police Corruption and Malfeasance: China’s Prostitute Cases, The China Journal, 63 (1): 20-26.

Kutnjak, I. (2013). To Serve and Collect: Measuring Police Corruption, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 93(3): 100-121.