Sample Criminal Justice Essays on Police Code of Ethics

The police code of ethics is more public service-based than crime-fighter-based. It states the way police officers should relate with the public more than how they should fight crimes. Very lenient terms are used in the few instances, whereby the fighting of crimes is addressed in the code. It forbids the police from using force, which in most cases is the only way out because most criminals do not cooperate with the police. It also states that the police should use their discretion most of the time (Westmarland, 2005). This makes the police appear willing to do what is best for the public and not what is best for eradicating crimes. The code emphasizes the conduct of the police, which appears more as a public relations code. This is because it states the way the police should relate with the public and their colleagues (Neyroud & Beckley, 2001). This makes them appear more interested in the way the public views them than the way they dispense their duties. Allowing the police to use their discretion when dealing with crimes clearly shows that, the code is not clear on how they should deal with criminals. This is different from the way the code clearly outlines the dos and don’ts of police when relating with each other and the public.

The code can be improved by outlining how police officers should handle criminals. The code should be more specific on what actions should be taken by a police officer than merely stating that they use their discretion. This creates a loophole that some police officers misuse by physically abusing suspects, claiming that is the only way they can get them to talk. The code should also determine the exact amount of force a police officer should use.





Westmarland, L. (2005). Police ethics and integrity: Breaking the blue code of silence. Policing and Society15(2), 145-165.

Neyroud, P., & Beckley, A. (2001). Policing, ethics and human rights (p. 156). Cullompton, Devon: Willan.