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Police corruption is a major problem throughout the world. As people of a civilized society we depend on our police department to protect us and the stop crimes from happening. Police corruption happens in many parts of the world, and the main motivation behind this crime against society is personal greed. In the United States, corrupted police officers takes bribes and get involved in drug operations while they allow murders to happen. Other officers have been caught framing innocent people for crimes that they did not commit. In foreign countries like Kenya, the police officers force innocent citizens to pay bribes, so they can continue with their normal daily activities. Police officers in Kenya abuse their power for their own personal gains. In Russia the police take bribes so that innocent women and children are sold into sex slavery. Officers gain from the suffering of others. As a society we need to encourage more research on this topic to find methods of stopping this horrible crime. When corruption takes place it causes many negative effects, such as create a lack of trust for law enforcement officials and the government. There are many adverse effects for police corruption. Government officials' needs to take more interest in this matter and create programs that would increase reports of these crimes. Police corruption is a serious problem and it happens everywhere.
The Effects of Police Corruption
The main responsibility of the police department is to protect the citizens of the country. People depend on the protection of the police to feel safe, and know that there is some institution watching out for the safety of the citizens. In the United States, even the small children know that they can call 911 in an emergency to get police protection. The job of the police department is to protect the citizens of the country and to prevent or stop crimes from happening. Police corruption is any type of willful misconduct of police officers to obtain financial benefits, career advancements or any other type of personal gains. The main type of police corruption that will be described in this paper is taking bribes. When a police officer takes a bribe, it means they are taking money from someone and allow them to commit a crime. Another type of bribe is when a police officer demands a bribe to allow citizens who are not committing any type of crime to continue their normal daily activities. In America we feel safe because we expect fair treatment from our police, we know as long as we are within the rights of the law there will be no issues, however this is not always the case. In this paper I will discuss police corruption in some parts of the world, including the United States, the effects of corruption and what can be done to prevent or stop police corruption.
Corruption in Kenya
There are many other countries in the world where there is high level of police corruption. In countries such as Kenya, the police take bribes and demand bribes or create false arrest when citizens refuse to pay bribes. People can buy their freedom with bribes. Bribes are monies paid to the police directly to avoid being arrested. In addition to taking bribes to avoid legal actions when the law is broken, the police in Kenya harass the citizens with intent for them to pay bribes. An article written by Kebede (2001) gives details of his trip to Kenya where he witnessed injustices on the citizens by the Kenya police. Kebede was riding in a car, when the police pulled the driver over, the driver got out of the car and went to the corner of the road, met with the police officer and handed something to the police officer. Kebede found out from the driver when he got back in the car that he had to pay the bribe to avoid being arrested or any other trouble with the law. Kebede inquired what law was broken or what was wrong, only to find out from both, the driver and other passengers nothing was wrong, no laws were being broken, this is standard practice, to bribe police officers.
Corruption in the United States
Police officers in the United States have taken bribes, allowing horrible crimes to occur for their own personal benefit. In the late 1990's Philadelphia convicted six police officers for corruption, charges against them included selling drugs, robbing, beating, and framing drug suspects (Brown, 1998). These officers allowed these crimes to continue without making any arrests because they were benefiting from these horrible acts. In New Orleans, there were several officers that committed multiple murders that were convicted. This was very difficult for the residents of New Orleans; the residents of New Orleans were terrorized by these crimes. In the late 1990's officers were convicted of being part of a drug smuggling operation, where they committed crimes like murder, and drug dealing (Brown, 1998). In the late 1990's over 70 police officers were caught and convicted in the LAPD Rampart Division after officer Perez confessed and gave information about his fellow officers and their misconduct. These officers were convicted of many different types of police misconduct including, drug dealing, stealing, framing suspects and many different types of abuse of power. This was a major scandal for the United States and a horrible problem for the state of California.
Corruption in Russia
Corruption in Russia has led to one of the most dangerous problems in the world human trafficking. Russia has been noticed by the leaders of the world as a country of high police corruption (McCarthy, 2010). In 2003 there were over 350 documented cases of human trafficking in Russia and only 10 were taken to court. Pressures from around the world have caused Russia's government to make changes in the legal systems in 2008. Although there were changes in the law police officers don't always follow the new laws. Analyst has found that corruption is one of the top reasons for the scale of human trafficking in Russia. It is estimated that over 10,000 women are trafficked in Russia each year for sexual reasons such a prostitution, sexual slavery and pornography. Researchers have found that although new laws were passed in 2008 about trafficking in Russia, police officers are not always using these laws. Many police officers are afraid of how they will be seen by their peers if they enforce these new laws (McCarthy, 2008). Women are abused and forced to live in sexual slavery because of police corruption.
Effects of Police Corruption
When there is police corruption, people begin to fear those they should trust. The abuse of police power also causes widespread mistrust. The public is not sure of who they can trust, who the criminals are, who the victims are and who can be trusted. Many people also feel helpless in the situation because they are not sure where they can get help or who can help them. "Unfortunately, the public appears to tolerate this situation because the majority of victims of police misconduct and the majority of people defined as criminals are often perceived as indistinguishable" (Brown, 1998).
One of the biggest problems created by police corruption is when closed cases are reopened. When the Philadelphia police officers were convicted more than 1400 cases were reopened that were linked to these six police officers. Criminals that were tried and found guilty under the law were now at risk of being free again, because of police corruption. People who were convicted and are serving sentences in jail are now at risk for being released or given a new trial because of police corruption. Innocent people suffer each day because of police corruption. In the case of Russia, women are forced into sexual slavery each day because of police corruption.
Causes of Police Corruption
Police corruption is caused by many different reasons. Some people argue that corruption is caused by a lack of ethics, morality and integrity. These are all common elements in police corruption; however the main cause of police corruption is usually personal greed and abuse of power. Police officers abuse their power, status and badge to take bribes, or get paid off to look the other way, while criminals inflict harm on others or our society.
Stopping Police Corruption
To stop police corruption, we must conduct more research on the subject to find out the root causes of this crime. Researchers have found that if other police officers feel safe and know their identities will be kept confidential, they are more likely to report illegal activities (Ransley & Johnstone, 2009). There is definite reform needed in the police forces we discussed in this paper, such as Kenya and Russia. In the United States the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) was established to police the police department. This is a special task force that was created to watch over the police department and ensure that police officers were not abusing their power or…[continue]
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