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Police Culture

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Amna Aftab

on 23 April 2013

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Transcript of Police Culture

What is Police Culture? Clear distinction between departments within the force.
“Police cop culture” or “Street cop culture” & police management culture.

Today we will be focusing on street cop culture. Introduction of the PIC Guns of Adjungbilly - Jimmy Hallinan Case Police Culture Group Identification
Group accountability phenomenon has shown that a person will act against their conscience if they believe they are letting their friends down by not joining them in an unethical or even illegal act.

Social Desirability
Social desirability bias occurs when a person overrides what they believe to be right in order to agree with those in their immediate group (Chung & Monroe 2003)

Noble Cause Corruption
Occurs when a person acts illegally in order to bring about a greater good. The Royal Commission ended

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) was formed to continue monitoring police activity in corrupt activities Suspect was shot down after a 26 hour siege. The final straw was the thought that a colleague was in danger

"And with the tone of Don's voice and what he was saying, I just knew that this is it"

"By this stage I'd been on the job for 26 hours straight. I suppose the one thing that's got me through this is the total belief that I did the right thing. It was either him or Don." Major Discussion What is Police Culture cont. Code of Silence/Unwritten Rules & Breaking them Traditional Features of Police Culture or "Sociological Orthodoxy" Solidarity/Loyalty and Conformity Traditional Features of Police Culture cont. Widely shared attitudes, values and norms

Why so different to other organisational culture?
Unwritten Rules
Function of policing dictates culture
Characterised mostly by solidarity and conformity

Reiner (2000) sees police culture as a way that helps police deal with pressures of their work. (Loftus 2010) Oldie's but a goodie's
Distinct “working personality” involving special rules, values customs, judgments and perceptions (Skolnick 1966). All of which “helps guide them in their work” (Skolnick & Fyfe 1993).

“Police culture consists of rules of thumb, a special language, and a set of shared values and customs that underpin how officers relate to each other and the public” (Manning & Van Maanen 1978). Other described features of police culture:
Exaggerated sense of mission towards the policing role
Celebration of masculine exploits
Willingness to use force and engage in informal working practices (think "underbelly")
Social Isolation
Defensive solidarity
Pessimism and tolerance towards those who challenge statues quo (think Mardi Gras 2013)
(Reiner 1992) Evolves to the extent that officers trust fellow officers with their lives and;

Responsible for fellow officers lives.

“Brotherhood” –desire to protect each other in all situations.

Code of silence & loyalty

Value each other as family? Breeding ground for corruption


"Dog"/not to be trusted

Code of silence viewed by officer as looking after your mates, rather than "covering up" (O'Loughlin & Billing 2000) Conformity Behaviour/adapting to the norms

To defy the norms of police behaviour may be seen as 'deviant' (Garcia 2009)

Young Officer Recruits, Social Isolation and Conformity
Double hit of police culture?
Limited experience as adults with work and society
Easier to mould/conform?
Reinforced social isolation No, can't change:

Yes, can change: Royal Wood Commission Inquiry Inquiry into the extent of corruption in the NSW police force predominantly the Kings Cross Division
Headed by Supreme Court Judge - Justice James Roland Wood
Ran between May 1994 and August 1997
In December 1994 the inquiry was extended to include looking into the protection of paedophiles by NSW police
The commission had 3 investigation teams with members from all jurisdictions except NSW
1994 saw Trevor Haken be recruited by the Commission to work undercover to prove the extent of police corruption
Upon other detectives learning about this; many turned themselves in and offered to help with the investigation as long as they were not prosecuted as harshly
(Wood 1996) Facts About the Wood Inquiry 12 prominent figures committed suicide upon learning of the commission and its processes

451 days of hearing

902 witnesses

$64 million overall costs

284 police officers were adversely named
46 brief cases of evidence Crimes Uncovered by the Inquiry Bribery and money laundering

Drug trafficking

Fabrication and destruction of evidence

Fraud and serious assaults

Organised paedophile ring collusion between NSW police officers, lawyers, media and political establishments and crime syndicates Corruption Does Exist! The level of corruption in police jurisdictions is to a large extent determined by how police view their roles in society
Crime fighter vs. service provider Police Subcultures In any large organisation a subculture will develop based on the interactions of the organisations members:
Group Identification
Social Desirability Status Positive Roles in Routine Policing Reiner (2002) Characteristics of Cop Culture

Skolnick (1996) the danger of police work ... and the pressure to be productive and efficient creates a working personality.

Working with the police creates strong 'family bonds' as no one understands the work pressures (Chan 2003, p. 250)

Therefore a strong sense of trust in fellow police, which is essential for teamwork Police culture has a long history

New recruits learn from experienced cops

Culturally diverse policing methods developed

Women within the police force - a force to be reckoned with Think about it Can you form similar bonds at uni?! Fitzgerald Inquiry! Background:
Independent inquiry chaired by G.E. Fitzgerald in 1989
Uncovered severe corruption e.g. bribes, prostitution and drug trafficking
Police culture that discouraged/prevented 'whistleblowing' (Fitzgerald 1989)
Breaching rule of law
Inspired the evolution from 'force' to 'service' (Pollock 2004)
Deposition of a premier, two by-elections, the jailing of three former ministers and the police commissioner being jailed for corruption
Introduced new accountability measures to ensure greater responsibility by Queensland police Police Culture Embedded in this Case Study Social Desirability Bias:
Putting own set beliefs aside to agree with others in group
Jack Herbert (bribes, poor morals, financial problems)
Rather avoid confrontation, then correct a mistake (Coady, 1996, p. 279)
Collin Dillon (forced to take bribes, threatened with violence)

Group Identification
Gang in uniform
The failure of "clean officers" who failed to confront the actions of "dirty officers", by omission are guilty of participating in illegal acts (Kleinig 2006)
Diffusion of Responsibility
Orders are Orders! (Negative Responsibility) i.e. Edmund Lyons Result and Reform Accountability Measures (4)
Code of conduct (Public Sector Ethics Act 1994)

External Oversight Bodies - Fitzgerald Royal Commission established the CJC in 1989, which was amalgamated with the QCC in 2001 to form the CMC

Internal Professional Standards Units - Ethical Standards Command of the Queensland Police Service

Evaluation of Police Integrity - CMC reports on police complaints and how they have been addressed CONCLUSION!!!! Decades of corruption, breach of law, reform and police culture

Ongoing monitoring is required to uphold positive police culture

It will always exist; the nature of it depends on the level of power and flexibility Do you think police culture can change, has it? If so, why? (Wood 1996) (Wood 1996)
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