Police Deviance : Rotten Apple or Rotten Barrel?

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Criminal Justice : Policy and Practice

Police Deviance : Rotten Apple or Rotten Barrel?

Jessica

18th November 2010

Contents

1.Abtract……………………………………………………………………..….P.3 2.Bad Barrel : Police culture leads to corruption………………………..…..…..P.5 3.Application : IRA Miscarriage of Justice………………………………….....P.10 4.Application : Case of Rolando Mandoza………….…………………………P.12 5.Policy implication…………………………………………………………….P.14 6.Conclusion……………………………………………………………………P.16 7.References……………………………………………………………………P.18

Abstract
The term paper attempts to examine the problem of Police Corruption. Police force is the only body in the society who are given authority to use the force towards citizens, any malpractice in the police force will harm the society. Therefore, it is important to investigate and understand the chronic police corruption in the force. “Police corruption” in this paper is defined as “any behavior performed by police officers who is improper, not ethnical, dishonest, deviant or against the law (criminal)” (Barker & Roebuck,1973). In the study of the police corruption, two schools of thoughts prevail : “Rotten Apple” Theory and “Rotten Barrel” Theory. The Rotten Apple Theory first appeared in the Knapp Commission Report released in 1973(Lahue,Ruiz,Clarke,1999) . According to this theory, any police deviance is individualized as an individual problem, organizational and institutional factors are downplayed or ignored. This stream perceives police corruption as a rotten apple in a clean barrel. In other words, it is an individualistic model of deviance (Punch,2003). The Rotten Apple Theory was criticized by the former commissioner of New York Police Department, Patrick Murphy, who perceives police corruption was contributed by the failure of the police system. Contrasts to the Rotten Apple Theory, organizational factors were emphasized. It is the barrel making the apple rotten instead of the rotten apple contaminates the barrel. Patrick Murphy stated that “The task of corruption control is to examine the barrel, not just the apples…because corrupt police are made, not born.” (Murphy,1973,P.72) This paper will examine the police corruption based on the Rotten Barrel Theory. I would like to examine how the police system and the unique police work environment contribute to the police corruption. In the latter part, I would like to use the case of IRA miscarriage of Justice in Britain and the case of Philippine Police Rolando Mendoza who killed Hong Kong tourists, to see if the Rotten Barrel Theory is applicable to these cases. The major limitation of the analysis is the lack of academic literature, especially the analysis on Mandoza. Personal background of Rolando Mandoza captured from news article is the only source of information for analysis.

Bad Barrel : Police Culture leads to corruption
The work environment of the police force is unique in the sense that it is an environment combining danger, authority and efficiency. Here, I am not suggesting that these elements are unique in police and cannot be found in the work environment of another type of job. Some of them can be found alone in other occupations. It is the combination of all the above elements makes the work environment of police work distinctive to others. As suggested by Skolnick, the unique combined features in their work environment generates a distinctive perception and lenses in cognition to the society among police and the process is summarized as follow : the policeman’s role contains two principal variables, danger and authority, which should be interpreted in the light of a “constant” pressure to appear efficient (as stated in Stephen.K & Micheal.D, 2010). The danger in police work requires the police to be sensitive to everyone and everything around them. This is due to the confrontational nature of the interaction with the community (as stated in Stephen.K & Micheal.D, 2010). Protecting the property and lives of citizens leads...
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