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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Matthew J. Hickman, Alex R. Piquero, Brian A. Lawton and Jack R. Greene

The work of scholars who study police deviance has yet to result in the development of a substantive theory with which to frame their collective efforts. Recently, Tittle…

Abstract

The work of scholars who study police deviance has yet to result in the development of a substantive theory with which to frame their collective efforts. Recently, Tittle advanced a general theory of deviance that may help to fill this gap. The central premise of Tittle’s control balance theory is that the amount of control to which one is subject relative to the amount of control one can exercise (the control ratio) affects both the probability of deviance as well as the specific form of deviance. Examines the utility of control balance as a new theoretical orientation in police deviance research. Presents a framework for conceptualizing control balance within the special context of police deviance and, using data collected specifically for the purpose of operationalizing the control ratio, provides an empirical test. The data are drawn from a survey administered to 499 Philadelphia police officers. Scenario methodology was used to investigate the effects of officer control ratios on the probability of reporting a fellow officer who covers up an incident in which another officer was discovered driving while intoxicated (off duty), and second physically abuses a suspect in custody. Consistent with predictions derived from Tittle’s theory, results indicated that officers with control deficits are more likely to report fellow officers who engage in the behaviors portrayed in the scenarios. Future research directions are discussed.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Nathan W. Pino and Lee Michael Johnson

Corruption and poor relations with citizens are known to be pervasive in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). Police deviance permeates all levels of the TTPS…

Abstract

Purpose

Corruption and poor relations with citizens are known to be pervasive in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). Police deviance permeates all levels of the TTPS and threatens the sustainability of reforms. The purpose of this study is to explore the nature and consequences of police deviance in Trinidad and Tobago through the perspectives of community leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained through individual and focus group interviews with members of local community‐based and non‐governmental organizations and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in 2009. The data were examined to reveal respondents' perceptions concerning the nature and consequences of police deviance as well as its solutions.

Findings

The types of police deviance that emerged as major themes were inadequate crime control and protection of citizens, maltreatment of citizens, capricious response to criminals and bias toward less serious crimes, and police corruption and collusion with criminals. However, respondents also offered solutions and expressed optimism about police‐community cooperation.

Social implications

Results suggest both the need and potential to improve police‐citizen relations and reduce police deviance. The paper discusses possible solutions, giving special attention to sustainability and democratic policing reform.

Originality/value

Very little research has been conducted on police deviance in the Caribbean. The few studies that can be found focus on brutality and rely more on police survey and official data. Using in‐depth interview data, the current study adds to this small body of research by describing the impact of police deviance on community relations in Trinidad and Tobago.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Robin N. Haarr

Examines the link between level of organizational commitment and patrol officers’ attitudes toward and participation in police occupational deviance in a police patrol…

Abstract

Examines the link between level of organizational commitment and patrol officers’ attitudes toward and participation in police occupational deviance in a police patrol bureau. Uses analysis and interpretation of qualitative data gathered during field research in one mid‐sized police department to develop the subject. Field research was conducted over a seven‐month period, during which 580 hours of field observations were made and 48 unstructured interviews with patrol officers were conducted. Analysis disclosed that patrol officers with low levels of organizational commitment tended to engage in patterns of work avoidance and manipulation and employee deviance against the organization ‐ in contrast, patrol officers with high levels of commitment to the organization were likely to engage in employee deviance against the organization. Finally, patrol officers with a medium level of organizational commitment engaged in any of the three forms of deviance, depending on which end of the commitment continuum they tended toward. Claims that all patrol officers accepted informal rewards.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2012

Petter Gottschalk

A conceptual framework for police deviance and crime has recently been suggested and presented by other scholars. This research attempts to test the framework empirically…

Abstract

Purpose

A conceptual framework for police deviance and crime has recently been suggested and presented by other scholars. This research attempts to test the framework empirically based on court cases where police employees were prosecuted and convicted.

Design/methodology/approach

The sliding slope in the conceptual framework was separated into two dimensions, motive and damage, respectively. Court cases were coded according to these dimensions.

Findings

Empirical results provide support for the framework by linking seriousness to court sentence in terms of imprisonment days to the sliding slope. However, further validation of the framework is needed.

Originality/value

It is useful to both academics and practitioners to have an organizing framework when considering police complaints and prosecuting police crime.

Details

International Journal of Law and Management, vol. 54 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-243X

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2016

Christopher Donner, Jon Maskaly and Lorie Fridell

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between social control (adult social bonds) and police misconduct.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between social control (adult social bonds) and police misconduct.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple regression methods are used to analyze survey data from a sample of 101 first-line police supervisors. A consequence-based measure is used to capture social bonds and workplace deviance is measured as the self-reported likelihood of future misconduct.

Findings

Police supervisors reported varying likelihoods of future workplace deviance across four acts of misconduct. Social control was found to be negatively related to three of the four acts, which provides general support for the theory and study hypothesis.

Practical implications

The results are discussed in terms of research and policy implications.

Originality/value

Acknowledging important gaps in the literature, this study explores the validity of social control theory for explaining police misconduct.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 21 November 2016

Stephen A. Bishopp, John Worrall and Nicole Leeper Piquero

The purpose of this paper is to examine the utility of general strain theory in explaining the relationship between organizational stress and police deviance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the utility of general strain theory in explaining the relationship between organizational stress and police deviance.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from a non-random sample of 1,389 police officers in three large cities in Texas. The survey instrument used for this research was the Police Work Experience Survey. Results from regression analyses are presented.

Findings

Findings showed that the organization influenced police misconduct, but misconduct was dependent upon the specific type of strain encountered.

Research limitations/implications

Results show that instances of police deviance depend on the types of strains encountered. Additionally, anger plays a significant role when examining organizational strain. Police administrators should move to reduce organizational strains to reduce instances of police misconduct.

Originality/value

Currently, there is very little theoretical work in understanding police misconduct. And no studies have drawn linkages between organizational stressors and self-reported officer misconduct. At a time when police behavior is at the forefront of the social policy reform, the examination of potential correlates of police misconduct is the first step toward controlling it.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2018

Jessica Huff, Michael D. White and Scott H. Decker

Many examinations of police misconduct involve case study methodologies applied to a single agency, or a handful of agencies. Consequently, there is little evidence…

Abstract

Purpose

Many examinations of police misconduct involve case study methodologies applied to a single agency, or a handful of agencies. Consequently, there is little evidence regarding the types of misconduct across agencies, or the impact of department-level characteristics on the nature and prevalence of officer deviance. The purpose of this paper is to address this research gap using statewide data of over 1,500 charges of police misconduct filed with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) from 2000 to 2011.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines variation in the prevalence and forms of misconduct across 100+ agencies based on agency type and size. Difference scores were calculated for every agency in the state to determine whether an agency’s level of misconduct was proportionate to the number of officers employed by that agency. AZPOST data were supplemented with Law Enforcement Management and Statistics data to identify organizational correlates of misconduct in agencies generating disproportionately low and high levels of misconduct.

Findings

Results identify variation in officer misconduct across different types of agencies. Tribal agencies generally experience higher rates of domestic violence and drug/alcohol-related incidents. Smaller agencies have more misconduct allegations involving supervisors. Organizational characteristics including pre-hiring screening, accountability mechanisms and community relationships are associated with lower levels of agency misconduct.

Originality/value

The use of AZPOST data enables a statewide examination of misconduct while accounting for organizational context. This study identifies organizational features that might serve to protect agencies against disproportionate rates of officer misbehavior.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Timothy Cubitt, Ken Wooden, Erin Kruger and Michael Kennedy

Misconduct and deviance amongst police officers are substantial issues in policing around the world. This study aims to propose a prediction model for serious police

Abstract

Purpose

Misconduct and deviance amongst police officers are substantial issues in policing around the world. This study aims to propose a prediction model for serious police misconduct by variation of the theory of planned behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

Using two data sets, one quantitative and one qualitative, provided by an Australian policing agency, a random forest analysis and a qualitative content analysis was performed. Results were used to inform and extend the framework of the theory of planned behaviour. The traditional and extended theory of planned behaviour models were then tested for predictive utility.

Findings

Each model demonstrated noteworthy predictive power, however, the extended model performed particularly well. Prior instances of minor misconduct amongst officers appeared important in this rate of prediction, suggesting that remediation of problematic behaviour was a substantial issue amongst misconduct prone officers.

Practical implications

It is an important implication for policing agencies that prior misconduct was predictive of further misconduct. A robust complaint investigation and remediation process are pivotal to anticipating, remediating and limiting police misconduct, however, early intervention models should not be viewed as the panacea for police misconduct.

Originality/value

This research constitutes the first behavioural model for police misconduct produced in Australia. This research seeks to contribute to the field of behavioural prediction amongst deviant police officers, and offer an alternative methodology for understanding these behaviours.

Details

The Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Jon Maskaly, Christopher M. Donner and Lorie Fridell

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether homophily – whereby people are influenced by those perceived as similar to themselves – affects attitudes toward police

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether homophily – whereby people are influenced by those perceived as similar to themselves – affects attitudes toward police misconduct. Specifically, whether demographic dissimilarity between police chief executive law enforcement officers (CEOs) and subordinates is related to differences in perceptions of misconduct.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this research are drawn from the National Police Research Platform. Multilevel mixed-effects regression modeling is used to analyze data from 78 randomly selected US police agencies (78 law enforcement CEOs and 10,709 officers from those agencies).

Findings

The main finding is that demographic dissimilarity between the CEO and subordinates is associated with differences in attitudes about police deviance, net of other factors.

Practical implications

The results exemplify the need to diversify police agencies at all levels, not just the lower ranks. Because employees were found to be more similar to those one step (up or down) from one another on the organizational hierarchy, diversifying at all levels of the police organizations will help to reduce the social distance between those in closer ranks, which could ameliorate the dissimilarity effect. Likewise, police agencies may need to adopt new management strategies to compensate for a diversifying workforce.

Originality/value

This study builds on previous research and investigates an understudied topic in the policing literature by assessing the extent to which dissimilarity is related to attitudinal congruence about workplace deviance in police organizations.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2021

Christopher M. Donner, Jon Maskály, Wesley G. Jennings and Cynthia Guzman

The purpose of this paper is to review the extant published literature using traditional criminological theories in an effort to explain police misconduct.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the extant published literature using traditional criminological theories in an effort to explain police misconduct.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reflects a narrative meta-review of through a search of several academic databases (e.g. Criminal Justice Abstracts, Criminology: A SAGE Full Text Collection, EBSCO Host and PsychInfo). Twenty-nine studies, across six theoretical perspectives, were identified and reviewed.

Findings

The extant research generally suggests that traditional criminological theory is useful in explaining misconduct.

Practical implications

The findings call on agencies to continually strengthen their recruiting and hiring processes to select recruits with suitable characteristics, and to improve their early warning systems to detect officers with patterns of problematic behavior. Also, the findings call for multiple avenues of future scholarship, namely, in theory development/integration and in refining the measurement of police misconduct.

Originality/value

This paper will be useful for researchers who wish to further explore the etiology of misconduct, and for police administrators who wish to reduce the prevalence of such behavior.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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