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28/05/2008 - The Journal of Ethics in Policing 2nd Edition Coming SOON!

EthicsinPolicing Ltd (EiP) is pleased to announce the publication of its second 2008 Journal of Ethics in Policing which will be available for download on 1st June 2008.

Each article within the Journal raises issues within policing and asks a number of questions of the members of EiP regarding the issues raised.
Members are invited to reflect on the questions and post their views and comments within the discussion forum. Membership of EiP, which gives access to the full journal and discussion forum is free. We hope everyone who accesses this site and reads this abstract will take the opportunity to join EiP and share their views and opinions in order to enhance the exchange of knowledge which is a principle objective of the site. Your views are important please take the time to share them.

The contents, abstract and questions raised are set out below in order that none members may have an insight into the journal and hopefully take up membership read the full journal and share their views with existing members.

Contents of second 2008 Journal:

In this journal we cover a very wide range of issues, beginning with an exploration of the application of evolutionary psychology to ethics; moving on to examine the nature of police corruption; and ending with a discussion on the morality of deception in policing.

A Moral Sense
Dan Primozic

The author discusses the moral sense which in the opinion of some evolutionary psychologists is to be found in our neurobiological make-up, and which guides our behaviour. As he points out, this hypothesis raises more questions than it answers, especially in regard to such issues as blameworthiness and the ethical and legal concepts of free will, guilt, and responsibility. Are we ready for this new conception of morality, and what might be lost in adopting it?

Questions for Reflection

Do you agree with Pinkers argument, that there is a biological basis for morality?

What are the implications of this theory of morality, for policing? How would the Police Service continue to operate without the concepts of right and wrong, as traditionally understood?

Appearance and Reality
Peter Villiers

The author discusses the issues related to community relations policing in a modern 21st Century environment.

Questions for Reflection

Given the scenario as presented here would you wish to preserve the status quo or encourage variation?

What practical experience have you had of the sort of issues raised above and how has that experience influenced your judgement?

What is your Force policy in this are and how might it be changed for the better?

What are your general views on this issue?

Signs and Symbols in Policing:
The work of Roland Barthes
Robert Adlam

Dr Adlam considers the work of the French semiologist Roland Barthes in exploring the illusion and illusions of policing.

Questions for Reflection

Roland Barthes suggests that professional wrestling is not so much a sham as a permitted and shared illusion. The wrestlers stand for something greater than themselves, the forces of good and evil; and the audience knows that in the end, good will triumph, despite the machinations of evil. A wrestling match is the modern equivalent of the morality play. Do you see an element of truth in this, or has Barthes simply got it wrong? When we go to watch professional wrestlers, are we expecting a genuine contest, or a staged encounter? How would we react, if the struggle were to be a genuine one, with an unpredictable outcome?

As a police officer, do you feel that part of your work is a masquerade - that it is not in some sense real, but rather a role that you are required to carry out on behalf of the public, which involves some element of collusion? What examples can you think of in your daily work, where this feeling is at its strongest? Is this a good thing or a bad thing for the police service?

Should a police service have a public relations policy? Why? What might it gain by such a venture, and what might it lose?

Persistent Dark Matter:
Police Corruption 1998 to 2008
Bryn Caless

Corruption in the police is widely alleged but under-researched. Dr Caless led original research into the problem ten years ago when a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Counter-Corruption Advisory Group and he here updates the findings and data from the intervening years. Much of the academic commentary on corruption is American; corruption typologies have their place, but they do not necessarily explain the British or global incidence. Dr Caless looks at what has been developed by Interpol in the same time frame for the global problem of police corruption and concludes that matters seem static, despite the recent creation of an Interpol Anti-Corruption Academy in Austria. What researchers and commentators need is reliable open data, and no agency or police service seems able to provide them.

Questions for Reflection

Do you find Dr Caless article reassuring or worrying, in its underlying assumption that corruption cannot be altogether removed from policing?

Where does your service sit on this matter? Is corruption regarded as a minor problem or a major issue? What counter-measures are applied?

What, in your view, is the single greatest deterrent to police corruption?

Ker Muir on Police Understanding
Robert Adlam

We referred in the first edition of this journal to the seminal work of William Ker Muir in exploring the moral parameters of policing. Here, Dr Adlam takes his analysis further. How is the ordinary police officer to be convinced of the value of his work, and to combat and overcome the occupational cynicism, which, cynics say, is an irremovable feature of policing?

Questions for Reflection

What is the policy on quotas in your Force or service (as the term is explored here) and what are your views on this issue? Does a Police Force need quotas? What are their benefits and what are their disadvantages?

How would you encourage the emergence of supervisory police officers such as Sergeant Peel, in your Police Service? What organisational changes might be needed, and what cultural issues addressed?

Establishing Proper Foundations for Police Practice
Robert Adlam
The proper foundations for policing a liberal democracy, as explored by Newman and Laugharne in 1985: a neglected source.

Questions for Reflection

What examples can you think of from your own experience in which a police officer or group of police officers pursued a legitimate aim, but in such a way as to lead to the wrong result? Why did this happen, and how might it have been prevented? What general lessons might be learned, from this example?

By contrast, what experiences can you think of where the police got it right? - That is, they pursued the right objective in the right way and thereby not only contributed to the effectiveness of the police perhaps in solving a crime (we draw the example at random) but also built up the reputation of the service as a whole? The same further questions apply. Why did it work, this time and what general lessons might be learned and applied? How might you incorporate them into a training or supervisory programme?

The Morality of Deception in the Context of Policing
Peter Villiers

Deception is an essential part of policing, which relies upon the (restricted) use of immoral practices for moral ends. There is a persistent clash between the ideals of community and intelligence-led policing. The morality of deception extends to exploring the nature of public reassurance, per se.

Questions for Reflection

Is this deception necessary?

Does it give rise to any ethical issues?

What will you do with the results? Will you disclose how you obtained them, or not? Could they be the basis for disciplinary action?

What other reflections occur to you in this context

After word
A journal of ethics in policing can never be the last word and if the contents of this second publication should provide food for useful thought then we shall have achieved our objective. We hope that you will respond by providing material of your own, both for future issues and the website, and in our next number we shall certainly return to two aspects of policing which have been raised in brief here:

Freedom of expression and movement and the issues arising in policing a demonstration; and

The eternal subject of police corruption.

We shall also be offering some practical reflections by working police officers, whether still in practice or recently retired as to the reality of ethical problem-solving in police work and would welcome your contributions towards this. In our experience in teaching ethics we have found that many police officers are unused to exploring and recounting ethical dilemmas in the abstract as it were, but once able to find some means of presenting and exploring a problem, challenge or dilemma which they have faced, have proved excellent communicators. Ethics, as we have said before, is not the exclusive province of professors of philosophy and there are many ways of bringing the subject to life. Here are some possible formats through we should welcome your contributions.
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