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Ethical Problems in Corruption Term Paper

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Updated: Oct 3rd, 2019


Allegations of corruption mean different things to different people. Traditionally, has been defined as the use of position or status for personal gain. This could be in the form of an economic or other favors which may include sexual favors, among others (Martinelli & Thomas, 2006).

This means that corruption is a form of abuse of power. There are various forms of corruption in the police force, including bribery, fabrication of evidence, violence and brutality, favoritism, nepotism and even racism.

In addition, others are involved in drug syndicates. Whenever police are called in, it is normally expected that they will provide solutions to the social problems or crimes. However, one form of corruption that threatens the conduct of those involved in law enforcement is the noble cause corruption.

The police are normally entrusted by the society to provide security but whenever they go beyond the powers and authority vested upon them in trying to accomplish legitimate ends, it is normally referred to as “noble cause corruption” (Martinelli &Thomas, 2006).

Noble cause corruption is corruption committed by the law enforcement officers with good intentions in order to achieve good ends (Martinelli & Thomas, 2006).

It normally occurs when police officers care very much about their work and therefore violate the set ethical and legal standards in order to pursue what they consider to be in the best interest of the society. This implies that they involve in unethical behaviors in order to remove the bad guys in the society from the streets.

Ethically-informed decisions

Noble cause corruption is normally aimed at protecting the public and the police usually go out their way and involve every possible means to ensure safety of communities and streets. This might happen in cases where the law enforcement officers intend to remove suspected hard core and dangerous criminals from the streets and there is limited or no direct evidence linking them to the present crimes.

The law enforcement officers therefore might have engaged in evidence fabrication in order to ensure that such criminal is convicted. Thus Bacon’s officers might have offered bribes to witnesses or judges for the moral good of the society.

The law enforcement officers may have involved in lying in courts or evidence fabrications in order to prevent looming future crimes. The police may have had clues about serious crime about to be committed since they are able to intercept communications and therefore apprehend those they suspect to be responsible for the plotting of the crimes.

This, they might have done without acquiring arrest warrants due to the quick response that they needed. This enabled the police to scatter the plans by the criminals and hence helped protect the public.

Since they might not have been able to gather the amount of evidence required to convict such individuals they were therefore forced to use testimonial deception in order to challenge the victims and their lawyers and secure conviction for such individuals.

Bacon’s officers might have offered bribes to other government officials to prove allegations of corruption against the individuals. They might have used under cover police officers to help bribe such individuals as part of anti-corruption strategies.

This enabled the police to help convict such individuals who are supposed to offer services to the public but instead had chosen to use their positions for personal gain. This implies that the police at her department might have applied noble cause corruption to achieve moral good for the society.

Police officers might have offered bribes to civilians or other government officials in order to acquire crucial evidence necessary for conviction of criminals in the society. This in itself might have been wrong but it enabled her police officers to collect factual evidence that was used to prove criminal acts that such individuals might have been engaged in.

Bribes might have also been offered to civilians to help arrest dangerous criminals in the society. Individuals who had crucial information about the whereabouts of some suspected criminals or who might have been in possession of information that could lead to the arrest of suspects might have been bribed to help protect the society.

The law enforcement officers might have engaged noble cause corruption activities such as torture in order to acquire vital information from the suspected criminals or even evidence from them. This might have included torturing the suspected criminals to discover the whereabouts of other criminals, who were likely to cause harm, kill or steal from innocent people.

They might have also engaged in torture of suspected criminals to discover the location of a bomb or the bomb targets so as to help evacuating the public from the targeted areas or to destroy the bomb before it explodes. Bacon’s officers might have engaged in noble corruption in trying to secure release of innocent civilians from the hands of kidnappers.

Ethical Breaches

The notion that in a court of law, it is normally the suspects’ arguments against the amount of evidenced presented before the courts have greatly contributed to noble cause corruption (FritzPatrick, 2006). However, this leads to ethical breaches in the judiciary and the police. Noble cause corruption leads to the question of moral responsibility of the police force.

Continued noble cause corruption may become habitual in the police force and therefore leading to moral deficiency in the department. Besides, those normally corrupted to give false evidence, to provide crucial information that can be used as evidence or help trace criminals normally learn to justify corrupt acts since those entrusted with authority to fight corruption are involved in corruption.

Secondly, each person has a right to a private and confidential life. This implies that the standards of practice applied in collecting evidence against suspected criminals by use of noble cause corruption may infringe these rights.

This may be in such cases where the police bribe other individuals to provide them with the individual’s private life. Police officers also sometimes break into suspects homes without acquiring arrest warrants to collect crucial evidence against the suspects. Intrusive surveillance to collect evidence on the suspected criminal also infringes the suspects’ rights of confidentiality.

Every citizen including the criminal suspects have the right of autonomy. All the forms of coercion that the law enforcement officers employ to get evidence or information from criminals are morally unethical and may harm the suspect since they may involve the use of deadly force (Klockars, 1980).

Bribing individuals to provide false evidence against suspects in a court of law is against the ethical standards of practice set by the government. The standard ethical principles require that employees be honest in performing their duties. However acts of noble corruption involve dishonesty.

Besides, acts of noble corruption are acts of impartial treatment of suspects which is against the government’s standards of ethical practice. Noble cause corruption acts also deny suspects the freedom to live in a free society without intimidation since most of the suspects are usually convicted for longer terms.

Noble Cause Corruption Responses

The question normally arise as to when achieving the morally good results to the society justifies the use unethical or legal but dangerous means.

To some extent the complex situations that require quip responses are bound to put the police in uncompromising situations that require them to involve dirty means. However according to Klockars (1980), the more the police want the criminals to be punished, the more they should obey the law.

Secondly, those heading the department need to eliminate any forms of arrests quotas that put pressure on the law enforcements officers to exaggerate or tamper with the evidence in order to ensure conviction of criminals in their efforts to please their bosses (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001). It is also important that police supervisors foster in the police officers a value driven culture that ensures compliance with the law.

The supervisors need to that ensure that the police respect the rights of all citizens. The law enforcement officers also need to be trained to operate within the law no matter how compromising the situations might be (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).

However, the challenge is how to convince police officers who truly believe in and use their values to guide them in achieving the moral good of the society that they can compromise their values because of the rules. According to Klockars, (1980), the problem arises in cases when the existing laws frustrate achievement of morally desirable outcomes.

Secondly, it may increase the number of real criminals who go free due to inadequate evidence or lack of proper evidence linking the criminals to the crimes. This would serious compromise security situations in the country. It would also lead to more complaints and protests from the public arguing that the police force has failed in their duty of protecting the public.

Ethically-sound conduct

In ensuring a secure society for the citizens, the law enforcement officers must act in accordance with the law and the standard of code of policing ethics as set by the government. This implies that police officers must act within the law and ensure that their actions and behaviors are morally right (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001). It is also important that the police officers put into considerations the will of the society in their actions.

It is important that those entrusted with the duty of enforcing the laws of the country ensure transparency and accountability in their actions (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001). Police administrators as well as supervisors should establish internal means that ensure cover-up activities do not occur within the force.

Police chiefs and heads of departments within the police force have to commit themselves to providing annual ethics training to police officers so as to limit the possibility of the police engaging in noble cause corruption (Thomas and Martinelli, 2006). This would enable the police force avoid citizens distrust as a result of what they perceive to be abuse of their authority.


All those entrusted with the authority to enforce laws and provide security to the citizen need engage in actions which are morally upright, in accordance with the laws of the country and are compliant to the wills of the society. Their actions should consider the rights of all citizens in the country.

Reference List

FritzPatrick, D. P. (2006).Moving beyond the noble cause paradigm: Providing a unified theory of ethics for 21st century American policing: Forum on public policy. A Journal of the Oxford Round Table.CBS Interactive 2010. Web.

Klockars, C. (1980). The dirty Harry problem: The Annals 452 (Nov.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Martinelli, J.D., & Thomas, J. (2006). The police chief. International Association of Chiefs of Police, 73(10).

U.S. Department of Justice, (2001). Principles for promoting police integrity, Examples of promising police practice. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.

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