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Police Integrity and the Czech Police Officers

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2007 Pages: 21-47
Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic; Tara O'Connor Shelley
Date Published
27 pages
This 2005 study surveyed approximately 600 Czech police officers from East Bohemia regarding their perceptions of the seriousness of police corruption, the punishment such police misconduct deserves, the punishment it actually receives, and their willingness to report misconduct of fellow officers.
First, the findings show that the majority of the Czech officers correctly labeled the police behaviors described in the questionnaire as constituting police misconduct. Second, with the exception of the least serious forms of police corruption, the officers supported and expected corrupt officers to receive the two most serious forms of discipline: a salary cut and dismissal from the force. Third, the majority of the officers indicated they would report a fellow officer for the most serious forms of misconduct; for example, engaging in opportunistic thefts or the acceptance of a bribe from a motorist stopped for speeding were more likely to be reported by a majority of officers than the acceptance of gratuities. The questionnaire administered to the officers, which was developed by Kutnjak Ivkovic and Klockars (1996), contained descriptions of 11 hypothetical scenarios of police behavior. These included the acceptance of free meals, discounts and holiday gifts from merchants, theft of a watch from a crime scene, theft from a found wallet, acceptance of a bribe from a traffic-law violator, and the use of excessive force on a fleeing car thief. Three scenarios were modified to reflect conditions for Czech police officers. Following each of the 11 scenarios, the questionnaire contains a series of 7 identical questions about the respondent's evaluation of scenario seriousness, estimates of whether the behavior constitutes a violation of official rules, opinion about the adequate and expected discipline for such misconduct, and the respondent's willingness to report the misconduct. 7 tables, 2 figures, 13 notes, 41 references, and appended questionnaire