Integrity Systems and Professional Reporting in Police Organizations

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14 Citations (Scopus)


An integrity system is an assemblage of institutional entities, mechanisms, and procedures whose purpose is to ensure compliance with minimum ethical standards and to promote the pursuit of ethical ideals. Integrity systems can be contrasted with regulatory frameworks. A regulatory framework is a structured set of explicit laws, rules, or regulations governing behavior, issued by some institutional authority and backed by sanctions. It may serve to ensure compliance with minimum ethical standards (namely, those embodied in a law, rule, or regulation), but this is only one of its purposes. There are numerous laws, rules, and regulations that have little or nothing to do with ethics.The term ''system'' is, admittedly, somewhat misleading in that it implies a clear and distinct set of integrated institutional mechanisms operating in unison and in accordance with determinate mechanical, or at least quasi-mechanical, principles. In practice, however, integrity ''systems'' tend to be a messy assemblage of formal and informal devices andprocesses, and they operate in often indeterminate and unpredictable ways. The integrity of an occupational group is dependent on the individual integrity of its members and, therefore, the integrity system of an occupation is in large part focused on developing and maintaining the individual integrity of its members. The notion of individual integrity implies a person's compliance with moral principles and being of good character. Many of the moral principles governing the actions of individual persons seem to be universal; they apply to individuals at all times, both in private and in public. For example, the moral principle prohibiting murder is universal. However, some moral principles governing action seem to apply to some occupations but not necessarily to all. For example, although deceiving others is generally morally wrong, it is an unavoidable and*within limits*anacceptable practice for undercover police operatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Justice Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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