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Gender Differences in Leniency Towards Police Misconduct (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice, P 323-338, 2004, Gorazd Mesko, et al., -- See NCJ-207973)

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
16 pages

This study examined whether gender was a factor in influencing leniency toward police misconduct in a sample of 95 police officers and 247 students in Slovenia.


The questionnaire had been used previously to measure police integrity in the United States, Croatia, and Poland. It presents 11 brief scenarios of corrupt police behaviors that include the acceptance of gratuities, favoritism toward coworkers and friends who have broken the law, police use of excessive force, police killing of a fleeing suspect, filing of a false report, and rudeness toward the subject of a traffic stop. Respondents were asked to evaluate the seriousness of officer misconduct in each scenario, as well as the appropriate discipline, willingness to report the incident, and belief about other officers' willingness to report the misconduct. The focus of the analysis was on whether there were gender differences in the willingness of the respondents to report each scenario to appropriate supervisors, as well as the rationale for reporting or not reporting the misconduct. Findings show that in the majority of the scenarios, gender was not a factor in the willingness to report the misconduct; however, there were three exceptions in which women were significantly more willing to report the offender than were male respondents. Two of these pertained to police brutality, and the third was preferential treatment of a law violation by a fellow officer. The general rationale for reporting an offense differed significantly for male and female officers. Whereas, male officers considered that if other coworkers believed that it is a serious offenses then it should be reported, the women reasoned that any serious offense that deserved punishment should be reported, regardless of the opinions of fellow officers. 11 tables, 8 figures, and 7 references

Date Published: September 1, 2004