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Conduct Unbecoming - The Social Construction of Police Deviance and Control

NCJ Number
M Punch
Date Published
251 pages
Using observations, documents, interviews, and press reports, this book examines corruption and abuse of authority in terms of the institutional control of and reactions to police organizational and occupational deviance.
While scandals in the police forces of London, England, and New York City also are considered, the primary focus is on corruption within the Amsterdam police between 1976-80. Here, Chinese criminals and new patterns of drug-related crimes led policemen into arrangements with underworld figures. Types of into arrangements with underworld figures. Types of corruption exposed in the press ranged from such minor forms as leaking information, cutting administrative red tape, and accepting informal rewards (e.g., discounts, gifts) to more serious, strategic forms of corruption such as stimulation of crime, extortion and graft, false testimony, intimidation of witnesses, and drug dealing. Despite the seriousness of the charges raised against a number of officers, exposure of the corruption resulted in neither convictions nor significant institutional change. In this case, deviance and the responses to it may be viewed as arising from the nature of police work, an occupational subculture that condones illicit practices and legitimates techniques of subterfuge and deceit, and an organization that explicitly stimulates deviance as a means of achieving law enforcement ends. The social environment also is a contributory factor in its demands for police control of crime and its ambivalence towards the means and ends of law enforcement. Name and subject indexes, appendix on research methods, and about 340 references.