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Corruption and Crisis Control: The Nature of the Game

NCJ Number
Jann Karp
Date Published
167 pages
A retired police officer who served in the New South Wales Police Service (Australia) for 23 years identifies and critiques the internal police operational structures that help perpetuate a cycle of corruption in the face of demands for reform.
The major case study of this book is the Wood Royal Commission’s investigation into the New South Wales Police Service in 1994. The book argues that although this inquiry had a far-reaching impact on both the personal and working lives of police officers in the organization, it eventually was ineffective in its attempt to control corruption. The case scenario followed the usual cycle of a corruption crisis fueled by the media that results in an inquiry that issues in blame, defensiveness by those blamed, reluctant compliance with commission mandates, a hard-line approach without basic change in organizational structure or dynamics, and an eventual slide back into behavioral patterns of corruption conditioned by persistent organizational and occupational stimuli. Reform requires every officer not only to make a conscious decision to relinquish the benefits of corruption but also to change organizational attitudes that create the context for the perpetuation of corruptive attitudes and behaviors. Although the command-and-control hierarchical approach is effective in specific operational contexts, it is not effective as a daily management strategy. It is important to supplement the command-and-control management practices with two different approaches. First, there should be an investment in individual officers through effective, front-line supervision. Second, all leaders and supervisors must be held accountable for their actions and decisions. These two factors would reduce the possibilities for corruption at all levels in the organization. Chapter figures and a 320-item bibliography