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Ethical Issues of Police Undercover Operations on the Basis of Achievements of Catholic Social Teaching (CST)

NCJ Number
Internal Security Volume: 4 Issue: 2 Dated: July - December 2012 Pages: 249-263
Tomasz Cichon
Date Published
December 2012
15 pages
This article discusses ethical dilemmas of police undercover work.
In the article the author discusses ethical dilemmas of police undercover work, i.e. activities in which a police officer, on the basis of statutory regulations, hiding his true identity, makes contact with a person who by possession by the police reliable information commits or attempts to commit certain crimes. A police officer, in the mode prescribed by the law, gives or receives financial benefit, or buys items from the person, the possession of, or trade in which is prohibited. In doing so they tell lies, pretend to be someone else, and insidiously create confusion as to the actual meaning of their actions, and through such acts obtain evidence to prove the person's criminal activity. These, though, in line with the law may raise ethical concerns. The article aims to explain these concerns on the basis of Catholic Social Teaching on the basis of the rules of the Christian concept of just war. Analyzing the right to wage war and the rights during war, the author makes a comparative analysis of the statutory provisions specifying the procedure and conditions of the use by the police in undercover operations, the so-called controlled purchase and controlled offering of benefits, showing their convergence. To support the ethic of undercover operation the author refers to the so-called autonomy thesis of Benjamin Freedman, justifying the need to detract from the generally accepted ethical standards by the representatives of certain professions during their professional work. (Published Abstract)