Steve Conway, Louise Westmarland
The Blue Wall of Silence: Police Integrity and Corruption
Abstract: This paper explores some data from a recent survey of UK police officers and police support staff. The study used an online survey, employing the use of scenarios, to ask whether it was likely the respondents would report certain misbehaviors. There was also the option of adding free-text responses and comments. In addition to “conventional” questions about bending the rules and accepting cash and valuable goods, some of the scenarios raised questions about inappropriate sexual behavior and the use of illicit drugs. In addition to some quantitative data, the discussion also explores free-text responses in order to consider some of the underlying reasons for this behavior. Questions addressed why respondents would report colleagues’ misbehaviors and what methods they would use.
Keywords: police ethics, police integrity, police cultures, code of ethics, “blue code” of silence