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The Ethics of Future Policing in Europe Prof. Dr Monica den Boer Police Academy / VU University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Ethics of Future Policing in Europe Prof. Dr Monica den Boer Police Academy / VU University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Ethics of Future Policing in Europe Prof. Dr Monica den Boer Police Academy / VU University

2 What About “Police Ethics”? Ethics refers to what constitutes good and bad and can guide human conduct. Ethics are the systematic reflection on values and norms. Ethics are inherently normative, hence avoidance of patriarchal debates, but room for reciprocity and critical reflection. Most police ethics research is US based and not based on field research, i.e. ethno-methodological or discursive appreciations of police work. Hence, not much is known about the new generation of (European) police professionals.

3 Universal Police Ethical Values - Accountability - Discipline - Fairness - Honesty - Independence - Social Responsibility - Sustainability - Transparency - Trust - Ethical Conduct - Integrity - Pursuit of excellence - Loyalty - Compassion - Freedom - Equality

4 Ethics Police culture Law Political Social Economic Context Criminality Terrorism Unrest International Regional Technology Plural Policing Police Styles

5 European Ethics Instruments European Code of Police Ethics (Council of Europe) Rulings by the European Court of Human Rights No Code of Police Ethics in the EU (!) Ethics tends to be “implied” in human rights, fundamental rights and data protection Implementation = pivotal: –The problem with codes of ethics is that they are often experienced as elitist, paternalistic, ill-suited to daily practice, too vague, inconsequential, and implemented from top to bottom. –Fundamental concern is why police officers (as public agents) should behave better than other civil servants.

6 Global Challenges for Security Ethics Evolution of policing: –More room for privatization –“Extended Policing Families” -> Networked Policing –Blurring Perspectives Police / Military –Remote Control of Citizens (Electronic surveillance) -> Cybercop Security climate has hardened worldwide –Terrorism and other asymmetric security conflicts –New security threats: coping mechanisms not always clear Differences in ethical climates: –National models of policing differ (political context, human rights) –Styles of policing differ and may overlap –Oversight mechanisms and accountability systems differ

7 Implications for Security Ethics On the basis of governance shifts, one would predict security professionals to: –Experience value dilemmas as the policies become tougher (gap between official policy and individual professional reflection) –See more distance between the policy-maker and the policy-executor, i.e. higher individual discretion at the work floor (ethical leeway) –Become “less ethical” due to the fact that their organizations embrace become primarily efficiency- driven –Work with technology that undermines professional moral reflection (suppression of individual discretion)

8 Research Security Professionals Security Professionals Not Less Ethical However, variables make the difference: –Instrumental relationship between political agenda and ethics, especially in context of EU as moral agent –Leadership & moral compass matter: but risk of passing the buck down the hierarchy –Consistent loyalty (and idealism) vis-à-vis security policies and organizations that execute them –Cultural / national / organizational factors matter: ethical reflection is not always obvious –Security ethics is an organic reality and cannot be imposed top down: they have to be “lived” “As a young cop ethics is ‘knocked’ into you with training: It is not what you do that is important, but how you do it. The policy of the organization has standards to make sure it is ethically sound.” Interview with Rob Wainwright, Director Europol, 30 June

9 Police = Special Collective versus Individual Level –Police officers often recruited from traditional segments of society –Encourages a (semi-)monolithic police culture Moreover, police officers collectively tend to be characterized by –Machismo –Bravery –Authoritarianism –Cynicism –Aggression –Distrust/suspicion

10 Findings on Police Ethics - Always following the rules is deemed incompatible with getting the job done (40%) - Whistle-blowing is considered not wise (35%) - ‘Police abuse and culture of silence remains problematic’ - Majority turns blind eye on misconduct of fellow officers - Attitude of police chief matters (85%) - Good first-line supervision very important - Ethical training helps (82%) From: Weisburd & Greenspan, 2000; Dean et al., 2010

11 What is Ethical Policing About? Ethical & Effective Policing Accountable & Democratic Policing Evidence-Based & Informed Policing Professional Policing & Excellence Policing that Contributes to Justice, Safety and Freedom for all Knowledge & Application of Universal Human Rights Standards Development & Sharing of Good Practices

12 How does Oversight Contribute to Police Ethics? Oversight enhances public confidence Empirically, police oversight is performed by a variety of actors: –Judicial –Parliamentary –Civil –Specific: e.g. breach of integrity, corruption, inquiries –Executive Complaints, incidents, reports: –Improvement mechanisms –Sometimes leading to new legislation Best Practice: –Police Ombudsman with a wide mandate: Northern Ireland –Independent Police Control Authorities, Hong Kong, Belgium, United Kingdom Learning points: –Frequency of contacts between e.g. ombudsman and police authorities –Compliance monitoring (!) Often more than 1 trajectory at the same time

13 Implementation of Good Policing In Relation to Key Police Powers: –Use of Force (Monopoly of violence): UN Code & Basic Principles, e.g. firearms –Arrest & Detention: Cautioning, Recording and Registration –Investigation of Crime: Fair Trial, Avoid Tunnel Vision, Systematic and Professional Crime Analysis –Intelligence Gathering and Surveillance: Avoid Discrimination and Prejudice –Street control, body searches, preventive searches: Prior authorization, explanation, and complaint procedures are important “New issues”: post-conflict policing (authority void); multi-cultural policing (ethnic and religious tensions); policing of terrorism and organized crime Police enjoys more legitimacy if it only uses violence non- arbitrarily and only as a means of last resort (suspension, proportionality, legality, subsidiarity)

14 Ethics of intelligence-led policing ILP = widely spread, particularly in the UK and north-western European countries Strongly promoted by EU agencies including Europol, Frontex and SitCen Core = prevention / precautionary principle Presumption of innocence ? Policing by consent ? Accountability = low, effectiveness hard to measure

15 Practices to Encourage Police Ethics Indicators & Levels: –Transparency & Accountability –Responsiveness (tell citizens about outcome; feedback) –Access to Justice (e.g. complaint mechanisms) –Leadership (considered crucial by the respondents; moral compass; early intervention; consistency) –Management (integrity and efficiency in all police processes, from small to large aspects) –Organization: cultivating diversity, reflection, open attitude; screening & recruitment –Training & Education: human rights and ethics are essential features

16 Discussion Good Policing is not just fighting corruption Ethical ramifications of new security strategies Ethical Policing is a Dynamic Enterprise Towards a Global Constabulary Ethic? Future Research Avenues: –Gaps e.g. impact of resources (payment etc) –Entangled Hands: A Problem in Europe? –Ethics in Civil (Police) Missions –Longitudinal Approach: Ethical Shifts –Public versus Private Values –International comparison as well as cross-agency –Link with “good governance and oversight

17 Further Reading Monica den Boer & Emile Kolthoff (eds.), Ethics & Security, The Hague, Eleven International Publishing, 2010 INEX: ASEF: Guide on Good Policing:

18 THANK YOU


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