In many nations if not world wide, the policing institution has been marred by issues of unethical practices in its service to the society. Topics such as brutality, deliberate inefficiency, and sexual misconduct together with others have tainted the police force. This has posed many questions on police conduct more so on the ethics involved in exercising their duties. Policing is said to be a tough job that requires the best approach to a situation in rapid time that may be accompanied by angry or violent people.
Thus, due to its complexity in principal application, ethical issues in policing can be classified into professional ethics, organizational ethics and personal ethics. Professional Ethics As stated by Pagon (2003) in his book on “Police Ethics and Integrity”, Professional ethics is associated with the strive put in achieving the basic imperatives that include: i. Beneficence which is interpreted to mean professionals looking out for the interests of the ones they are serving or their clients in other terms. ii.
The respect for people whereby opinions or decisions of clients be respected irrespective of advise from the professional that suggests otherwise, should not be imposed on. iii. Justice that manifests itself in equity in the display of law enforcement. It requires that work to be done within the professional set up or jurisdiction. A perfect example of this is racial profiling which towards the exit of the twentieth centaury was evident in the United States as it came to light. Other than inhibiting the efforts of law enforcement, racial profiling degrades national unity.
Every one has a right to freedom incorporated in the basic human rights of society. Secondly, professional police ethics gears at the specification of the core values of policing. Just like any other profession, policing involves the aim of achieving a certain goal. This goal is what represents the values. Since different societies have different values, this means that the core values of policing are not similar as such to other places in terms of geographical divide. This then results in the issue of ranking of values which tends to provide ethical decision making in the society at play.
However, it does not mean that the other values are less important since different scenarios need different tactics in policing. In the third case, policing is specified to its core virtues. These can include a number of commonly accepted deeds such as temperance, courage, prudence, justice, charity, kindness, patience, forgiveness, modesty among others, we need to – just like in every other professions- decide which are the virtues most important for police officers. (Pagon, 2003, p. 9)