Curtailing the code of silence among the south african police
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Curtailing The Code of Silence among The South African Police. Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovi ć , Ph.D., S.J.D. Michigan State University Adri Sauerman , M.S. DHC Consult. Talk Overview. South Africa’s Police, Corruption, and Control The Code of Silence The Code and Fairness Methodology

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Curtailing The Code of Silence among The South African Police

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Curtailing the code of silence among the south african police

Curtailing The Code of Silence among The South African Police

SanjaKutnjakIvković, Ph.D., S.J.D.

Michigan State University

AdriSauerman, M.S.

DHC Consult


Talk overview

Talk Overview

  • South Africa’s Police,

    Corruption, and Control

  • The Code of Silence

  • The Code and Fairness

  • Methodology

    Questionnaire

     Respondents

  • Results

    Contours of the Code of Silence

    TheCodeandPerceptionsofDisciplinaryFairness

  • Conclusion

monstersandcritics.com


South africa s police corruption and control

South Africa’s Police, Corruption, and Control

■16 years of police democratization:

 SAPS publically perceived as 2nd most corrupt public service

department (2003 & 2007)

 media reports: the SAPS is fast becoming an “organisation of

criminals” (News24, 2008)

 historians consider corruption one of the blotches on the South

African image, upstaged only by the escalating crime wave

 researchers: “When it comes to tackling police corruption and

building integrity, the SAPS has yet to develop a coherent

strategy” (Newham, 2004)

■Possible reasons:

 amalgamation of different police agencies

 Sunset clause

-14% had criminal records (140 000)


South africa s police corruption and control cont

South Africa’s Police, Corruption, and Control Cont.

■Responses:

 Establishment of the Anti-Corruption Unit (1996)

 By 2001, ACU:

- investigated 20,779 allegations of police corruption

- arrested 3,045 SAPS members

- led to 576 convictions

 In 2001/2002:

- investigation of 2,370 cases of corruption

- resulted in 1,332 criminal prosecutions

- 641 departmental disciplinary hearings

 In 2002, inexplicably closed down

dailymail.co.uk


South africa s police corruption and control cont1

South Africa’s Police, Corruption, and Control Cont.

■Responses:

Post ACU:

- 2003/2004: 347 suspensions

- 2007/2008: 192 suspensions

Financial impact:

- 2008/2009 budget: civil claims = 20%

2008 - 2010:

- Police commissioner charged &

found guilty of corruption

- National Prosecuting Authority’s

investigative unit disbanded

mg.co.za


The code of silence

The Code of Silence

■Code of silence: Informal prohibition; part of the occupational

culture of policing

 existence of the code documented in American policing

(e.g., Mollen Commission, 1994; Christopher Commission, 1991)

and international policing (e.g., Klockars

et al., 2004) alike

■ Contours of the code vary across:

 police agencies (e.g., Klockars et al., 2004)

 units within a police agency (e.g., Mollen

Commission, 1994)

 forms and severity of misconduct (e.g.,

Stoddard, 1974; Klockars et al., 2004)

 familiarity of the persons involved

 time & place (e.g., Knapp Commission,

1972 v. Mollen Commission, 1994)


The code of silence cont

The Code of Silence Cont.

■The importance of the code:

 determines the boundaries of informally tolerated behavior

 affects the socialization of recruits

 limits police officers’ willingness to report misconduct

■Supervisors and the code:

 supervisors have a crucial role in curtailing the code of silence

among line officers and controlling police misconduct

 could participate in the code themselves

■ The code and the rank:

 compared to line officers’ code, supervisors’ code seems to be

narrower (e.g., Kutnjak Ivkovich & Klockars, 2000; Kutnjak

Ivkovich and Shelley, 2008)


The code of silence cont1

The Code of Silence Cont.

■The code and the SAPS:

 not studied extensively (e.g., Newham, 2004)

■Newham’s study (2004):

 measured the code in one inner-city police station in

Johannesburg (N=104 police officers)

 in 6 out of 11 scenarios describing cases of police misconduct,

the majority of officers would adhere to the code

 the code seems to be the least protective of a bribe from a

speeding motorist, bribe from a late bar close, and a crime scene

theft

 in only 1 out of 11 scenarios the respondents indicated that their

fellow officers would report; the code covered all other scenarios

■Our study:

 country-wide exploration of the code and the relation between the

code and perceptions of disciplinary fairness


Models of the code fairness

Models of the Code & Fairness

■Theoretical approach by Kutnjak Ivković & Klockars (2000)

■Model 1:simplified deterrence model

 the more severe discipline, the narrower the code

■ Model 2:discipline indifference model

 no relation between the code and disciplinary fairness

■Model 3:simple justice model

 the fairer the discipline, the narrower the code


Methodology the questionnaire

Methodology: The Questionnaire

■Klockars and Kutnjak Ivković (1995) develop a way to measure:

 the contours of the code of silence

 views about the appropriate and expected discipline

■ Questionnaire asks non-threatening questions of fact and opinion

 11 hypothetical scenarios

- 10 scenarios with corruption

- 1 scenario with excessive force

■ Police officer in the questionnaire:

 5 years of experience

 good work record

 no discipline

nairaland.com


The questionnaire cont

The Questionnaire Cont.

■Each scenario followed by questions about:

 misconduct seriousness

 violation of official rules

 appropriate discipline

 expected discipline

 willingness to report misconduct

■This paper focuses on the code of

silence and the relation between

the evaluations of discipline

fairness and the code of silence

http://www.anu.edu.au/anugreen/?pid=697


Methodology respondents

Methodology: Respondents

■ Data collection:

 in the summer of 2005,

questionnaires administered at

the SAPS training centers in

7 provinces

 all supervisors participating in

the training were surveyed

& a few declined to participate

(response rate 85%+)

 the corruption-related scandal

of Jacob Zuma (deputy

president) created the climate

of fear  data collection ended

abruptly with 379 completed

questionnaires


Methodology respondents cont

Methodology: Respondents Cont.

■ Sample characteristics:

 assignment:

- detective/investigative units (37.2%)

- special operations (21.9%)

- patrol (19.3%)

 agency size:

- mostly working in medium-sized

or large police agencies

 rank:

- 21% Sergeants, 25% Inspectors, 48% Captains, &

6% Superintendents

 length of service:

- 2 years of below: 8%

- 3 to 10 years: 42%

- over 10 years: 50%

Info.gov.za


Methodology respondents cont1

Methodology: Respondents Cont.

■ Sample characteristics:

 positive relation between

rank and length of service

 in prior work, we regressed

both rank and length of

service on the evaluations

of scenario seriousness,

violation of official rules,

appropriate discipline, and

willingness to report 

length of service is relevant,

but rank is not

Figure 1: Percent of Respondents by Rank and Length of Service


Measuring the code of silence

Measuring the Code of Silence


Measuring the code of silence cont

Measuring the Code of Silence Cont.


The code of silence and experience

The Code of Silence and Experience

% not reporting


Perceptions of disciplinary fairness

Perceptions of Disciplinary Fairness

■Perceptions of appropriate and expected discipline:

 the respondents had six disciplinary options to choose from:

- no discipline - suspension without pay

- verbal reprimand- demotion in rank

- written reprimand- dismissal

 for most scenarios, officers leaned toward no discipline or mild

discipline

■Determining disciplinary fairness:

 disciplinary fairness= appropriate discipline – expected discipline

- if the result = 0, discipline is viewed as “fair”

- if the result = -1 to -5, discipline is viewed as “too harsh”

- if the result = 1 to 5, discipline is viewed as “too lenient”


Perceptions of discipline fairness

Perceptions of Discipline Fairness


Perceptions of disciplinary fairness cont

Perceptions of Disciplinary Fairness Cont.

■Views on appropriate and expected discipline:

 in only 3 out of 11 scenarios, the majority of supervisors

evaluated discipline as “fair” (Scenarios 4, 5, and 6)

 thus, there is a substantial minority in 3 scenarios and the

majority in 8 scenarios who evaluated discipline severity as unfair

■Perceptions of unfairness (substantial

minority or majority):

 in many scenarios perceptions of

discipline as being both “too harsh”

and “too lenient”

 however, in such cases, “too harsh” is

more dominant (higher % of respondents

opting for “too harsh” than “too lenient”)

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_48/1143061362rYIg5J.jpg


Perceptions of disciplinary fairness and experience

Perceptions of Disciplinary Fairness and Experience


The code and disciplinary fairness

The Code and Disciplinary Fairness

■Theoretical approach by Kutnjak Ivković & Klockars (2000)

■Model 1:simplified deterrence model

 the more severe discipline, the narrower the code

■ Model 2:discipline indifference model

 no relation between the code and disciplinary fairness

■Model 3:simple justice model

 the fairer the discipline, the narrower the code


The code and fairness cont too harsh v fair

The Code and Fairness Cont.Too Harsh v. Fair

■4 scenarios (Scenario 3, 5, 6, & 11) ■7 scenarios

scenariosmost likely to be adherence to the code and

viewed as rule violating, most perceptions of disciplinary

serious, and resulting in fairness not related

discipline more serious than

written reprimand


The code and fairness cont fair v too lenient

The Code and Fairness Cont.Fair v. Too Lenient

■1 scenario (Scenario 3) ■ 10 scenarios

scenariothemost likely to be adherence to the code and

viewed as rule violating, most perceptions of disciplinary

serious, and resulting in fairness not related

harshest discipline


Conclusion

Conclusion

■Contours of the code among the SAPS supervisors:

the existence of the strong code of silence

thecode varies across forms/severity of misconduct

codedirectly related to the perceptions of seriousness

■The code and the length of service:

 apartheid hires expressed attitudes associated with a lower

adherence to the code, regardless of their rank, whereas the most

recently hired supervisors were much more inclined to protect

nearly all forms of misconduct

 Q: To what degree are these experienced supervisors telling the

truth?

- we tried to maximize this (e.g., anonymous questionnaire, dem.

questions limited, ask them whether they lied)


Conclusion cont

Conclusion Cont.

■The code and the length of service:

 Q: How successful were the reforms and training of new

supervisors?

- research indicates that they are not as equipped as they should

be to handle integrity-related challenges experienced on the job

■The code and the perceptions of disciplinary fairness:

 substantial proportion views official discipline as unfair

 with a few exceptions, no relation between the code and

perceptions of disciplinary fairness

 when fairness matters, it is in the scenarios in which the code of

silence is narrower (the most serious scenarios)  in other

scenarios, the push to adhere to the code might be so strong to

overpower perceptions of disciplinary fairness


Conclusion cont1

Conclusion Cont.

■In summary:

 the results of our study show that the code of silence is strong

among SAPS supervisors  this seriously challenges the notion

that the transformation was successful with respect to police

tolerance of corruption

 at best, selective adherence to the code results in sporadic

accountability and results in biased enforcement of laws and

differential treatment of citizens  under such conditions,

democratic policing has not been achieved


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